As financial advisors in the Bay Area, we’re no strangers to the hip trends that the tech startup culture has to offer. We recently established a new office for our company and incorporated some of the amenities and design trends that are typical of the financial advisor office of the future. The most common response we get from clients is, “Wow.” We really hope the industry will follow this trend and create an experience for clients that is less stuffy and pretentious and more in line with the comfortable, natural experience that clients really want.
Fine Dining vs. Fun Dining
When we designed our office, we were very careful to make sure the eating environment was going to be very comfortable not only for our clients but also for our team members. As you can see from this picture below, we designed it to be a place where people could socialize and enjoy the experience of eating as if they were at home. This goes with the very popular trend of work becoming more home-like.As you can see, the dining area is modeled after a café with space for people to relax. We included healthy snacks and home-cooked food with an oven available for people to use.We use a top rated Breville Smart Oven Air to be able to bake homemade cookies - they make the office smell amazing. We keep a wide assortment of healthy food like protein bars, and packets of trail mix, foods that people can grab on the go (we avoid things like a cake that would require cutting, plates and forks). When I am out at places like the farmer's market, I pick up things like large bags of Kettle Corn.
Conference vs. Collaboration
In the front area of the office (we call this area the living room) we wanted comfy chairs that would make clients feel at home. They are large, well padded, and they swivel. There are 4 facing a round coffee table that creates a very informal space to chat with clients.We decorated our conference room with a picture of the breathtaking snow-topped Mount Shasta on the conference room doors. We did this to complement our brand and logo. As our name is Financial Journey Partners, we see ourselves as our clients’ partners on the journey through their financial lives, the peaks and valleys it takes.The conference room has a U-shaped table – more collaborative than a long rectangular table so that people can feel more comfortable interacting. We thought this would help foster a sense of teamwork. We also made sure to include motivational sayings on the walls that relate to our brand such as the one below.Instead of pretentious artwork, we included pictures of our clients celebrating milestones in their lives. We felt this was more central to what our mission is and would also serve as a source of inspiration for our clients who may be in similar life positions. This is the theme we are embracing – that of collaboration, connection, and togetherness.We were able to reduce the amount of square footage required for our office by utilizing common areas for meetings provided by the building; the use of common areas is another trend in today’s modern workplace.We avoided the normal, uncomfortable chairs used in most conference rooms. Instead, we use Steelcase Amia chairs.
Other amenities we included to make the experience as easy as possible for our clients were a loaner laptop that people could use if they were to forget theirs or have a hardware malfunction, easy access to our guest internet, and a phone charging station in the living room and in the Cafe for clients to charge their cell phones.An important feature of the office is to make the advisor offices completely sound isolated so that noise from the offices does not travel outside the offices when we are having private conversations with clients. All the walls are sound insulated. We extended the walls a foot above the ceiling so sound does not extend up and over the walls to the next office. Also, we put an insulating boot around the air inlets and outlets so that sound does not travel up and out of the office through the air ducts. If you stand outside the door of an office, you cannot hear the people talking inside.
Feeling Like Home
The movement is away from showiness, stuffiness, and opulence and more towards work/life balance and the humanizing elements that make people really feel at home. We did this to change the way clients experience working with our firm and we hope other firms will make similar changes to do the same for theirs, too. We hope you’ve enjoyed our article and if you’d like to talk more, please schedule a time to visit Financial Journey Partners. We’ll save you a cookie!Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA Financial Journey Partners, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies.