We're open for business, but we're not at the office. And we may not be back at the office for a few months. So how do you act like nothing has changed when everything has changed?
Fifty people working remotely has not created nearly the logistical headaches that some of my friends from other advisory firms are experiencing. We were technologically equipped to handle what is going on. But that is head work. The heart work is more challenging.
One of my favorite pastimes was walking down our halls and bouncing into work groups to tease and talk. I looked forward to seeing clients in our conference rooms. The energy from my colleagues and clients was palpable.
Zoom has substituted for this, but it is sort of like non-dairy ice cream - it's okay, but different. And most important, it takes getting used to.
This is a significant point, because when things go back to normal, it will be a "now normal" not a new normal. I say now normal because every day we will be learning how to effectively operate given whatever constraints are in place. We will need to emphasize adaptability and resilience.
What has been interesting about this now normal is that in spite of some of my colleagues home schooling kids, others juggling two careers, and several living alone and creating their virtual social life, we are getting a lot of work done. We are doing things differently, but still comprehensively. So in other words, the what and the why are constant but the how and the where has changed.
The now normal will include many remote meetings since distancing is likely to ebb and flow with the virus. This is a change that in many ways can help efficiencies (commuting time has disappeared) and serves our out of state clients. But the now normal will eventually include face to face meetings for those who cherish them.
The now normal makes it easy to reach out to call you on a particular topic as it arises, rather than prepare everything in anticipation of a scheduled meeting. The now normal still enables collaboration. We have strategic planning areas in the office - every one of our wealth managers is responsible for an area of specialization. The now normal makes it easier to gather people ad hoc, since meeting numbers have been reduced.
So the thing for us to try to wrap our arms around is how we can maintain the closeness we feel with you as we work remotely. The word remote means "having little connection to"; our connection with you is the thing that we value the most. As we experiment with the now normal, we remain open for business and we also remain dedicated to improving your lives.
Better days are ahead.