By: Laura Hanichak Gregg
Director of Practice Management and Advisor Research
The spread of COVID-19 throughout the U.S. has brought with it a wave of uncertainty, not only in financial markets but in all facets of our lives. The widespread closure of social settings and workplaces has created unprecedented business disruption, and for many of us, unfamiliar emotional distress as well.
FlexShares recently partnered with Dr. Ari Levy, Founder and CEO of SHIFT and former team physician for the Chicago Blackhawks, to explore how advisors can manage this new reality both personally and professionally. In this stressful time, we’ve identified five steps advisors can take to enhance their day-to-day client management and their overall health and well-being.
- 1. Communicate Proactively: Clients who lived through the market panic of 2008 may be confident in their portfolio’s ability to weather the recent volatility and less likely to immediately drop a line to their advisor. According to a March 20th poll of over 200 advisors from FlexShares, only 10% of advisors reactively received requests from clients over the prior two weeks. While this may be a good sign that clients are confident in your services, it’s nonetheless important to connect with them at such a unique time. Proactively reaching out to clients to check in with a personalized note or call, whether or not you’re recommending portfolio changes, is one of the best things you can do to maintain the relationship and show you care.
- 2. Leverage Technology: Staying connected with clients and colleagues is now easier than ever thanks to a host of new digital technologies. According to the poll, 63% of advisors have stopped all in-person client meetings, which will likely increase as measures to contain the pandemic continue. While this new reality certainly has the potential for business disruption, you can adapt by ramping up use of digital tools. When asked how advisors were altering client communication methods, 74% percent said they’re utilizing emails and phone calls more often, while 35% are making the jump to video services like Zoom or Google Hangouts.
- 3. Build a Work from Home Structure: While the concept of working remotely is familiar to most, this may be the first time you’re at home for an indefinite period or sharing a workspace with multiple family members. It’s critical to find the same structure and routine at home that you have in your regular life. For example, if you’re trying to plan your work schedule around a spouse or children, consider hosting a “team meeting” on a daily or weekly basis to align schedules and plan your week. As a part of that schedule, don’t forget to set start and end times for your workday. Working from home often means information is coming from all angles all day long, so it’s important to plan breaks and make rules for when to put your work away.
- 4. Find a New Normal: While the coronavirus has upended a number of activities in our daily lives, don’t forget the things you used to do at work or home and try to maintain that sense of normalcy. Whether that means coming together as a family for a meal or bonding with friends over a new TV show, we can still enjoy familiar activities that bring us closer together. Similarly, with colleagues, try taking a lunch break remote over a video session to keep your team engaged.
- 5. Boost Your Immunity: Staying at home alters most of our daily routines, but there’s no need to sacrifice your health and wellness. There are several things you can do at home to help boost your immunity such as getting enough sleep, planning out your meals and participating in one of the many available online workouts (sweat is a great stress-reliever!).
At FlexShares, supporting our advisor partners remains a top priority as we adjust to this extraordinary situation. While the duration of the current COVID-19 measures remains unclear, there are steps we can all take to adapt and maintain a sense of normalcy in our careers and personal lives.