It is estimated that roughly one in three of us globally are currently living in lockdown, to varying degrees, against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Here in the UK, we are now entering week seven or week eight for many of us, since the first announcement from government on 16 March to, if possible, begin working from home for the foreseeable future.
Of course, debate has now shifted and increasingly so to how social distancing and other lockdown restrictions will gradually be lifted. This is perhaps not the time or indeed the platform to enter that critical discussion, which will impact all of us.
However, we have garnered anecdotal opinion from six members of the Dynamic Planner user community, who have been kind enough to share their thoughts on what the lasting changes from lockdown might be – in financial services, more broadly in the world of work and in society itself. This is what they said.
Nathan Lewis – Client Relationship Manager, Logic Wealth Planning
It is actually a good test to see how good our systems are – and it may mean in future that more remote working takes place.
Serena van der Meulen – Financial adviser, Van der Meulen Associates Ltd
I think people who have avoided technology in the past are more likely to embrace it now. And people hopefully will have their priorities more grounded and appreciate the importance of health, of family and of having quality-time. I know people who before the crisis worked an 80-hour week in the office. Now they have time at home to spend with their children.
Hopefully, people will now know their neighbours a lot better, in communities, which I think is really important. Local businesses and shops are thriving in many ways, as people appreciate the value of a good local butchers or greengrocers and how they have really been coming through for people. I hope that continues going forward.
Dmitry Morgan – Financial adviser, Morgan Financial
Personally, I do not think there will be a lasting impact from this. Yes, there will be a different approach to meetings, being out in public and the work ethos for a time – but people will quickly forget this crisis when managing their day-to-day lives. It may be six months or two years hence, but business and interpersonal relationships will go back to normal.
David Owen – Wealth Director, Lifetime Connect
I’m an optimist, so I’d like to say, ‘Yes, there will be a positive and lasting impact’. However, we are a funny species, humans, so I do have a horrible feeling that we will go back to driving 2hr to attend a 1hr meeting and then 2hr back. Hopefully, that won’t happen as much in future – and we will say, ‘All that driving about was crazy; we were polluting the planet; and it was unnecessary. Look at how much better off financially we are by not paying so much for petrol each month?’
Hopefully, financial advisers will embrace this change and carry on holding client meetings remotely in future and once we start to get up to speed and move away from things like having to have wet signatures, for example, we can be in a position to work more effectively.
Lee Waters – Chief Executive, Barwells Wealth
I think the crisis has and perhaps will move a lot of the boundaries with regards to people working from home. Firms, perhaps, have been in two camps prior to this: one camp embraced working from home and members of their team hot desking years ago, while the other is more traditional where everyone comes in each morning at 9am and works until 5.30pm when they go home.
I think moving forward, firms probably will be more relaxed about people working from home, because they realise the impact isn’t as detrimental as what they thought it might have been.
Lee Whiteside – Financial adviser, Plan4Life
[During lockdown] I’ve completed my first meetings with new clients I had never met before, by video conference. I used Zoom. You can share documents with the client and do pretty much everything you can face-to-face, except get a physical signature, of course. I think we just have to adapt, don’t we? We haven’t had a choice at the moment.
I risk profiled the client and have done everything I wanted with her, and at the point of sale – a full fact-find; we talked about pension switches; and I quickly followed up with a recommendation to move an old pension she has got. It’s actually easier, in one way and a really good of working, and you do start to think, ‘Hang on a minute, why don’t I run my business like this all the time?’
Older clients, of course, might well prefer to see you face-to-face – and younger people might feel like that too. But when things do go back to normal, I definitely need to consider if this is a new process I need to integrate into my business more permanently.
Read how different advice firms have managed this year during the crisis here