If you are a financial advisor with flexibility when it comes to working from home, you may be currently in the process of setting up your home office to be more effective or working out your time management. Luckily, some advisors find it easy to manage client relationships virtually, and remote work is common in the industry so clients don’t balk at your kids storming in during a call! Still, despite the distractions you may be facing, a study from Stanford found that those who work from home are better at concentrating and have more productive hours than those in an office.
However, for those just starting to work from home for the first time, there can be a transition period. Adjusting to working from a new space, one where you also live full-time is a challenge. Distractions like Netflix, family members, kids, and no one watching your daily schedule can easily get in the way of the day’s tasks.
When working from home as a financial advisor, pay attention to these key best practices. By optimizing your digital landscape, workspace, and daily schedule, you set your practice up for success.
Pay Attention to cybersecurity
The first step to worry about when working from home is your security. There are many compliance systems to keep in mind with regard to financial data, so this is something to take seriously. In addition, cyber threats are very real in the finance world.
The best way to manage this is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to set up your virtual workspace. This creates a secure process for searching the web so you don’t need to worry whether your at-home internet setup is as secure as it can be. In addition, stay alert about the latest in cybersecurity news to know what threats are out there.
Set Regular Hours
When you work from home, especially if you’re not working under a direct supervisor, it’s important to set hours for yourself. Because you work and live in the same place, you might find it hard to shut “off” your working brain and relax. Too much productivity could be a bad thing if it gets in the way of your personal life.
The best way to practice healthy habits is to set a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. For those transitioning from a traditional 9 to 5 position, staying within these hours is a great way to simplify the process. However, you can adjust your schedule to fit your lifestyle. For example, if you work best in the afternoons, shifting your workday to noon to 7 pm might be a better fit.
From there, update your clients about your new office hours. Let them know how (and when) they can reach you so there’s no confusion. Client communication is more important than ever, especially when working from home.
Communicate with family members
If you’re working around family members, make sure you set clear rules. They might not understand when you need quiet time or how to best help you work. Whether you have kids or your partner in the house, let them know your quiet hours and how to respect your space.
Avoid taking on too many household chores during this time. While it might seem like you can handle these extra tasks since you’re already at home, don’t take on more than you can handle. You’re still doing the same tasks as you were in the office, they’re just shifted to a different environment.
Take REgular Breaks
Another important step when working from home as an advisor is to take regular breaks. It might feel like it’s best to power through the workday, but this is a one-way street to burn out. Instead, take breaks like you typically would at the office.
Whether you go on a walk after lunch, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in your kitchen, or just get away from your desk, take full advantage of this time. Using a time tracker is a good way to ensure you’re not short-changing yourself on this downtime.
Keep a dedicated office space
Last but not least, create your own office space. While you might be limited by the square footage of your home, do the best you can to separate your work and home life. You don’t need a home office to accomplish this.
Create a desk that’s just for your work. Put it as far away from your “living” space as possible under the circumstances. Use this space only for your work as an advisor, and treat it as you would a typical office.
the ultimate work from home routine
As a financial advisor, you likely already have an idea of what works for you. However, don’t be surprised if you need some time to adjust to your new normal of working from home. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, no matter how much you enjoy the dress code (or lack thereof).
Don’t be afraid to optimize your time. It pays to work smarter, not harder when you’re fully in charge of your time. Above all, be patient with yourself and let your practice adjust as needed.