The novel coronavirus has many people self-isolating at home. You might be healthy, but your firm has asked people to work remotely. Your city has closed schools and nonessential retail businesses. It might be two weeks; it might be longer. What’s an advisor to do?
It’s been written about before. ThinkAdvisor has looked at how to “Keep Calm and Carry On (With Your Practice)” and “10 Things Advisors Can Do When Snowbound.” You know you should be in touch with clients. You’ve got this one covered.
14 Practical Ways to Use Your Time
Time is a gift. Advisors never have enough. As you are stuck at home for two weeks (or more), you suddenly realize what retirement must be like for some of your clients. Sure, they can travel on vacation or visit other family members, but many days they have nothing on the schedule. You are stepping into their shoes.
Here are some ways advisors can make good use of their free time.
1. Do a client mailing. Surface mail is called snail mail. Most people only get bills, ads and maybe magazines. Personal and business letters have disappeared. This makes it an underutilized channel. Check with your office that it’s OK to mail business letters from home. Assuming you have office stationery and envelopes handy, design a letter, get compliance approval (via email) and print 50 personalized letters to your best clients.
Clients are likely staying at home, too. They will have time to read it.
2. Video chat with clients. It’s the next best thing to a face-to-face meeting across your desk. You are giving them attention. You are sharing information. You can see their family members in the background. You can read facial expressions.
You are communicating “You are an important client to me.”
Now let’s look at non-business-related activities that are a good use of your time.
1. Start that diet. I’ve always felt diets are fine when you are in a controlled environment, but tough to maintain when everyone is at a bar having beers and chicken wings. Now, you are in that controlled environment. You can research diets that are appropriate and have your family doctor’s approval. Follow the program. Write down what you eat.
You should be pleasantly surprised by the results.
2. Home cooking. In the UK, “The Great British Baking Show” energized many people into cooking at home. According to YouGov, The Food Network is the 9th most popular network and the 21st most famous. This means there’s plenty of recipes and inspiration for people at all skill levels.
You’ve got the time. You’re not eating out.
3. Keep a journal. Write down what you do every day. Like the diet notebook, it’s a discipline that encourages good behavior. It gets you thinking “What needs to get done?” build a list in your journal.
Afterwards, people will ask: “What did you do when we were all stuck at home?” It won’t be a blur.
4. Contact friends from afar. We travel to the same places a lot. On Outlook we have our “China friends” and our “Cunard friends.” These are people we met on vacations. I try to write individual emails once a quarter. This is an ideal time to reestablish connections. Ask them if they are working from home. How has life changed? Learn from their perspective.
You have reawakened some dormant relationships.