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Can advisers make the shift to remote work permanent?

With restrictions easing across many states, advisers are considering what aspects of remote working to maintain on a permanent basis – but one remote business owner says advisers must have their processes and communications strategies in order to make it work long term.

Advice Revolution chief technology officer Adrian Patty told ifa that if used effectively, shifting to permanent remote work could give advisers the opportunity to scale up their business and cut costs, making their services more affordable to clients.

“The world is now a global talent pool and Australia has some of the highest wages in the world,” Mr Patty said. 

“We have a great neighbour to our north the Philippines that has over 100 million people that are hungry for working opportunities.”

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Mr Patty, a former adviser who had worked remotely running both his practice and then his advice technology business for several years before the COVID pandemic, said in order to successfully manage a remote team, practice principals had to be clear on what they wanted their staff to achieve and how.

“The clearer you are about the business strategy and the processes in your business, the easier it is to keep things organised,” he said. 

“Being crystal clear about outcomes is fundamental to things working well.”

Mr Patty said keeping staff feeling valued and motivated was another challenge with running a business remotely, so business owners and managers needed to put significant effort into communicating regularly with workers and getting to know them.

“Communication is key and leading by example,” he said. 

“As a leader in the business, the way you turn up and communicate with the team sets the tone. Being excited about your own business and sharing that carries through. Clear communication about the part that each person plays in achieving the vision is also really helpful the why. 

“Another thing is to be social with the team and ensure there are discussions about personal lives and that all conversation is not task-orientated.”

Mr Patty said while many practices had become more productive during the COVID crisis, the sector was still lacking in the optimum technology to make a real difference to the cost of advice.

“Remote working has helped advice businesses dramatically, by reducing staff costs as well as fixed costs like office space. Much of the problems of advice compliance have been shifted to lower-cost staff, but the underlying process hasn't necessarily been made more efficient,” he said. 

“The new frontier of cost reduction in advice will be via more powerful technology adoption. 2021 will see some massive technology shifts.”  

Adrian Patty will speak at ifa’s Business Strategy Day 2021 on 30 March. Register now to secure your place at this two-day virtual event.

Can advisers make the shift to remote work permanent?
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