Before the pandemic hit, like most other businesses, we had never really encouraged working from home.
This meant that there was no hard-and-fast rule, and it was generally more senior people that worked from home on occasion.
Of course Covid-19 changed everything. It forced us to place greater trust in our people to be productive when not in the office, and the results have been amazing.
Rather than seeing productivity fall, which is what we feared, it increased – almost across the board, and while that is obviously important, there were other key improvements too, like better work-life balance for some of the team.
However, the enforced remote working environment also revealed that working from home does not suit everyone, with some colleagues unable to create a suitable home-working environment, while others struggled with the isolation.
So, once we were able to return to the office, we spoke to our teams about what they wanted to do and the clear solution was to introduce ‘flexible working’.
Now, we come in for training and culture reasons, but the rest of the time, managers decide how often their teams are in.
Certain teams - such as investment management - are back in the office almost full time, as lively, in-person debate is important for the team, while others are in less.
This flexible approach is very similar to the way in which we have always worked with our clients.
They have individual needs and goals which often change throughout the relationship, so the way we build their financial plans has to be flexible.
We start by listening to our clients and taking the time to get to know what is important to them.
This then enables us to build a plan that has enough flexibility to allow us to adapt not only as their objectives change, but as regulations and conditions evolve.
This flexibility has been hugely beneficial recently, as a number of our clients' attitudes and goals have changed quite significantly as a result of the pandemic.
For some, the pandemic has made them realise they want to be able to see others benefit from their wealth, so are putting living legacies in place and giving more to charity and other good causes.
For others, the past 18 months has made them realise life is too short, and if they can afford to stop working and enjoy themselves, they will, so we have helped some clients to take early retirement.
Overall, there is no doubt that the pandemic has changed the way we approach both our personal and work lives, and both are becoming much more connected as a result.
As a business, we now think more laterally about how and when we work, which has enabled us to be more flexible.