First Financial back in the office

“I’ve missed the day to day contact you have with the people you work with. Of course there’s the social part of saying hello, but also from the work perspective… being able to walk out of your office, ask someone a quick question and get it solved on the spot. It’s great to actually have the people you need there to talk to.” ~ David Jackson, Principal.

It’s been a long couple of years. The First Financial team started working from home at the end of March in 2020 but we are excited to say that we are now back in the office!

David Jackson, Financial Adviser Adam Ezerins and Client Services Manager Rachel Douglas talk about the return to Collins St… and what it means for our team and our clients.

Reconnecting with each other

Reconnecting with each other

When we first moved to working from home there was a lot of apprehension. Many of us were unsure how we would maintain our vibrant company culture and strong relationships with our colleagues and our clients, but we quickly found many tools to help us.

Over the long months of lockdowns, it was great to be able to have our digital team meetings and support our clients remotely… but we truly welcome the return to the office and have already started reconnecting with each other. Rachel says:

“It’s so nice to be back… looking out onto Collins Street and seeing people walking around. It’s a lot busier these days! I remember last year when I came into the office one day in the middle of lockdown and it was like a ghost town. I’m so happy to see everything coming back to life!

One of the things I’m really enjoying is seeing different people within the organisation, being able to say hello and chat with the people you wouldn’t necessarily get to speak with because you don’t work directly with them.

Working from home, you don’t often communicate with people outside of your immediate team so for me, talking to people is fantastic.”

Mentoring and team training

Mentoring and team training

Despite being based in our home offices, we’ve continued to push ahead with our mentoring programs and team training… so being able to work face to face again is extremely beneficial. David and Adam both mentor Adviser Assistants and understand the importance of working alongside them during their professional development. Adam explains:

“I work with Daniel Smith and for him I think it’s crucial that he is able to hear the everyday interactions I have with clients and other staff members. Communication skills are best developed when you are right there – a part of the conversation. This is how you master your soft skills… speaking to clients on phone or in a meeting, it’s easier to get the experience when you are in the office face to face rather than virtual.”

Client meetings

Client meetings

There’s no doubt that many of our clients have embraced the world of Zoom and have enjoyed being able to attend meetings from the comfort of their own homes. But with most of his work client-focused, David is definitely looking forward to the return of some in-person meetings. He says:

“I have some new clients I haven’t met yet and while Zoom is efficient, it isn’t as personal as sitting with someone across the desk. In a face to face meeting, the first 10 to 15 minutes are always the catch up. We have a cup of coffee, talk about the family… build our relationship. When I’m on Zoom it’s straight in… the personal discussions aren’t as in depth.

Plus, in a digital meeting you don’t get the same body language reactions that you do in person… these are the things I miss. The non-verbal communication, all the small nuances… the unspoken rapport that you build when in a meeting room together.

I know we will definitely continue to have a mix. Some of our clients love that Zoom is so convenient, whereas some clients will want to come in and catch up in person. It’s really important that we continue to offer both. There will be flexibility to choose what suits them.”

For now, the hybrid working style is here to stay. Some days in the office and some days from home so that we can maintain our work life balance and also continue to nurture the relationships that make First Financial a truly special place to work.

If you’d like to get in touch with your adviser to plan a meeting, please contact us today.

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