COVID-19 hit the globe like a storm and changed everyday life for many people. Most socialization and communication nowadays involve a screen. As a client, you may wonder – or even worry – how has FSA adapted? How has the pandemic affected FSA’s business?
In this blog post, we will cover the changes FSA has made to continue serving clients and keep the business running like a well-oiled machine.
Our president, Jim Joseph, often tells the story of FSA becoming virtual. A couple of years ago, Jim laid a project on the Operations Team to transition the operations of the business to the cloud. His idea was if there was a snow day or the building’s power shut off we could continue to work from home. It was about business continuity. Never did he think it would be in preparation for a pandemic! The ironic thing is that the cloud project was fully completed two weeks before we had to start working remotely in March due to the pandemic. Talk about perfect timing! The transition to working from home has gone smoother than we imagined. The team has maintained their work capacity while also getting a couple of extra hours at home by not commuting to work. A few team members still go into the office each week to check the mail and to clear the cobwebs.
During this time of remote work, we’ve had to use multiple platforms and services to continue daily work activities. For example, we have adopted and utilized electronic signatures. Through Schwab’s DocuSign portal, clients are able to complete, sign, and even attach their own documents without needing a printer and scanner. As an added bonus, Schwab’s DocuSign portal waives the requirement for a notary on certain forms. We’ve also moved to digital signatures for internal documents too, saving time and paper.
One thing we miss the most is seeing our clients in person. We always prefer to shake hands, give hugs, and sit across the table from our clients. But in the face of this pandemic, we have leveraged video conferencing software to have meetings. Not ideal, but works great. And with the fact that we have clients in 40 different states, we are seeing some clients’ faces for the first time ever!
FSA takes a lot of pride in the strong team culture. At first we were nervous about the adversity of remote working and how it would affect the vibes between our tight-knit group. To combat being isolated from each other, we have enacted different policies and activities to keep everyone engaged with the team. Of course, we have our instant messenger, but we like to go above and beyond IMs. We encourage the team to video call each other when questions arise to keep the dynamics flowing. Before the pandemic, we would have team lunch every Wednesday. To continue the tradition, we still eat lunch together every Wednesday, just on a video call. Lastly, we still maintain one of our core values, having fun at work. Our Social Committee continues to plan activities such as virtual happy hours. To keep things interesting, there are often themes, prizes, and even a trivia happy hour!
FSA understands we need to be adaptable during difficult times. We’ve made shifts to continue giving outstanding service to clients and to keep our team dedicated and happy. What pandemic tricks and events have you done? Feel free to contact us at questions@FSAinvest.com with your answers and questions.