Familiarity with remote working is fundamentally changing the relationship between professional service firms and their clients and staff. Savvy firms can utilise this to win business and recruit talent previously outside of their geographical reach.
Whilst there is much discussion around how firms should manage their return to the office, statistics from our clients show somewhere between 60% and 80% of staff wish to continue working from home for at least some of their week. Staff and clients alike have become quite comfortable with remote working and video communications.
A revolution has occurred, largely unnoticed.
We believe there will be eventual financial benefits to this in terms of reduced office and property costs as leases come up for renewal. But is there a bigger story here; one from which firms could benefit right now.
Traditionally, clients of professional services firms would look locally for a firm to advise them, unless they needed very specialised advice that meant searching further afield. However, these clients have now become accustomed to communicating with their advisers remotely over Teams and Zoom and the like.
This means that propinquity to the advisor has become less important; and this, in turn, opens up market opportunities for firms to reach clients they might not have previously considered. For example, regional firms can present themselves to clients in London and the South East, offering similar skills but at lower prices. The geographical playing field has been levelled, and firms can maximise the benefits of their lower operating costs to win work.
The same is also true when it comes to recruitment; firms should be widening the scope of their recruiting, finding the right individual in terms of skills, availability and salary, regardless of their geographical location.
A revolution, long promulgated by technologists, has been enacted by the arrival of Covid-19. It is up to firms to recognise this and embrace it to boost their agility, reach, and market share.