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Innovation Can Happen From Anywhere

In a recent post on LinkedIn, I discussed why innovation doesn’t care about ZIP codes, and the post (which went viral with over 424k views)), along with the comments and contributions of my followers, had me thinking about this topic further.

In the post, I outlined the article by WSJ journalist, Christopher Mims in which he mentions that there is a more pessimistic mindset about where innovation needs to happen and that the movement to remote WFH (work from home) models will only lead to some moving or relocating to the suburbs, this just doesn’t make sense.

To further these thoughts are the seven key results stated by Adam Ozimek of Upwork in the press release that went out, entitled: The Future of Remote work, which you can read here.

 To reiterate, the seven key results are:  

  1. Remote work has risen rapidly as a result of the pandemic, with more than half of the American workforce currently working from home.
  2. 56% of hiring managers feel that the shift to remote work has gone better than expected, while only one in ten feel it has gone worse than expected.
  3. The greatest perceived benefits of remote work include a lack of commute, fewer unnecessary meetings, and reduced distractions at the office, all of which were shared by 40% of respondents or more.
  4. The single biggest drawback, in contrast, is technological issues, a problem that is likely a result of the rapid and unplanned shift and one that would be mitigated over time.
  5. One-third of hiring managers found that productivity had increased as a result of remote work, a greater share than that found productivity decreased.
  6. As a result of their experiences during COVID-19, 61.9% of hiring managers say their workforce will be more remote going forward.
  7. The expected growth rate of full-time remote work over the next five years has more than doubled, from 30% to 65%.

All this information paints an interesting picture, to say the least. However, while the facts and figures speak for themselves, I would like to give you a greater indication of the success of innovation, even one founded on a WFH model which is closer to home. That example is, of course, my own.

A Personal Experience

As you probably know, I am building a FinTech company. I also build my wealth management firm, Intrepid Wealth Partners, to be entirely virtual/remote starting back in 2013. What you may not know, though, is that the team and our collaboration occur across the world in real-time. As a result, the massive growth of this new company (and my RIA) is happening with the contribution and input of people from various states in the USA, along with people from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and even Germany. I even outlined how to work with a virtual assistant in a previous blog post that you can read here.

While I haven’t yet met any of these remarkable people in the flesh, our innovation is on fire! Understandably, we have a few factors to thank for this cross-world collaboration, and it isn’t without its setbacks. But when you weigh the pros and the cons, I can tell you, from personal experience, that the former significantly outweighs the latter.  Entrepreneur has an article about exactly this, that you can read here.

The pandemic forced a lot of the WFH newbies into this space. However, with trial and error, most of these individuals demand to continue working from home – even when the option of returning to the office returned as a possibility.

Today, finding the perfect financial advisor, doctor, spouse, or even cheeseburger is no longer dependent only on the options within your vicinity. We have, through tech, removed that location barrier and can now broaden our reach to our advantage.

WFH – For Time and Quality of Life Improvement

The WFH model expanded the talent pool for innovation to occur while still allowing people to have a better quality of life. An example can be found in video meetings where five minutes of appearance preparation beats the drive to a location, the wait for all attendees, and the disappointment of under-par coffee quality. At home, though, you have access to your brand of coffee, your comfort, and your convenience – and sometimes, we don’t even dress up for our meetings, not when semi-casual will do. In addition, all the preening and preparation that was otherwise spent on in-person meetings can now be better used for actual work preparation, a moment away from the screen for a refresher, or even simply a longer shower. Every second counts, and the WFH models give every second back to you.

Scientific American lays it out perfectly in this article, here.

Innovation doesn’t care about ZIP codes. Only some people do. There was a time when having that corner office in the most expensive part of town reflected success. However, the money could be spent elsewhere, like a fun sports car, a vacation, real estate investment, charitable donations, and much more. While the stigma of address fades, and I assure you, it is fading rapidly. There will be significant consequences to companies that find their profits in office rentals – and if you are in that field and reading this, please rethink your strategy.

The WFH model continues to thrive, and I know companies like Asset-Map Advisor, Altruist, Redtail Technology, Riskalyze, Advisor Websites and so many more are already doing this and experiencing great things.

Innovators and success

If you’re an innovator and wish to improve your quality of life, the WFH model is a no-brainer. You can achieve it all. But you must simply be willing to take it! You can improve innovation with these tricks and tips, as stated by Dr John Sullivan.

And yes, there are some cons to global collaboration; I don’t think it is all rosy. There are time zones to consider, availability to predict. And your 9 A.M. is very different to someone out in South Africa, who is already well into the afternoon. But it does get easier. Overall planning for meetings does improve and come Monday morning, due to the time difference, your partner on the other side of the planet already actioned pain points discussed in a Friday meeting for your perusal.

And yes, we also miss the human interactions we used to have every day at the “office”, but isn’t more time with friends & family away from the water cooler great?  We can still have the human connection we desire, it just looks a bit different.

Remote work, undoubtedly, boosts productivity and innovation, and there are multiple studies backing this up.

Does the WFH model work? Most certainly!  I’ve been doing it since 2013 and don’t regret it for a single minute.

Is it easy? It may not be as simple at first, but I assure you, in time, you will wonder why it is taking so long for the world to adapt to the apparent advantage of this model.

This model can be highly advantageous to the financial industry, among many others. You can go so far as to build a financial advisory online, and here’s how. However, it is crucial that while this financial force builds, the onus is on us to ensure that it is, undoubtedly, a financial force for good.

If you would like to read my LinkedIn article that spurred on this blog post, click here and you can continue the discussion with me and my followers there.

Best regards,

Derek

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