Fancy a Coffee? The pros and cons of working from home and building client relationships.

Are face-to-face meetings still relevant or a thing of the past?  

Do people prefer sharing screens to sharing eye contact?

Are waiting rooms on zoom preferable to a quiet corner of a cafe?

At Fred & Eric we’ve been thinking about this shift towards a new remote ‘norm’, and the impact it has on client relationships.  

Despite the many and varied benefits of technological advancement to allow remote working, here at Fred & Eric we would always opt for a face-to-face meeting if possible.  We’ve rightly moved a long way from the Mad Men era of ‘wining and dining’ to seal a deal.  But human interactions are undoubtedly key to building strong client relationships.  

Meeting someone in person can be critical in building rapport that is much harder to foster on a screen.  Whether that’s mentioning the weather, transport issues (especially in London!), or emotions about the final of Succession….there is value in these simple human interactions that builds a level of connection and camaraderie.

Body language, tone of voice and non-verbal clues when sitting opposite someone are so much easier to read than through a screen.  Conversations flow more naturally, and with that, the potential for creativity and brainstorming.  This is key in establishing a loyal client relationship and can easily be lost in translation through a screen.

We are very aware of the benefit of online meetings - the speed and ease of clicking a button to engage can have huge benefits when it comes to time management and a better work/life balance.  The UK, after all, is now dubbed as the ‘work from home capital of Europe’.  However, it can also be easy to get distracted during a virtual meeting.  I’m sure many of us are guilty of being tempted to discreetly check emails and zone out at times, or watching the door like a hawk for fear of interruption from an overzealous 5 year old

We believe it is crucial not to dispense with face-to-face interaction.  Human contact is intrinsic to life, in and out of work.  Remote working is ‘probably here to stay, but here at Fred & Eric we want to work hard to maintain a hybrid way of working that balances the virtual with face-to-face.  

So, if you fancy a coffee and a chat, let us know and we’ll be there!