Is your company remote because of COVID-19? Here are some WFH tips for you

The FNF team knows these last two weeks have been an adjustment period for everyone in the title industry. We commend our network of agents for staying strong and continuing to fulfill customer needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic while caring for their teams and their families.

During this time, title companies have been deemed an “essential service,” by government officials, a designation supported by the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department. This distinction means your offices have remained operational, even in places where travel and business have been restricted. Of course, you’ve also taken plenty of health and safety measures to protect customers and employees. For many of you allowing parts of your team to work remotely (from home) has been one of those steps.

For those who have never worked from home for a prolonged period of time, there is a learning curve to getting it right. Given current events, we’re sure there has been little time to do said adjusting, so we wanted to provide some information on how to most effectively work from home.

There are plenty of tip sheets out there. (here and here, for example), but we wanted to focus this piece on security, team communication and remote employee well-being.

Security

When working from home – or anywhere outside the office – cybersecurity becomes doubly important. Hopefully, you already took steps to make sure employees had anti-virus programs and other security software installed on their laptops, two-factor authentication on their accounts and a secured internet connection at home before you allowed them to work remotely.             

Companies should also make sure that their IT support people can still be of assistance in a remote set-up. Think about how much you rely on them during a regular workday; you’re likely going to need them during this remote work period too. Lastly, make sure your team is backing up their work somewhere other than their primary computer and that your company has a well-known procedure in place in case of a cybersecurity incident.

Communication

This may be an area you and your team are still working on, which is understandable. But good communication will be key to the success of your remote-for-now workforce. Maybe, you’re one of the many outfits that have checked out Slack or Microsoft Teams. If not, one of these programs may be a good solution for you to streamline communication. Regular video calls, possibly using Zoom or something like it, can be good for team morale and socialization too, just don’t overdo it. 

After all, trust in your employees is a good communication practice too. If you’re the company leader, make sure your team knows that you’re available to support them anytime, but don’t feel the need to schedule an abundance of check-in meetings either. If your office thrives on autonomy and trust when everyone is physically together, there’s no reason not to have that same level of confidence in your people now. Having someone notify you every time they complete a task that normally doesn’t need your approval won’t benefit anyone.

Employee well-being

Here is the section for those of you actually working from home. Hopefully, you have all the tools you need from the office to thrive, but here are a few things to remember as you embark on this journey.

  • If you have a designated home work area – use it. If not, try to find some space. One of the most common complaints from people making this change is that they have a hard time separating work from the rest of their lives. Speaking of boundaries, set work-hour limits like you would have in the office. 
  • Along those same lines, try to keep your morning routine as much as possible. We know this pandemic may have brought you a slew of new personal tasks to take care of, but if you still practice your before-work ritual (minus the commute), do it. That will help get your brain in work mode. Plus, you stay on top of your hygiene, no matter how long this lasts.   
  • Don’t feel guilty about taking a break. Move around a bit, take care of an errand or just give your mind a chance to re-charge. Be honest, you’re not engaged in “work stuff” for eight straight hours in the office every day. You don’t have to do that at home either.
  • Remember, your colleagues and family members are adjusting to a new normal too.

The entire FNF team thanks our agents for all their hard work during this ever-changing situation. Protecting your health, your customers and your business is paramount during times like these, and the FNF Family of Companies are here for you to lean on for the support you need.

A message to our agents about COVID-19 from the FNF Family of Companies

All levels of the Fidelity National Financial Family of Companies are here to support our title agents amid the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The entire FNF team wants you to know that you can lean on FNF for the guidance and support you need during these uncertain times. 

We are aware that a few counties across the country are not currently allowing recording. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is keeping a running list of such counties on a recently launched COVID-19 dedicated webpage (http://www.alta.org/coronavirus).     

Our National Agency Team encourages you to follow CDC recommendations and do what you can to protect the health and safety of your customers and fellow team members. Here are some measures ALTA recommended taking in a recent blog post. 

  • Encouraging all customers and visitors to use hand sanitizer and/or wash hands upon arrival and providing hand sanitizer in closing spaces and other common areas.  
  • Telling employees who feel sick to stay home and informing customers who are ill to either reschedule a closing or ask for a private closing room ahead of time.
  • Disinfecting all items in closing rooms, such as chairs, tables, and door handles, in between closings.  
  • Using new pens for each transaction and making sure to remove any pens, papers or other items from the table after a closing is completed.
  • Removing all reading materials, dishes and other re-usable items from your lobby or waiting area.
  • Practicing social distancing whenever possible by staying at least six feet away from others. Some companies are offering separate closing rooms for buyers/sellers and trying to minimize the number of people physically at a closing.  
  • Enhancing general environmental sanitizing practices and making sure after-hours cleanings are utilizing the appropriate germ-killing solutions
  • Allowing employees who can work from home without disrupting production and service continuity to do so.

No matter how long this situation continues, we want our agents to know that FNF is here for you. If FNF can be of assistance to you in any way, please reach out to your agency representative today. We are committed to staying connected (while practicing social distancing) as we all navigate these unprecedented times together.

Going digital doesn’t have to be disruptive for you or your customers

The FNF Agency Digital Closing Hub is a resource all our agents can lean on as they explore how digital closings could affect their offices and customers. Your Digital Solutions Team is always looking for helpful information for you.  That’s why the article “Digital Doesn’t Have to Be Disruptive” from the Harvard Business Review caught our eye. It’s already in our Recent Digital Closing News section. However, because it’s more than 4,000 words long, we wanted to highlight some of the parts we think can apply to your own digital journey.

The overarching theme of the piece is that going digital is not a completely new direction – that it doesn’t have to be a scary proposition. No, instead utilizing digital allows companies to become more efficient and serve customer needs better by using technology. The piece’s authors put it this way, “Digital transformation is not usually about a root-and-branch reimagining of the value proposition or the business model. Rather, it is about both transforming the core using digital tools and discovering and capturing new opportunities enabled by digital.”

Those opportunities include better ways to meet customer needs, save time and apply incremental change to better improve existing infrastructure. New technology is going to help you do things quicker and easier while building on the foundation of knowledge and customer service that you have already built.

The HBR piece presented several myths that people in all industries tend to believe when they are confronted with changing over to digital. You’ve probably heard many of them and if so, could be concerned. The piece then debunked those myths, or at least presented the gentler reality. They included the following three pairings:

  • MythDigital requires radical disruption of the value proposition.

Reality: It usually means using digital tools to better serve the known customer need.

From the article: “We believe that the customer needs most companies serve will look much the same as before. The challenge is to find the best way to serve those needs using digital tools.”

  • Myth: Digital is about technology.

Reality: It’s about the customer.

From the article: “Of course, technology change is involved—but smart companies realize that transformation is ultimately about better serving customer needs, whether through more-effective operations, mass customization, or new offers.”

  • Digital will replace physical.

Reality: It’s a “both/and.”

From the article: “There is no doubt that digital often enables the elimination of inefficient intermediaries and costly physical infrastructure. But that doesn’t mean the physical goes away entirely. In fact, as has been well documented, many retailers are finding ways to create a hybrid of physical and digital that taps into the advantages of each.”

The FNF Digital Solutions Team hopes that reading this blog puts you more at ease when it comes to your digital transformation. This should be an exciting time, not an overwhelming one, and Fidelity National Financial is here to do everything we can to set you up for future success. Contact our FNF Digital Transactions team at FNTGeducation@fnf.com.

You don’t need a digital guru to jumpstart a successful digital strategy

We know that the idea of offering digital closing on any scale may feel daunting at first. That’s one of the reasons the Fidelity National Financial Agency Operations launched our Digital Closing Hub. The mission? To provide you with the information and resources you need to succeed, no matter how you plan on using the digital age to the advantage of your customers.

That’s why we’re stepping outside of the title world with this blog post and pointing you toward a story about digital transformations. This recent Harvard Business Review piece, ominously headlined, “Don’t Put a Digital Expert in Charge of Your Digital Transformation,” was full of great advice on implementing a digital strategy for any part of business.       

The HBR article starts by asking who of three “people” you’d put in charge of your company’s digital transformation. Two of the three options have a digital background, while another is a company insider who has been successful in other non-digital avenues. The rest of the piece lays out the case for why that third person (named William) could actually be the best candidate for the job.  

Why was this conclusion reached?

  • The “digital transformation is often less about a radical rethinking of the business than about learning how to use digital tools to better serve customers.”
  • A digital revolution is as much about organizational change as it is about digital change.  People in charge need to know – or at least be ready to hear about – the needs of team members and customers.
  • Current company leaders and employees understand how your business works and have the relationships to get things done. You can always bring a digital expert as part of the team, but that person doesn’t need to be leading the effort.

How can this idea apply to your title business? Think about your digital effort as part of your company, not an entirely new concept. Lots of the same things that work well in the “traditional” realm will translate to success in your digital effort. Finally, as long as your current staff buys into the concept, they should not be overlooked as part of your future digital plans.

Plus, you can lean on FNF to help you along that journey. Going digital, after all, should be an exciting prospect that makes the closing experience better for you and your customers. Learn more about digital closings in our FNF Agency Digital Closing Hub by clicking here.

Fidelity National Financial launches Digital Closing Hub to help FNF agents navigate evolving subject

Fidelity National Financial’s new Digital Closing Hub is now open. This resource, available to the thousands of hardworking FNF title agents nationwide, was created as the company continues to lead the way on the ever-evolving topic of digital closings.

Earlier this year, the Fidelity National Financial Family of Companies, in partnership with Black Knight Inc., announced it was creating a better experience for consumers wanting to take advantage of full and hybrid digital real estate closings. This new Digital Closing hub is another step in that plan. It is education-focused and will ensure that FNF’s independent agents have the knowledge and tools they need to utilize everything that adopting digital closings can give them and their customers.  

“We are proud of all the work that we’ve done when it comes to digital closings and Remote Online Notarization,” said Steve Day, President of National Agency Operations for Fidelity National Financial. “Our goal is to give our agents the technology and strength they need to succeed, but we are focused on their education too. This new Hub is will be the key our agents need as they unlock the power of digital closings for the customers in their markets.” 

Under the leadership of Jason Nadeau, Fidelity National Financial’s chief digital officer, the Digital Closing Hub will be full of content focused on industry news, educational materials for agents and their office staff, marketing tips when it comes to dealing with lenders and REALTORS®, and a list of approved vendors to help with the digital closing process.

“No matter where they live and work, agents want to make sure they are not missing the boat when it comes to digital closings and RON,” Nadeau said. “This new hub will provide them with the material and information they need so they will be on top of this issue for their customers.”

Nadeau promised that the Hub will always include a wide array of content. He and the rest of the FNF Digital Solutions team understand that every agent has different needs when it comes to this subject, based on location, customer demand and comfort level with the topic of digital closings.

“We are just at the beginning of this digital revolution, and FNF is proud to be ahead of the curve for our agents. Whether they are ready to go fully digital now or just wanting to explore this topic for customer conversations down the road, the new Digital Closing Hub will always be full of information that is useful and engaging,” Nadeau said.

Fidelity agents can access the hub now by visiting www.digitalclosinghub.com.  

About Fidelity National Financial, Inc. 
Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE: FNF) is a leading provider of title insurance and transaction services to the real estate and mortgage industries. FNF is the nation’s largest title insurance company through its title insurance underwriters – Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York – that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States. More information about FNF can be found at fnf.com.

FNF’s Solution Partners resource now includes vendors for digital closing services

One of the resources from the Fidelity National Financial Family of Companies we’re most proud of is our collection of Solution Partners. We put this list together for our agents to lean on whenever they need a vetted vendor to help with an aspect of their business.

It’s likely you’ve utilized this list before, but we wanted to mention the ever-growing database here because there are plenty of vendors available to help you digitize your closing process in some way. In fact, we are excited to announce that we have four Solution Partners that are ready to help our agents specifically in the area of digital closings.

They are Notarize, NotaryCam, Pavaso and Black Knight Expedite Close. All these companies have been vetted by FNTG and their software meets our standards. You’ll still need to get underwriter approval and be in a Remote Online Notary (RON) approved state to use any of them for FNF-backed transactions but feel free to start researching to see if any of them would be a good fit for you and your customers.

In addition to these four RON-specific vendors, there are other listings in the Solution Partners network that can help our agents with digital notary services if they need them. There’s also a company included there called ZOCCAM. Some of you use this vendor already, but if you don’t, you should know that ZOCCAM allows your REALTORS® and buyers to securely send you earnest money checks or contracts with their phone. Talk about a digital revolution.     

Back when this additional digital closing effort was announced, our Chief Digital Officer Jason Nadeau said that FNTG would continue to make sure “our vast network has access to the tools they need to compete effectively in an increasingly digital world.” Our library of Solution Partners is one major way we give you the empowerment to be ready for digital closings in whatever way you want to offer them.