As many financial and technology firms remain operating solely on a work-from-home basis, one Salt Lake City, Utah-based fintech has returned to its offices.

AdvisorPeak, a trading and rebalancing solution for financial advisors, reopened its headquarters on Monday, according to CEO and co-founder Damon Deru.

“Yesterday was our first day and it was weird coming back into the office – it was getting more back into the old routine versus the work-from-home routine we had all gotten used to,” said Deru.

Utah allowed some businesses in certain areas to begin reopening in mid-April, and has continued easing restrictions in May.

Nevertheless, Deru said that  things aren’t exactly back to normal in the AdvisorPeak office.

“Even as we reopened, we socially distanced everybody,” said Deru. “We did have all of our developers working together in one big open office, but we’ve taken that and put everyone in their own individual offices.”

Typically, one-third of AdvisorPeak’s workforce operates remotely, said Deru, and even those based in the office normally work one or two days a week from home.

“From our standpoint, it was an easy transition to and from working remotely because we were already set up to work that way,” said Deru. “The technology piece was the easy part – the trickier part as a business owner is replicating the culture and idea-sharing, and keeping communication flowing amongst the team.”

When the economy was shut down, AdvsorPeak’s staff “went into their own world,” said Deru – the work was being finished, but the natural conversations in which camaraderie and innovation can blossom were missing.

Deru’s solution were what have come to be known as virtual water cooler meetings – online video chats among coworkers with no set agenda, where people could speak more openly.

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