Working From Home where possible
Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, the government has issued measures stating that everyone should work from home if they can. It is important to recognise that for many businesses, working from home is impossible as they are customer facing or perform manual work that requires employees to be present.
However a lot of businesses can be completely of partly moved to home working with some very minor changes. Administrative departments for example should be able to move to home working relatively easily. This way of working could turn into the new normal, with team meetings at hubs and offices a thing of the past. Whatever happens, our lives will definitely be different after this global health crisis.
As accountants it is our job to help our clients adapt to a changing business environment. We are pleased that we can lead the way in working from home, below are some tips for how to best optimise your business to be able to work from home.
Get laptops. Ditch the desktop computer and buy yourself and staff members laptops, this gives you the flexibility to work anywhere. Our team all use Surface Books with small hard drives as we use the cloud for all our storage. Each desk at the office has a docking station which allows any staff member to use any desk with the same set up which allows for flexibility in the office as well.
Go Online. Get rid of your server and look at having all your software and storage online. Our IT partner Platform 365 have helped us to ensure we can operate 100% online and provide us with much needed remote support.
Microsoft 365. Changing to subscription-based Microsoft 365 has helped us so much. We store our files on One Drive and have access to the online versions of Microsoft Office’s programmes such as Word and Excel. This allows our files and documents to be securely shared and accessed by our team on our laptops and smartphones from wherever we are working.
Accounting Online. Our preferred software is Xero, partly as it is an online platform and allows you to run your business from anywhere, but we also work with other platforms that have a similar function. Having your accounting software online with tools such as Receipt Bank makes working online and communicating with your accountant very easy. For example, we can remotely cover your book-keeping team should they fall ill and be unable to work. This will give you peace of mind that your business will still be able to manage its cash.
Online tools. There are many online tools that can help your business to thrive and make you more efficient, we are more than happy to help and advise you with these. We use Karbon to keep track of our work and see where the team are on our clients jobs, Futurli to see trends in our business and our clients, and Zoom to keep in touch with our clients and the team.
Paul regularly works from home on a Wednesday and many of our team also have at least one working from home day a week. Here are our top tips for working from home for you and your employees
Limit Distractions. Try not to work where the family are, they are distracting and you won’t get much done. It can be tempting to have family and friends pop round for a coffee whilst you are working, but you need to be strict and politely tell them when you will be available.
Get Dressed. Make sure to change into your daytime clothes and don’t be tempted to sit working in your PJ’s all day, especially if you have video calls! This will have the psychological effect of getting your brain ready for work as opposed to chilling out all day. The same goes for working from your bed.
Keep moving. Exercise is important for keeping both your body and mind healthy, especially when working from home. I try to not spend sustained periods of time sat in isolation at my desk, I have found that even going out for a coffee or sitting in another part of the house or garden helps to break up the day. Taking the dog out for a walk at lunchtime or going for a morning run are great ways to include exercise into your daily working routine.
Flexible Hours. For us a working day is 7 1/2 hours and as long as the work gets done they can be completed at any time in the day. If it suits to do something during the day and finish in the evening that is fine.
Communication. Keep in regular contact with the rest of your team. We have a scheduled group call at 10am every morning to catch up with our team members who are working from home during this time. It helps us all stay on the same page and allows us to continue to work together well. It also stops us from getting lonely!