Is your Accounting practice looking into working from home? How will your staff stay productive?

Mar 19, 2020 | Technology

Don’t Panic! But anyway, how do you work from home during a health scare?

Your health (and everyone around you) should always be taken seriously. But this advice is certainly not medical, this is for people who are indirectly affected and either choose to, or are told, to work from home.

In fact one of Australia’s biggest firms, EY (Ernst & Young), has already taken action to move its staff to work from home arrangements.

“Across EY we continue to monitor and take advice from experts to ensure we support containment measures that protect the wellbeing of our people, our clients and the community,” – EY chief executive Tony Johnson

That’s big news for the Australian accounting industry – they will not be alone in their decision.

With more and more businesses and firms around Australia sending staff home to work, this is now more likely happen to you. So, on the chance it does: are you prepared to work from home?

Do you really need to?

Increasingly so, yes.

It’s becoming more and more likely for businesses across Australia to have employees work from home. Indeed, there are a growing number of businesses in Australia, and certainly around the world, who are already advising to do just that. So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility whatsoever.

If you are a practice owner, you’re in charge here so act with a level head and think about isolation for both yourself and of course, your staff. But how do you work from home and remain productive?

The right tech

Do you have what you need to work from home? For some office based accounting roles this will be rather easy – for others like client facing employees, not so much.

You will need:

  • A laptop
  • A phone
  • Internet access
  • Business software
  • A webcam
  • File access

Not only will you need to make sure you have the requisite tools to perform your job, you will also need a workflow and calendar setup in advance to keep you on task.

Make sure to decide on which messaging/virtual meeting platforms you’ll be communicating through and which apps need to download and setup.

You will also need to think about Skype meetings and how you’ll access your files (make sure you have a cloud folder as opposed to local files that are wed to a certain device).

Get up and get dressed

This is just as metaphorical as it is literal. You need to ‘show up’ ready for work.

You should be the master of your own domain when working remotely, which really means you need to take charge of your day.

Start by getting up and dressed. It sounds simple, but this is a metaphor for your day and gets you into the mood. Wearing a bathrobe while writing on the coffee table is not conducive to long term productivity.

So, treat your day just like a regular office day – be up on time, showered, fed, seated in your work space and no longer dressed in your pyjamas. This is a state of mind and it will pay dividends in increased concentration and productivity.

Quarantine yourself… from distractions

Not just from germs, (although that’s pretty useful in this context) but from distractions: the disease of the workday.

The best way to do this, without going insane, is to block out your hours and breaks. You will, of course, need to refresh, feed yourself and get some fresh air at some stage.

What we mean here is insulation from distraction:

  • Leave the TV off – Netflix is your enemy when trying to work from home
  • Only have one browser tab open at a time on your computer
  • Silence your social notifications or turn personal devices off
  • Inform your friends and family that you’re at work and not off work

Where can you setup? A proper workspace is essential

You need dedicated space free from distractions.

If you don’t have a spare room to make into an office, make sure to set up a specific workspace at the very least. Even a sunny corner near a window with a simple small desk, a good chair and your laptop can do it.

The point is you should not be doing work in a shared space.

Not only should you associate work and the mindset of being ‘in the zone‘ with a particular space to promote the right mindset, you also shouldn’t have to pack it up or have competing associations within your work space

Get out of the house

A mixed message perhaps. Didn’t we just tell you to quarantine? Yes, but balance is key. We aren’t robots. If you’re not infected, of course…

Once you have conscientiously worked uninterrupted all morning, block out your lunch time and get the heck out of the house! You will go mad if you don’t.

Get out and go for a walk, take your lunch to the park, go out to eat at a local cafe, have a swim, go surfing, or do a few quick errands. This is subject to your personal circumstances and health concerns – only you and your doctor will know.

The point is to leave the workspace, refuel and preferably get some light exercise in. Hitting the reset button is key to all-day productivity.

Now all you have to do is get back in the zone, pump out your afternoon session as efficiently as you can and you’re free for the day to indulge in all the distractions you desire.

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.

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