Everything appears to be uncertain right now, except one thing – remote working is here to stay even after the COVID-19 crisis. The CPAs, accountants, and financial institutions are forced to work remotely as the U.S. government asked employees related to non-essential services away from offices. However, according to The Guardian, some people may work from home permanently.
The majority of CFOs across the country are under immense pressure to manage the expenses and expect at least some of their employees to work remotely post the COVID-19 crisis. This is mainly because of two reasons – limit the contact between people and reduce office infrastructure expenses.
How will everything work out? What are the pros and cons of remote working? Each situation is different, and only time will tell how everything turns out to be.
There are obvious health benefits as limited contact with people will pause the spread of infections, people will not fall sick, there will be no commutation time and cost, better work-life balance, and employees will be able to work at their own pace.
However, there are some negative effects as well, such as limited team communication, employee time management issues, and data security concerns.
Challenges in Implementing Remote Working
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced almost every industry in the world to deploy a remote working structure. This new structure has helped people to stay away from the coronavirus but has put forth some obstacles as well.
1. Security Concerns
Companies had a central security network in place prior to the COVID-19 crisis. However, with people working remotely, there needs to be structural changes. This is a serious issue considering the increased number of cyberattacks in recent times, where a small data breach can make it difficult for companies to survive.
2. Balancing Professional and Personal Lives
There is a possibility that some accountants or CPAs might not be able to draw a line between personal and professional lives. As a result, their productivity and communication with teammates may get impacted.
3. Remote Collaboration
A common challenge faced by remotely working teams is collaborating with each other. How can an accountant and a salesperson collaborate effectively while working on the same project?
4. Prioritizing Tasks
Remote workers often find it difficult to manage their work and prioritize tasks. And then, there’s a constant urge to watch a funny video and take a break from work or to make something delicious to eat. All of a sudden, the whole day passes, and important tasks are left pending.
5. Lack of Human Touch
Providing employees with the necessary infrastructure and flexibility is just one aspect of remote working. The other aspect involves the inclusion of proper remote working guidelines that empathize with the employees. Your employees should not feel that they have become robots.
Remote Working Tips for Employees
1. Rely on Advanced Communication Methods
Check with your internet service provider for a faster plan. Also, it is not a bad idea to get a landline installed as mobile communications may be affected. Another option is to use online communications tools like Skype and Zoom.
2. Organize Regular Team Meetings
Working remotely often inculcates a feeling of loneliness in employees. So, it is important to stay connected with your team meetings, preferably through video conferences. Video conferences are the best way to keep in touch with your team, know they are doing, and show every member that even while working remotely, a team will always work as a team.
3. Keep in Touch
When accountants are working remotely, they should be more active than ever in checking their emails and chats. Do not let unread emails pile up in your inbox because checking and answering to multiple emails at once tends to waste a lot of time.
4. Use a VPN
The security of accounting data should be a priority for the company. All the accountants should ensure that all the data is stored on a central server (company’s server) and should access it through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) only.
5. Create an Office-like Space
It is necessary to create a space or environment that resembles your office space. It will give you the desired inspiration for better focus and productivity. There’s no need to convert an entire room into a workspace; a corner of a room would be suitable as well.
6. Change the Scenery
Working from home doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be really fun and productive. Try changing your location and work from your backyard or at the poolside. Such small changes can do wonders for your productivityand help complete tasks before time.
7. Take Regular Breaks
Remote working blurs the line between personal and professional lives. It can also be quite confusing in terms of breaks. Make a plan of the day, which should include break time as well. Take a walk, listen to music, and exercise daily.
How can companies benefit from remote working?
Remote working, when implemented correctly, can be a boon to accountants and financial firms. Think of benefits like less IT infrastructure and office space, fewer business meetings, better work-life balance, better focus, and lesser breaks. Moreover, you can hire talent from any part of the world.
Remote working will change how we work, post the crisis as well. Nobody can predict when the situation will be back to normal again. Therefore, accounting firm owners should:
- Work on a well-structured remote working model.
- Create a culture where everyone feels connected to the team and clients.
- Switch to cloud-hosted accounting applications and video conferencing.
- Keep track of employee sentiments.
Want to know about the latest remote working solutions for your business? Get in touch with a Solutions Consultant at 855-781-8934.