During the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, more employees are working from home than ever before. However, not all organizations are equipped to shift their entire workforce to work remotely, especially within such a short timeframe.
As a lot of people are still adjusting to the new work norms, we reached out to a few experts in the accounting industry to guide you and your team with some work-from-home policies.
Let’s find out how they are surviving remote working during these tough times:
1. Cyrus Vanover
Cyrus Vanover, MBA, is a financial copywriter who has written for companies of all sizes. He is also the author of the personal finance book, “Earn A Debt-Free College Degree.” His goal is to help families save money, make more money, and achieve financial independence. In addition to that, he runs a personal finance blog called Frugal Budgeter.
Based in the mountains of Virginia, he enjoys hiking the local trails, listening to 80s music, and reading books on military history in his spare time. You can find him on LinkedIn.
Here are some tips from Cyrus:
- When you work from home, there can be a lot of things around you to distract you from your work. If you have children, they are most likely home with you from school. Maybe the dog needs to be walked. Or perhaps someone knocks on the door.When you work from home, it’s important to have a designated space where you do your work. If you don’t have an extra room for an office, a bedroom will do. It’s important to communicate to your family the hours you will be working and that when your door is closed, you shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
- When you work from home, it can be difficult to make a clean break between work and home life at the end of your work day. You may be tempted, for example, to continue answering work emails after your work hours.It’s important to have a designated time that you stop working each day. After that, the rest of your day should be for relaxing, spending time with family, and doing other things. This helps to prevent burnout, stress, and it also helps you to feel like you have a life outside of your work.
- When you work from home, you may be tempted to check social media, like Facebook, throughout the day. It can be very easy to spend much more time on these sites than you or realize. You may tell yourself that you will only be on Facebook for a minute, for example, but end up spending 10 minutes reading posts, laughing at memes, and arguing politics.It’s important to stay off of social media and other sites while you are working so that you can maintain a high level of productivity. You can reward yourself with a little internet time when you take breaks and after you quit working of the evening.
2. Jasen Stine
Jasen has been in the tax and accounting industry for over 20 years and is responsible for setting training and education strategies at Intuit. He is a thought leader, writer, and speaker on the 4th industrial revolution and AI’s impact on the profession.
He is a published author in AccountingToday and Intuit’s Tax Pro Center. He also recently implemented Natural Language Processing technology in Intuit’s educational programs that are currently pending patent. Feel free to connect Jasen via LinkedIn or Twitter.
Here’s what Jasen has to say:
Tax and accounting pros will want to focus on skills and technology while working in a remote environment.
- Time Management is crucial in just about any role. Self-organization helps draw clear boundaries around your time while remaining adaptable. After all, not everything can be scheduled.
- Managing Talent. It’s important to keep your team focused with a clear strategy, solid work processes, and open collaboration. Maintain interpersonal connections with compassion and flexibility. A sense of community can be easily lost in a remote work environment.
- Client Collaboration. Use an online portal to exchange and e-sign client documents. Consider tools beyond email to manage client communications. Moving to a virtual work environment can be a catalyst for determining your ideal client relationship.
- Hosting Solutions. Working remotely doesn’t mean losing your favorite desktop tools. Hosting is one way you can use what you love and work where you need to.
- Practice Management and Team Communication programs are an effective way to help your entire firm stay organized and ensure you deliver for clients while freeing you to add value to those relationships in more meaningful ways like advising, which is where your clients need you most, now and going forward.
3. Eileen Maki
Eileen has experience in working on many varied projects, including process improvements and training as well as technical support, budget and expenditure monitoring, legislative liaison, internal consulting, and other duties as needed.
She has worked in Business and Accounting for over 25 years, project management for over 6 years, and has been a writer and author for over 30 years.
Here are a few of her tips for surviving working from home during COVID-19:
- Make your workspace comfortable: Make sure you have a setup that will allow you to work comfortably for hours at a time. Ergonomic chairs and sit/stand desks are great options that are affordable and keep you comfortable during the long workday.
- Dress for work: I find it extremely helpful to dress in clothes I would normally wear to work, even though I’m not leaving the house. Going through the routine of getting ready for work helps me mentally prepare to be in a professional state of mind and get ready for the day ahead.
- Take breaks: Sitting (or standing) at your workstation for hours at a time is not healthy for your body or your mind. Make sure you take breaks, step away from your computer, and just refresh for at least a few minutes several times a day. Stretch, go for a walk, open your window for some fresh air, or whatever helps you feel like you’ve got a tiny break from work for a while.
- Set office hours: Just like you have normal working hours when you’re in the office, you should also set office hours for when you’re working from home. Keeping a normal schedule will help your family, and you stay free of interruptions and distractions as well as allow you to manage your work hours and not exhaust yourself by working too many hours.
4. Gary DeHart
Gary has worked in media for more than 25 years and has been instrumental in developing new revenue streams and business opportunities for the companies he has worked for.
Prior to launching Insightful Accountant (formerly Intuitive Accountant), Gary was the Associate Publisher of Accounting Today. In addition to being the Publisher and Managing Partner of Insightful Accountant, Gary works with select clients within the accounting market on channel development and growth.
He is an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America, enjoys fly fishing, time on the beach, cooking on the Big Green Egg, and spending time with his family. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Here are Gary’s tips for surviving work from home during the pandemic:
I find it critically important to get up, get moving, and get outside, especially for people who are not used to working from home. The sun and movement really recharge me and help clear my head. Additionally, I find it very helpful to have non-work-related calls and conversations throughout the day. Think about it.
When you work in an office how many “water cooler” discussions do you have in a day? Numerous.These small breaks give you a chance to rest and refocus. Best of all, you can have them when you want to have them.
5. Randy Johnston
Randy is one of the partners at K2 Enterprises. In his role at K2 Enterprises, Randy helps to create and deliver technology-focused training to business professionals throughout North America. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Randy suggests to manage risks with these practices:
- Multiple hand sanitizing stations should be spread throughout the facility.
- Seat spacing should accommodate social distancing.
- Plexiglass barriers should be considered where direct interactions occur.
- All high-contact, non-porous surfaces should be sanitized daily or more often if in heavy use.
- Information racks and other sources of paper should be minimized.
- Consider contactless pay systems.
- If you are out in public, keep your distance, and wear a cloth mask.
- Continue frequent hand washing.
- Stay home if you exhibit signs of illness.
- Continue to work at home if permitted.
- Remember employee safety first, client, or customer contact second.
- Practice great hygiene.
- Cover your cough.
- Make sure to disinfect frequently touched areas.
These are tedious guidelines that are tough to maintain and exhausting, but we know that they work.
6. Mike Milan
Mike is one of the highest-rated instructors in the nation on the topic of financial management for small business owners. He has built or helped build multiple companies from the ground up by transforming ideas into multi-million-dollar enterprises.
Clear Path To Cash is based on the belief that every business owner can fulfill their dreams by understanding and acting on the financial issues they encounter every day. Ultimately, business owners can make more money and build a lifestyle-friendly business where they get more time for themselves. He is passionate about helping business owners focus on what matters most in their business – Cash.
Here are his insights on working from home during COVID-19
If you’ve never worked from home for an extended period of time, it can be a shock to your system. Personally, I can’t believe how many actual distractions there are. We know about the common ones like T.V. and other comforts of home, but I wasn’t prepared to navigate around home-schooling, dueling ZOOM calls with my spouse, and everyone performing the loudest activities ever as soon as I picked up a phone. In the end, I found 3 things that gave me a sense of order.
- Get into a routine. Having structure around the day resembled getting ready to go into the office and made it feel like a workday.
- Designate primary and alternate “meeting locations.” Unlike your office, home comes with a variety of other distractions you have to work around. This is especially true if you are trying to work from a family common space.
- Don’t forget about family/me time. You would think that you would be less productive during this time. I found that it was just the opposite. I worked longer hours and more days, which meant I stole time from my family or for me personally. Don’t forget to give attention to those you love.
Tell us how you are surviving work from home during this pandemic in the comments section below.
Chat With A Solutions Consultant