Many accountants and their staff are on a steep learning curve discovering what it’s like to work from home.
I started working from home (WFH) eleven years ago, which seems like a lifetime ago now. It took some getting used to, from IT issues to challenges around time management and work/life balance.
For those of you who are adjusting to WFH for the first time, here are some concrete tips that have served me well over the years.
- Get up early – Clear your head and get ready for the day; get outside for exercise; have a healthy breakfast; limit caffeine intake;
- Start on time – Don’t dawdle. Get dressed for business. Start as you would if you were in the office. Pyjamas don’t generally instil alertness;
- Take proper breaks during the day in the fresh air (this replaces the chats at the coffee station/water cooler) – maintain your physical distance;
- Take a proper lunch break – don’t eat at your desk, like you probably did at the office;
- Children – for those juggling childcare/home-schooling responsibilities, parents can take turns alternating between three-hour time slots for working/child supervision;
- Before you stop for the day, prioritise a to do list of the next day’s tasks and split them between urgent, important and less urgent, less important;
- Stop on time – close the laptop, go for a walk out of the house to mimic the journey from home that you used to do and make a proper break with your working day.
Thanks to my reliable Brother printer/copier/scanner, I have eliminated practically all paper-based client data. Scanning makes it much faster to locate client and research documentation and speeds overall response efficiency when juggling technical questions.
Data is now securely stored in encrypted hard drives and on two separate secure cloud storage portals. All laptops are also encrypted.
The main types of technology that help make my work-life a lot easier include:
- Business IT Solutions (BITS) which are headquartered in Kilkenny, but with offices in Dublin and Carlow. They have many accountancy firms as clients and have provided me with a very reliable technology back-up service. It includes reliable remote online support. I have been using BITS since August 2017 and would highly recommend them.
- Sharefile is a very reliable file sharing site. I initially chose it to cope with the GDPR in early 2018, but now it’s coming into its own, for sharing reports and documents with clients on a secure cloud storage location based in Dublin. I also use it for sharing training materials with course delegates which they may save to their laptops.
- More online meetings are happening now and Zoom seems to be the most popular product. I have used it successfully and its share price is certainly sky rocketing.
We will be publishing more COVID-19 assistance tips for our readers next week. Watch our regular Practice Makes Perfect blog on Tuesday March 31st.