With Covid creating the need for more working from home, finance staff in Cambridgeshire are having to adapt to the new normal. I was speaking to a client this week who told me she "hates" working from home. As someone who has been primarily working from home now for a few years, I was genuinely surprised as I love it. So I thought it would be helpful to all of you finance and accountancy professionals who have been catapulted from an office existence to the isolation of home to write a few tips on how to cope.
The benefits of working from home
Pre-Covid the “working from home” statistics were very positive, and no doubt reflected the Cambridgeshire region accurately.
- 40% of people feel the greatest benefit is the flexible schedule
- Companies allowing remote work have 25% lower employee turnover
- People who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more happy / productive
- 74% are less distracted and 86% are less stressed
- 21% would give up holiday allowance to have flexi-working (69% of millennials would give up other benefits)
Plus, working from home saves at least 11 days per year travelling – so a lot less time (and miles) on the A10 and M11.
My 8 Tips for Finance Professionals and Working from Home:
1) Have a structure to your day. This is extremely important as otherwise you will go in one of two directions. You will either do nothing at all or you will spend hours in front of the computer without giving yourself a break.
2) Working from home can be very intense. You can almost by accident, find yourself not moving from your computer screen from early in the morning to late in the evening. Your Things to Do List should incorporate breaks which you can tick off as well as work
3) You should schedule "Catch Up with Colleagues" calls into your weekly diary. These can be about work or just social. Either way, they help you stay connected and stop the feelings of isolation. I usually have early morning calls with staff and then one later in the afternoon. It helps us to review work, keep on track and exchange ideas. Zoom and Teams is really helpful for this and helps you stay connected.
4) As I said before, working from home can be intense and when I started doing it, I often found I had finished all my work early. If this happens, don't worry that you've missed something. It's just that without many interruptions, you get a lot more done in a lot less time. You can use that extra time to do something for yourself, whether that's learning a new skill or housework. I personally love that aspect of homeworking.
5) Try and go for a walk outside at some point during the day. It gives you fresh air and makes you feel as if you are still connected to the real world (as much as this is possible at the moment!)
6) If when things get back to normal, you are still working from home, take yourself off to a local cafe or restaurant once or twice a week for lunch and enjoy a restful hour or so away from your desk.
7) If you have children, find out from your boss when you have deadlines for work and find out if they are happy for you to work outside the 9 to 5. One of my employees has a two-year-old and she frequently (pre this situation) takes her child to child groups in the morning but then does work for me in the early evening when her child is in bed. It suits her and it suits me. Flexing your work can be a major plus point when you work from home.
8) Another plus point: You don't have to commute, and you can stay in bed a bit longer as a result!
So, in short, you can be more productive at times that suit you in less time than normal. Perhaps you’ll reduce debtor days, or have more time to plan your strategy, create reports etc… Plus more time with the family or for yourself.
Have a good week and remember working from home can be really rewarding.