Making the Transition to Working From Home
With COVID-19 forcing many companies to quickly adapt to a remote work environment, we wanted to share a few tips and tricks to help navigate this transition. At Lance CPA Group, we have been working fully virtual and remote since we started five years ago. Here are a few tips and tricks to work from home successfully:
Separate The Work From The Home
For those newly transitioned to working from home, it’s important to have a clear separation of when you are working from the rest of what is going on at home. I would recommend that you keep your morning routines (except that commute to the office) the same. Go through the process of getting ready for your day just like any other day. Take a shower, get dressed, make your coffee or tea. This helps you mentally get into the mode of going to work.
In addition, have a dedicated space within your house that you are working from. Whether that is in an office or den you currently have or just working from the kitchen table, have a spot dedicated for work. When work is done for the day, close up your laptop, put your work stuff away and transition back into being at home. The transition time that you are used to having while driving home from work can be replicated in a similar fashion at home. Whether you go for a walk, listen to music, or just clear your mind and relax for a bit, take some time to transition away from work.
The New Watercooler
Working from home presents a unique challenge because the conversations you have around the office don’t happen in the same way when you are working from home. So you need to be proactive in how you communicate with each other. Here are three tips for doing this well.
- Have a place for office chatting. We use (and highly recommend) Basecamp to converse with each other. There are “campfires” where we communicate with each other relating to client work, as well as watercooler talk. This allows us to talk to each other in an asynchronous way that is organized. You could also use Slack and its different channels to achieve the same result.
- All meetings, both internally and externally, are done via video conferencing. We utilize Google Meet for this. When we have these meetings everyone has their webcams on which allows us to see each other and pick up on visual cues that you don’t get through text exchanges. Also, it’s okay if your kids or pets make a cameo appearance in your videoconference. We all get the situation and sometimes that brings more levity to what is being discussed.
- Plan fun interactions like online happy hours or coffee chats. Block out some time on the calendar to do an online happy hour or coffee chat where you can shoot the breeze with one another virtually. We also do this over Google Meet and it’s a fun way to have office camaraderie in a virtual setting.
Your employees are actually working
When I have had discussions, particularly with other accounting firm owners, on the topic of having your team work remotely, the push back I most often get is how do we know if our team is actually working and not just spending the day watching Netflix. For many managers, seeing employees at their desks at the office is some sort of salve that work is actually happening. The reality is that if you can’t trust your people to work when you aren’t watching over them, then why did you hire them in the first place? The other reality is that your staff will rise to the occasion. You will see the output they are producing and be able to work with those that are struggling with working in a remote environment.
These are just a few tips and tricks for making the transition to working from home. If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to reach out as we would be happy to help you!