This is not another article about how to keep your office safe from COVID-19. You are being bombarded with content about washing your hands and sterilizing surfaces; you get it. This is also not an article about how to work from home. There are many articles out there that tell you the major points of set a schedule, don’t wear pjs, etc. This is also not an article about how we are protecting our clients and employees, you can find that article here.
This article is about the challenges we have faced at LGT with remote working and how we have dealt with them.
Families in isolation
Most of our workforce have children who are also being kept home as we try to “flatten the curve” and keep our country safe. This means that parents who have no experience with homeschooling are now transitioning to hybrid online teaching program. This presents different challenges at different age groups. While middle and high school aged students may be more independent and able to log on, do their classes, and go back to bed, kindergarten and elementary students will usually need some adult assistance and supervision to stay attentive in this new environment. Employees in this situation might need to adjust their work hours to accommodate this unexpected responsibility. We have answered this by setting standards of communication with our teams. We ask that employees let us know when they will be available online. We have also modified our expectations of a traditional 9-5 workday. While we ask that our employees be available for client or team phone calls and communications we understand that work that does not require direct communication can happen outside of our usual schedule.
Check on your extroverts
Working from home and not being allowed to go outside is a dream for some of our introverted accountants. They are finally able to get the work done in a way they like. Our extroverted accountants on the other hand are being tortured by the silence. Just like we provide quiet, partially-secluded work spaces in the office for our introverts to help improve their productivity, we needed to figure out how to make sure our more outgoing individuals were getting the human interaction they need. When you remove extroverts from a community environment and make them work at home in contact with 2-5 people at most, their work suffers. Again communication is an essential part of this. We encourage employees to take video ‘coffee breaks’ with work friends. Managers should also identify who is more ‘at risk’ for isolation sadness. Check in with these individuals personally either by SMS (direct messaging) or a quick phone call once a week.
We are used to shooting off one or two line emails in response to a conversation or phone call. When the majority of communication moves to digital it can be easy for praise and support to slip through the cracks. It take retraining employees to think differently about emails. We encourage additional proofings before you send it. Instead of checking for accuracy and spelling we now ask that employees check for tone. Asking questions like: Can this email be misinterpreted? Do I sound professional and respectful? Have I told this employee that I see that they are working hard and doing a good job lately?
Every company will have different challenges, and we would love to know what yours have been. We might even have some suggestions on how to deal with the situation.
Leave a comment down below with your work from home challenges and check out our website for all your accounting needs!