Working from home has suddenly become the new normal for all of us in Ontario. While for some industries remote work was already common practice, for most accounting and finance professionals this might take some getting used to. Staying motivated, disciplined, and engaged could be a challenge at first but with the right tactics you can make it work and keep your department running smoothly.
1. Act like you’re going to the office
Get up at the same time you usually do for work, even put on your office clothes, and go about your usual routine. Use your commute time to complete some household tasks instead and then “head to work”. The key to staying motivated is to imitate your office life as much as you can.
2. Pick a dedicated workspace
Rather than moving about the house carrying your laptop from room to room, pick a dedicated workspace and stick to it. Let everybody in the house know that there are boundaries and it’s a limited distraction space for you.
3. Define clear work hours and stick to it
Just like you would head in and out of the office at defined times, practice the same discipline at home. Try to start and complete your workday at the same time as you would if you were to go to the office. It is normal to feel guilty for halting work when you’ve been home all day but if you don’t you will burn out.
4. Take breaks
Just as you would at the office, take a coffee break, walk around and take a moment to clear your head. Use online platforms and create different chatrooms with your colleagues for different purposes. You can create a room for small talk between your colleagues and another for project collaborations. slack.com is a great tool for anyone in any field or industry to use. It promotes collaborations and teamwork.
5. Leverage technology
Working from home has never been easier with all the available technologies. There are multiple platforms that support working offsite. These are just a few great suggestions for finance and accounting professionals that you can tap into:
FreshBooks – FreshBooks is a complete suite so you can perform all financial operations from a single dashboard.
QuickBooks Enterprise – This is a fantastic tool that can be used in almost all industries in need of accounting and financial operations and can manage numerous users from everywhere all at once.
Sage 50cloud – This tool is a combination of your desktop accounting tools and cloud computing which allows you to take advantage of its 50 features to keep track and manage your financial operations.
Xero – Xero is a very easy to learn and use, cloud-based accounting software preferred by many small businesses. It doesn’t require a lot of training so if you have all the data available, you’re ready to switch and go.
Zoom – Zoom is a great video conferencing platform that is free to use. You can schedule meetings and join by clicking the meeting links in which all participants can share their video and computer screens. The host can even record the meeting in case you need to go back to it.
6. Stay in contact with your team
Stay in touch with everyone you work with. Regular outreach will help others stay motivated and allow the workflow and exchange of ideas to continue. Set tasks and deadlines so that everyone remains accountable. Get creative by scheduling a virtual lunch date with your coworkers.
As you find yourself with more free time at home during COVID-19 imposed isolation, take this opportunity to reflect and advance your career.