By Logan Kalis, CPA
Here we are at the beginning of 2021, and we’ve been working remotely now for nearly 10 months. It’s hard to know if we’ll get back to the office anytime soon. Thankfully, we at JAK have adapted fairly well. We miss being able to have face-to-face interactions with our peers and clients, but we’ve been able to serve our clients throughout the pandemic—and for this we’re very grateful.
Regardless, working remotely can feel like a constant adjustment, especially since the COVID situation continues to evolve. Here are a few things we’ve learned about working remotely with our clients and team members that have kept us focused on the future.
Maintain “normalcy” as much as possible.
We’ve done our best to work as we normally would if we were in the office. This has meant avoiding interruptions in the workflow and embracing flexible schedules. We’ve adhered to our pre-pandemic operations wherever possible, and we’ve prioritized client work per usual. Our commitment to accuracy, completeness, relevance, and reliability remains as strong as it has ever been. The only change is that we’re working from home.
Obviously, having the right technology helps, but it’s also important to be intentional about your working-from-home expectations. Make sure everyone on your staff is aware of these and on board with any new protocols. Keep an open mind about change—maintaining “normalcy” may also mean adapting to new technology or ideas that allow you to execute your processes remotely.
Make an extra effort to communicate.
Gone are the days when we could pop into each other’s office to ask a question or take a client out to lunch for an extended conversation. Yes, communication has become much more difficult.
To remedy this within our firm, we’ve been holding regular team meetings via video conference. For some meetings, we ask everyone to turn on their video, as this helps to build camaraderie. (Plus, it’s great to see faces and it helps to create accountability for younger staff.) We’ve also asked staff to update their team leader at the end of each day and encouraged team leaders to be prepared to answer impromptu Skype calls from staff. We don’t want anyone to feel isolated in their work.
Maintaining regular communication with clients is equally important. We’ve asked some of our clients to install Skype or join Zoom calls, so we can “screen share” if needed and have a face-to-face interaction. Instead of asking clients to drop off documents at our office, we’ve made it easy for clients, no matter how tech savvy they are, to send documents electronically using our secure client portal. We’ve also used electronic signatures and relied on video conferencing for sensitive conversations.
Share your working-from-home knowledge.
This has been key for our team: If you find a way to do something more efficiently, be sure to share it with your team members. I mean, we could all use a break these days, right? With each passing month, we’re continuing to learn new things about working remotely—and we look forward to sharing this knowledge with you.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your internal or external working-from-home processes, we can help. Our team is available to answer your questions and advise on best practices for working remotely, including helping you find and implement the right technology. Contact us today to learn more.