So, how do you see your team operating in the future? Have you even had a chance to think about it yet with all that’s been going on?
Last year, with the kick-off of the pandemic, accounting firms urgently required T4A to help them ensure their business model included a sophisticated working from home remote set up for employees. This also required having the best cybersecurity measures in place to protect their own clients’ private information.
Now, a year on, we have been forced into a hybrid of both office and working from home set ups pending on state restrictions. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen next, however, we all agree that flexibility is key.
This is also in relation to how we approach job roles and the expectations business owners have around how each employee performs within an organisation.
It’s a revolutionary time for the workforce and there’s no looking backwards – only forwards – and it’s a great opportunity to improve how we do business!
Here’s a few options your accounting firm might want to think about….
A Fully Remote Workforce
No more office. Period! Staff might occasionally come together for meetups and retreats, but not at any permanent location. Everyone works remotely. This model has two variations, synchronous (meaning everyone works at the same time) and asynchronous (not working at the same time), depending on where people are allowed to live while they work and the necessity of real-time communication.
Have you considered that you could get the best talent from all over the world if your firm adopts the asynchronous model of working? Work could theoretically go on around the clock if employees live in multiple time zones around the world and could even expand your business’ services to new business opportunities abroad.
The two major advantages of this model are flexibility and around the clock cover. However, a firm’s policies and procedures will need extra work to operate effectively. Managers will also need to step up and create appropriate boundaries and guidelines to make this model successful long term.
However, sticking to core working hours (the synchronous option) is obviously more practical for timely communication, meeting scheduling, and client service if clients live in the same time zones. Real time interaction is a feature and if there’s geographical closeness ‘in person’ meetings and special team building events are still possible.
A Hybrid Workforce (Onsite & Offsite Workforce)
At T4A, we’ve organically incorporated a hybrid workforce model of operating; a combination of our staff work onsite and offsite dependent on the requirements of our business, what our clients need and the employees’ own lifestyle responsibilities.
As a responsible business owner, you must budget for home office equipment allowances and travel expenses for those staff who come into the office for occasional meetings.
- There is opportunity to recruit top level talent outside your area, which is especially helpful in competitive markets where specialised skills are in high demand.
- It’s a good intermediatory step before committing to a 100% remote workforce if that’s your end game.
- Making sure your Management is up to speed: If managers aren’t trained properly and prepared for managing a hybrid team, a cultural divide can quickly grow between employees working from home and those working in the office.
- Remote employees may feel isolated and it’s important they are always part of every conversation relating to their job description. It doesn’t take long to dial in a co-worker; it’s just getting into the practise of always being inclusive.
- Office-based employees (if it’s mandatory for them to attend the office) may question why they can’t work remotely as well? The culture of your company may need to pivot quite dramatically making remote working ‘the norm’ and office-based employees ‘the exception’.
There’s a bit to think about moving forward isn’t there? Don’t forget we are here to discuss your evolving IT support systems and how they influence any new business model you may be considering.
We know every firm is unique and understand that bespoke IT solutions are essential for supporting employee productivity in this ever-changing environment.
If you are ready to dedicate some time and thought to the advancement of remote working but are unsure which model best fits your firm, please contact us on 1300 765 014.
We can help walk you through different scenarios and develop a suitable IT plan for the transition.
Iain Enticott | Technology For Accountants | www.technologyforaccountants.com.au