While there is much speculation about the state of the economy at the moment, there’s also a lot of optimistic talk about how the pandemic is going to have a long-term positive effect on the world. We’ve already seen the way the environment has benefited from us staying at home and it’s incredible to see the nation united and caring for one another. We certainly have an even higher regard for our NHS.
Individually, many of us have embraced lockdown and used it as a reset button on our lives. There are positive things we’ve learned which we will take forward and other bad habits we’ll leave in the past.
But what about the accountancy industry? Are there any professional or personal processes and systems you’ll make permanent, or ditch from your life completely?
Commuting – If homeworking is now a thing of the past for you, you might be happy to see your colleagues again but maybe not the morning traffic. Are you walking more, cycling or running to work? If ditching the car is something many of your colleagues feel strongly about, perhaps you could come up with a scheme with employers which makes commuting even easier without a car – bike racks or changing facilities for example?
Homeworking – At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd, we’re advocates of homeworking where possible. There are so many advantages – flexibility, efficiency, a reduction in overheads and of course less travel time. You might want to read this article on homeworking and how the accountancy sector in particular can leverage this to our advantage.
Co-working spaces – As much as we are supporters of homeworking, sometimes we all need a boost in productivity which only the buzz and creativity of others can create. But that doesn’t need to mean you have to work at ‘the office’. A good co-working space or café is the perfect balance between a cramped home environment and a busy workplace. These environments were thriving pre-lockdown and we predict they will become even more mainstream in 2021.
Virtual meetings – Who would have thought that we’d catching up with family on the weekly quiz rather than popping over at weekends? Even for the most reluctant of us, the office Zoom call has become second nature now. Just how many of us will be reaching for the Zoom button now rather than organising a face to face meet? Although nothing compares to the shake of a hand or a spontaneous phone call, we think online meetings and even digital interviews are here to stay.
Mental Health – Retuning to work will trigger a huge range of emotions for many of us – uncertainty, financial worry, stress and depression. And even for those desperate for the normality of going to work each day, we’ll want to hang on to at least some of the work life balance we’ve become accustomed to. More family time, more exercise, less stress, more flexibility. To head straight back into a 9-5 office environment without reflecting on the things which brought us more joy and less stress seems like such a wasted opportunity.
Business continuity – We think it’s fair to say that most accountancy firms have learnt their lesson the hard way when it comes to disaster planning. And even though the Covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented, we’ll be more aware of how hard our business can be knocked from forced, unscheduled ‘downtime’. A business continuity plan will be one of the first things business owners will want to put in place for the future.
Talent retention – The way your firm has handled the pandemic will have a massive effect on staff morale, loyalty and retention. Now is the time for employers to address all issues raised by their team with sensitivity, and to nurture the culture and sense of belonging at work. If you’re an employee who has been treated poorly during this time, it might be time for you to offer your skills to a new forward-thinking, empathic employer who values and cares for you.
“Whether we choose to continue our new way of living, or press on with the way things were – there is no denying that there will be in shift in our behaviour.
Our colleagues, clients and peers will be adopting new ways of working and communicating, and ‘life as usual’ may no longer exist. We think it’s important to respect these changes even if we don’t adopt them or even agree with them ourselves.
Most importantly, as we move back to a semblance of normality – we urge you to prioritise and reflect upon the importance of your mental health, wellbeing and happiness at work.”
Garry Howling, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd
Please connect with us on LinkedIn where we are offering advice and support to accountancy firms and employees post-lockdown.