You may be working remotely but accountants still need to feel connected.
Boris might have given us all a glimmer of hope in last week’s roadmap announcement, but the path out of lockdown is still long and for many accountants, almost one year in, the novelty of remote working may well be wearing off or indeed may have left the home office some time ago!
It’s so important that the people that make firms tick remain connected, even from a distance and it’s with this in mind that we’ve prepared five ideas for how you can stay connected with your colleagues as we continue to work safely from home in 2021.
Nothing helps bring a team together more than a collective feeling of accomplishment. Pre COVID, your employer might have provided team building days or the opportunity to get out of the office together and achieve something in aid of a charity or local community service – most employees would get a great sense of togetherness after something like this, we’re sure.
So during lockdown adapt the concept and be the one to suggest an alternative team mission to your colleagues.
Maybe those of you with dogs could complete the March Dog Walking challenge in aid of Dementia UK?
Or you could consider a team virtual running club? Suitable for beginners and those who already have a marathon or two under their belts, the more experienced members of the team can buddy up and mentor those who are just starting out and together complete the Couch to 5 k or maybe aim high and look towards the Virtual London Marathon?
Even something as simple as setting a collective goal for your team that you will together clock up 100 miles of walking in the spring. Doing these things together will help you bond and feel that work is a less remote place to be.
2. Consider your commute!
Chances are that most of us are saving time and money by not travelling to our place of work each day. If you have a team of colleagues that you enjoy spending time with, why not re-invest that time once or twice a week into doing something together. Maybe buddy up with one of your favourite workmates and enjoy a stroll around your local parks with a coffee while you chat on the phone?
Or maybe rebrand Thursday as the new Friday and enjoy a cup of tea or a beer or cheeky G&T over a FaceTime, Zoom or Google hangout with your colleagues during your commute time.
3. Break from online meetings together, somewhere else!
Have a big online work meeting ahead? Start to look at these meetings in the same way you would have done a physical conference or get together. Set an agenda and in the breaks between topics move your laptop into the kitchen while you make a coffee and try and engage in some of the water cooler style chat we all miss so much instead of dialling off and on again.
4. Organise some family fun
Be open with your colleagues about life at home and encourage them to do the same. Maybe you could do family bingo one lunch break to help everyone break up the home schooling tedium? Have a pet? Introduce your colleagues to them over coffee!
5. Ask your employer to facilitate a way of sharing personal news and milestones.
If they don’t already do it, ask your employer to create some kind of newsletter or weekly ten minute meeting where team members are celebrated. Has someone had a milestone birthday? That’s a reason for cake! One of the team doing a charity event and in need of some encouragement or sponsorship? Share their challenge!
We all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the next few months are positive ones but it’s also fair to expect your employer to be working hard to ensure the team’s wellbeing is protected. If you’ve made suggestions that have fallen on deaf ears or if you feel like your accountancy practice has just become more disjointed and isolated than you can bear, there are many out there who have adapted to create amazing new virtual workplaces.
‘Lockdown is hard for all of us but when you start to feel really isolated at work it can affect your mental health and professional confidence. We’ve supported lots of clients who have done such a wonderful job of evolving to meet the changing needs of their workforce. If you’re despairing at your firm’s inability to adapt, give us a call, we’d be delighted to support you in finding a role with a practice who have a pandemic proof employee value proposition.’
Garry Howling, MD, Public Practice Recruitment Ltd
Exciting accounting firm jobs just released include Senior Accountant in Chelmsford and Corporate Finance Partner Designate in Birmingham, but we also work on a retained basis with firms who always want to know about great UK accountants so upload your CV today and we’ll find you a great team to be part of.