One of the most ubiquitous buzz phrases I’ve heard as a recruiter over the last few years has been “Work from Home”. People were (and no doubt still are) enthralled with the idea of being able to work from the comfort of their own homes, staying in their PJs and avoiding the morning commute. Well, this ‘wish’ was swiftly granted in March when the government encouraged all non-essential workers to work from home where possible.
The initial overall reaction was one of excitement and curiosity for many, I even witnessed members of our office engaging in little fist pumps as they realised this meant that they could sit in their activewear/PJs, cut out the packed commute to Wynyard Station in the mornings, and be the masters of their own days and productivity.
Well, almost 6 weeks’ on from the national switch to remote working, it’s interesting to see how some people are thriving and others are absolutely craving those lost interactions that office hustle and bustle produces naturally.
Myself? Well, I identify with the latter. It has quickly become apparent to me how productivity levels ebb and flow, and particularly as a recruiter, how much I am motivated and driven by hearing my colleagues, their energy and interacting with them face to face.
You may or may not be in the same boat, you may be an Accounting Manager wondering how to keep your team engaged and productive, the advice I have for you is (I hope) universally applicable. I have compiled a selection of tips from my own experiences and those of my client network for keeping you and your team engaged, productive and motivated.
Having a Designated “Workspace”
As tempting as it may be to lounge in front of the TV, or crawl back into bed with your laptop, we all know this is never going to encourage total productivity. Having a desk-space set up not only helps you separate “Work” and “Home”, but it is the key to being able to switch on and off.
Keep as Close to Your Routine as Possible
Commute - My 45-minute commute allowed me to stretch my legs, grab a flat white & vegemite toast, listen to my morning playlist and wake up before getting to the office to interact. Perhaps now, like me, your commute is just a few steps from your bedroom to your kitchen/dining room, leaving little time to wake up for your 8.30 am Zoom meeting. The average Sydney-sider would spend 71-minutes commuting per day pre-pandemic, I’ve found great success in using these spare minutes to walk to my local coffee shop to try and emulate my old routine, throwing in a little workout here and there to help boost my energy and productivity levels.
Work-day – Keeping to your regular workday routine helps you reclaim some normality, you can achieve this segmenting your day up as you would usually and sticking to it. For me, I’ve always found meetings in the morning and then phone calls in the afternoon gets the best out of me, and I am maintaining that at home. This also allows you to stay on track and be punctual for all online meetings – as there is nothing more distracting than you or a colleague popping up midway through a discussion!
Professional - Having time in the day where the team comes together is essential for “WFH” success. It was so easy to share successes, ask for opinions or keep track of projects when we were all within 1.5m of each other in the office – but now we have to make a concerted effort to make this a repeatable habit. Whether it is a morning “kick-off” meeting or an end-of-day Zoom wrap-up, make sure you are all on the same page every day with expectations and achievements that the whole team are aware of! Make sure your message resonates by summarising the meeting or introducing a visual accompaniment so that the team are all on the same page when leaving the meeting.
Personal – It is even worth making a habit of catching up with your teammates on a more personal note – a quick text, a phone call at the end of the day/at lunchtime, or everyone’s favourite “Zoom drinks on a Friday”, to check in on others. It’s important to remember that when you’re having a good day, they maybe aren’t, and they haven’t got their “work best mate” to cheer them up throughout the day.
“Do Not Disturb” Hours
It’s no secret that we have all succumbed to procrastination at some point working from home, one hugely beneficial thing to do to work with the peaks and troughs of your motivation/focus is to set aside “Do not disturb times”. Blocking time out in your calendar where you are focusing on one thing uninterrupted for an hour allows you to get a task done, and then reward yourself for 5 mins after with that oh-so-anticipated 3rd trip to the snack cupboard. If you have a few members in the accounting team, who do the same tasks or have overlapping duties, get them to do it together to encourage team synergy.
This might be a hard pill to swallow for some out there, but sometimes we are more productive after a spell of doing something “non-work related”. It sounds a little bit counterintuitive I know, but encouraging regular breaks is key to increasing motivation and productivity. Whether that’s taking a break to do an online yoga class, taking your dog for a walk, or cooking up a gourmet lunch for yourself – keeping yourself/your team physically & mentally healthy, and encouraging work-life balance is essential for maintaining and even enhancing performance.
Making it Work for You
With all that being said, you need to find methods that work for you – different teams and individuals operate in radically different ways, so it is more important than ever to figure out what works best for each individual to achieve collective success.
I’d be interested in hearing what weird and wonderful routines, habits and processes other people have in place to ensure they are remaining productive and their teams’ cohesive, as these are just a handful of ways I have learned to cope during the lockdown.
You never know, some of these “new” approaches may be so normalised to us, that we never want to return to the office – but in my case, I am counting down the days until I can get out of my activewear, stand on my packed train to Wynyard and walk into the office, coffee-in-hand and cheerily wish my colleagues a ‘Good Morning!’ to their faces.
The new normal has certainly altered the way we do business, but it’s not affecting the core of what we do, connecting businesses with high-quality Accounting talent. To learn more about our search and selection services or any of the specialisms we recruit into, contact our team today.