The virus has forced those who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home to set up remote offices at kitchen tables and spare desks (Getty Images/Morsa Images)
By Ali Amad
Working from home was increasingly becoming a reality for office workers before the coronavirus hit.
Now, for many of us, it’s a necessity. The virus has forced those who are fortunate enough to be able to work from home to set up remote offices at kitchen tables and spare desks; to teach home-school lessons in between Zoom meetings; and to create boundaries between work-time and me-time. Below, seven CPAs describe how they’ve handled the transition.
President and CEO, Swain CPA
Beyond accounting services, we provide coaching for small-business owners. Coaching is better in the physical world: I provide a comfortable setting for my clients, because these can be sensitive discussions about their livelihoods. It’s been challenging recreating that atmosphere with video conferencing.
Surprisingly, we just had one of our best months for productivity. Meetings are tougher to set up, which means they’re more direct and agenda-driven.
Audit partner, PSB Boisjoli
I’ve had to work out a few kinks since I shifted to working from home. I developed neck pain because I had my computers set up too low at first. Identifying consistent work hours has also been a challenge. I’ve found that I’m most productive early in the morning or late at night when I’m not bogged down by calls and emails.
One thing I haven’t minded is the change in my attire. I prefer being as comfortable as possible, so I’m often in pyjamas or sweatpants.
Advisory partner, BDO Canada
It’s been a challenge creating a consistent routine for me and my seven-year-old daughter, Victoria. I try to give her a schedule and some ground rules. It’s just the two of us, so my focus is on getting my work done while making sure I have enough time to help her finish her school assignments.
I definitely don’t miss the work commute. It takes more than two hours to drop off and pick up my daughter from school and take the train to and from work, and it’s been nice having that extra time in my schedule.
Assurance digital and innovation leader, EY Canada
At EY, we have a number of tools to make remote working successful, from Microsoft Teams to collaborate with colleagues, clients and third parties, to Webex to transition in-person events to webcasts. But my favourite tool at home is my espresso machine.
I can’t help but miss seeing my colleagues around the office—I liked meeting in different collaboration rooms and hubs. At home, I’ve adopted the same approach by working at a table, listening to webcasts on my couch or taking a walk during a call.
President and CEO, CPA Canada
We had a liberal remote work policy in place before COVID-19, so the transition has been quite seamless. I think many of the meetings have been more efficient than face-to-face ones.
That said, I miss connecting in person with colleagues and brainstorming complex problems, which works better for me when we are all physically together and I can read the room. And it’s hard to look out on a sunny day and not want to be outside playing with the dog.
CEO and senior partner, KPMG Canada
We were fortunate to be ahead of the remote-work curve, which has made the transition to working from home fairly smooth for me and all of the KPMG team.
I’ve started using video on my team calls and I make sure to focus on the personal—as well as the business—side on all calls. The biggest adjustment is that most of my interactions with people are now scheduled. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed chance meetings on the street or at events with friends and colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while. I even miss seeing my competitors.
Manager of finance, Toronto Zoo
I’ve been maintaining a clear line between my work and personal life. When my workday is over, I put my computer to sleep so it isn’t pinging with notifications and distracting me. Switching to a new activity helps me reset, so I often exercise or meditate once I’m done with my work.
Besides the social connection, what I miss most is visiting the animals at work. I’d sometimes walk around the zoo on my lunch hour and visit the red pandas and the otters—they’re always entertaining.
Find out how to stay productive, even if you have the kids in tow. Keep your boundaries, carve out a schedule and learn how to lead a remote team. Plus, follow the right etiquette and best practices for using remote tools such as Zoom.
This article was first published by CPA Canada. You can read the original version here.