In this guest article, Managing Director of T-Tech Daniel Teacher shares their 3 elements to a successful remote working structure.

A new world

Our worlds have been drastically turned upside down, as most the country adjusts to working from home, some having never done so previously. For many accountancy practices, a truly flexible working solution across the whole firm was something they have wanted to do, but just weren’t quite ready for. Unfortunately, we have all been thrust into this position and have had to quickly change our work set-up to be remote. If we knew that this was going to happen in advance, there would have been a lot more preparation!

So now that this is our new reality, what’s the best way to deal with it? A lot of practices rely on office resources, paper, and being close to colleagues to communicate easily, however you have hopefully experienced by now that actually you don’t necessarily need these on a daily basis. As we were forced to embark on this way of working, and the initial challenges may have struck a fearful cord; slow Wi-fi, endless conference calls, learning new ways to connect to your network, and adjusting to being away from your desk and phone. But as we’ve slowly built a routine based on the technology and resources available at home, you’ll notice your working days are becoming more productive and dynamic. 

Panic over

The multitude of technology and resources available to us is incredible, and the experience of working from home is giving us this exposure. We are learning that special tools are empowering teams to work efficiently and effectively and that practices could have likely been doing this for a lot longer. When life normalises and we can work from the office again, it could be that the accountancy world will be more inclined to encourage flexible working. 

At T-Tech, although we have always had the capabilities for remote working, we have never felt more empowered by it than we do now. It has become a seamless and effortless experience for us as technology and also our mindsets have evolved, and we want to share this experience. 

To understand the T-Tech way, there are 3 elements to our remote working structure:

  • Creating a comfortable physical and virtual workspace
  • Connect, communicate, collaborate 
  • Managing your general well-being

1. Set up your workspace

Spend some time on mastering your physical and virtual workspace. This is vital to successfully working from home. There are a number of easy things you can do to maximise your comfort and productivity.

  • Find a safe and secure space: sourcing a safe space to work with comfortable furniture and good lighting will help you to work effectively for longer periods of time. Your sofa may seem appealing, but your back will not be your friend!
  • A ‘workbase’: having a desk or table that is separate from where you relax will help you get into the headspace to work, without distractions. Being able to leave your laptop and equipment in one place undisturbed will encourage you to be able to see this space as you would an office.
  • Using your best internet connection: a wired network connection is more reliable than a wireless connection, however, if this is your only option make sure you consider your distance from the router as well as objects that can affect your internet quality.
  • Be secure: follow the advice of your business leaders or IT provider on staying secure. Accessing internal resources to deal with confidential data might require 2FA or other security measures. Be aware of them and respect them.
  • Using any device: downloading the business apps you need to your phone is a handy alternative in case your internet connection is temporarily slow

2. Stay connected to your colleagues

There are many ways to help you remain connected with your team members and customers. 

  • We use Teams to stay connected to our peers: a very powerful chat-based tools that allow for telephony, voice and video conferencing, document sharing, and collaboration. This is a central tool that has given us amazing accessibility to all parts of the business. 
  • Make the most of video: using video makes for more inclusive meetings will allow you to be present and engaged as you can show facial expressions. This will increase your understanding and connection of what is being discussed 
  • Communicate often: this is really important; keep updating your colleagues on progress as you would in the office, and this will normalise how you communicate
  • Seamless collaboration will come as a result of all the above: regardless of location, collaborating with your peers will become more effective. The plethora of tools available to us – whether it’s a quick ‘virtual huddle’ on a video call, or a community channel for internal discussions – will enable us to work in advanced ways. 

3. Manage your time and wellbeing

Setting healthy boundaries, managing interruptions, and being clear about when you are available is a huge part of managing your time when working at home.

  • Share your schedule: whether that’s with your colleagues or the other people you live with, you need to set expectations for availability. It’s easy to do this with scheduling tools in Teams.
  • Take care of yourself: don’t forget to take breaks. It’s easy to get too comfortable, and then before you know it you haven’t moved for 2 hours! You can use your calendar to remind you to take breaks for fresh air, snacks, exercise… 
  • Be mindful: make sure to check in with yourself. Direct your energies outside of work with things that make you happy, and don’t forget to check in with other people in your life. 

All of these things contribute to a good work vs home life balance. 

Business as usual!

As we continue on this unpredictable journey together, try to remain positive and optimistic. We are all going to be learning a lot about the evolution of our work habits over the next few weeks, so it’s important to remain open-minded. Once you have grasped what works for you, your work life will become routine and ordinary, making it feel like business as usual. 

Daniel is the Managing Director at T-Tech and over sees sales within the business. Daniel is hands on with T-Tech’s clients and previously acted as IT director, namely for top 100 UK accountancy firm Berg Kaprow Lewis. Prior to T-Tech, Daniel worked at Deloitte as a management consultant for 4 years, on global transformational projects for some of the world’s largest banks. Whilst facilitating improvements and modernisation to technology systems, Daniel also challenges clients to ensure that their operational IT is successful. He understands the unique requirements the accountancy market needs, and strives to apply his deep knowledge in order to drive positive change.