After four to five weeks of remote working, we asked the TBLA team to share their experiences, observations and tips. We have recognised that their work has been pretty relentless and that we all needed time to pause and reflect. In recognition of the extra intensity of their weekly workload, we are giving the team an additional paid holiday on the 11th of May.
Our observations and tips:
Peter has learnt that he needs to be more succinct when meeting prospective clients on video chat as opposed to over a coffee at The Enterprise Centre! I have had to tell him to get to the point!! He is missing the little “anchors” in his life; the weekly trip to Treat for acupuncture or a coffee with Luke and Lamon at the start of the day.
I have learnt that I can tell Peter to “get to the point” when talking to new clients and that he doesn’t take offence! Pete keeps telling me how grateful he is to be quarantined with me – how nice! I’ve personally enjoyed using the extra time gained from not commuting into Norwich to go for long solitary walks early in the morning and foraging for wild food and herbs. I’ve found the weekly client support sessions from the Norwich Shiatsu Centre a real lifeline.
Leah says that when working from home, it’s vital to set up an office. The idea of working from the sofa/bed is great but, realistically, it’s much less productive. She appreciates the much shorter (and cheaper) commute but has found it more difficult to stop work. “When you travel to the office, you know there’s a journey home, so you have to leave. When working from home, you tend to work much longer hours and spend less time recharging.” She recommends taking more regular breaks and gaining extra time by having daily video chats with her family while cooking dinner. That way, she gets some quality time with her partner in the evening.
Lamon has been forced to be practical, juggling the demands of being a parent with working from home. He says “Where possible recreate your already effective work habits and the set up you had in the office. His included:
- Set start times and end time
- Frequent breaks
- Always having water next to me
- Same computer, keyboard, screen, etc
Tatiana is also having to balance being a parent, an ACCA student and a full-time employee. She says, “our profession is not a physically active profession in general, but working from home could also be dangerous to our health, so we need to make sure we take care of ourselves. She exercises in the mornings, going outside to jog or walk and is trying to eat less but better-quality food.
Rebecca shuts the door to her home office when not working to avoid working more often than usual or at weekends. “I also have my work email app in a hard to find place within my phone apps, so I don’t check this on an evening or at weekends.” She says she enjoys not having to commute to work, leaving extra time to cook and try out different recipes, and she has more time to spend with her husband. However, she does miss the social aspect of being in the office and part of a small team. Ironically she misses her commute time as it was a chance to gather her thoughts and shut off from work before she got home. She is doing some breathing exercises to combat this.
Luke’s top tip is “Keep the beer fridge stocked, you never know when you might need it!” Luke, does not mention that has he has been working flat out to keep abreast of the extra demands the pandemic has placed on him as practice manager. He is as self-effacing as ever!
TBLA was founded in 2009 as “a progressive accountancy practice, adopting a learning approach to help clients succeed in a rapidly evolving epoch in which doing the right thing comes before profit.” This well-established ethos has helped us to adapt and change our habits in these uncertain times.
We would like to thank all our clients for supporting us as we continue to be both proactive and reactive to these challenging times.
Peter Ellington is the Founder of Triple Bottom Line Accounting. He has a Doctorate in Education and campaigns for social and environmental justice.