We are currently in a situation unlike anything we have ever experienced before, first as individuals, second as employees, and third as a country. At our accounting firm, Wall, Einhorn & Chernitzer, P.C. we have always had the flexibility to work from home if needed, but we’ve never “had to” work from home due to an extenuating circumstance. Our firm is fortunate enough where our technology is up to date and allows us to interact and work together as a team as if we are in the office. But working from home can have its own set of challenges: schools being closed so children are home, spouses/partners/roommates are also working from home, stress over the uncertainty of the situation… it all means the amount of unusual distractions quickly escalates. The one thing that has been obvious throughout our first week of work from home life is how much we have taken for granted working in our office. We genuinely miss being together and seeing each other daily. Luckily, we are doing our best to make lemonade out of this situation. Below are some tips our company has put into place that can your team can benefit from during this time.
1. Over-communicating – Communicate regularly with your team on the daily. Keeping them informed will help everyone feel like they are in the “know.” As a full team, we have a weekly staff meeting, just as if we were in the office. Our managing shareholder runs the meeting which has maintained some normalcy. We are also regularly posting on our Microsoft Teams chat any updates that our team should be aware of. If you have different departments, make sure they are regularly communicating.
2. Continue to celebrate the good – When there is so much unknown currently in the world, keeping morale up is key! We have integrated our recognition program to work within Teams. We can highlight and share how a team member has gone above and beyond. This is our busiest time of the year, so making sure we are recognizing team members, now more than ever is important. We have a channel within Teams called “Fun with WEC” that we can post positive comments throughout the day or happenings in our world.
3. Embrace the distractions – Think about your average workday in the office, distractions happen all the time. Therefore, distractions at home may be different but are okay. It will take some adjustment time, but work towards getting into a routine and learning to cope with your new distractions. Take a minute to step outside for a little bit of fresh air will help to clear your head and can get you back in your work routine.
4. Engage with one another – Our team has started doing virtual coffee breaks where we don’t talk about work, and instead talk about whatever comes to mind (what we are binging, what we are cooking in the kitchen, etc.). It has helped us to see how much we appreciate the everyday interactions with one another. Keeping in regular conversation can be good for your mental health as you are navigating your new normal.
5. Be patient and kind – As stated earlier, this is new territory for all of us. We need to rely on each other. Offer compassion and kind words. There are challenges that come with working remote but if we remain patient with each other, our distractions, and any other challenges we are now facing, we will get through this.