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How accounting practices can help their employees work from home

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To maintain business continuity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many Australian businesses have quickly adapted by allowing their staff to work from home where possible.

In this article, we look at five steps you can take to ensure your practice and employees make a smooth transition to working from home.

  1. Put a work from home strategy in place

By putting a work from home strategy in place, you’ll be able to ensure your employees can keep working as required.

This can involve making sure your staff have the equipment to work remotely, such as the right hardware and software; offering clarity on working hours and job responsibilities, and providing regular communication between managers and teams.

Part of your company’s work from home strategy could be to adopt cloud practice management software.

If you have your data stored in the cloud rather than on individual devices, this means information can be accessed as long as your employees have an internet connection.

By adopting cloud practice management software, your teams will be able to work at anytime, from anywhere.

How can Sage help your practice staff work from home?

Learn how Sage HandiSoft Online cloud practice management software can give you and your team the flexibility to easily and securely access practice data from anywhere, at any time.

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  1. Ensure you give your employees the right tools

If your employees are to keep working, they’ll need the right technology. Access to laptops and tablets, as well as work phones if they have and use them, will help to keep them functioning.

Or if there isn’t availability to use work equipment, it’s worth looking into programs they can access on their own home equipment.

Using cloud solutions, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, can allow them access documents they require. And, of course, an adequate internet connection will be needed.

It’s critical to have the right security measures in place to ensure your new way of working doesn’t open the door to cybercriminals. Make sure your employees’ remote connections are fully secure and encrypted, to safeguard your practice from cybercriminals, viruses and ransomware.

  1. Use virtual meetings

It’s important to stay in regular contact with your employees who are working from home. You might not be able to have your regular team meetings in person, but you can do them online

By using tech solutions that encourage remote working, your employees will be able to have meetings virtually. Video conferencing tools are pretty commonplace now, with the likes of Zoom and Skype providing easy access for employees to have meetings with each other or with clients.

Instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger can also enable collaboration between colleagues working remotely.

  1. Consider your employees’ wellbeing

Working from home presents significant challenges, but one that should be highlighted is around working hours.

It’s all too easy for your employees to feel like they should keep working, even beyond their normal hours. Not having the workplace structure in place might lead to some employees working for longer than they need to.

Speak to your employees and empower them to work their contracted hours, offering for flexibility where needed.

Also, encourage your employees to take regular breaks away from their screens, even if it’s a short break so they can stretch and give their eyes a rest.

The federal government has provided a helpful checklist to help make working from home as healthy and comfortable as possible, which you can share with your employees.

Watch our virtual event: ‘Leading through the COVID-19 crisis’

On 26 May, we held our first Sage Advice Live virtual event. Watch our video to hear from our panel on how their businesses have navigated the challenges of COVID-19, what the future business landscape will look like, and tips on how you can survive and thrive.

You'll hear from:

  • Cindy Nicholson, CEO, Braintree
  • Mark Chapman, Tax Communications Director, H&R Block
  • Danielle Wood, Program Director, Grattan Institute
  • Kerry Agiasotis, MD & EVP APAC, Sage
  • Mark Jones, Chief Storyteller & CEO, Filtered Media (Host)
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