A lot of businesses today are moving from a Brick & Mortar headquarters to a completely virtual office with remote employees.
Tosha Anderson, one of our expert instructors, works 100% from home and wouldn’t have it any other way. She finds that she works a lot better from home and can be very productive when not having to worry about an office.
However, Tosha had an interesting situation where she actually grew her business at an EXTREMELY fast pace. Thus, she had to hire a lot of people very quickly.
And once you start hiring on a team, you have a much larger workload because of all of the onboarding, training, and retention efforts. Tosha at one point had to hire 3 accountants at one time and she found it very hard to train all of these accountants virtually.
So recently she moved to a hybrid model where some people work from home on various days and some prefer to work in the office full time.
And even though Tosha personally prefers to work virtually, she still struggles with the idea that a virtual office is better than a physical one.
In 2018, CNBC reported, “70% of people globally work remotely at least once a week.”
And we can’t ignore the fact that remote work is where the world is headed. It’s no longer considered mandatory for many companies to have an employee in the office from 9 am – 5 pm every single day.
But the question is, will this remote working model be good for client & staff retention?
It’s much easier to keep a current employee happy than to try to replace disgruntled employees.
But Tosha does still feel that having been in the industry for 15 years and being a seasoned CPA, her staff could learn a lot from her if they were all working together in an office. Even though her personal preference is to work from home, as her business continues to grow, she really feels like an office space environment is going to be the best fit for her company overall.
Tosha believes that there can be a lot lost by being virtual. Especially if you’re hiring people that are less experienced. Some people choose to hire contractors at a slightly higher rate because they tend to have more experience and they don’t need so much training or coaching.
So here’s what you have to look at…
Do you want to pay more for people that presumably are more experienced and independent, or do you want to pay less and know that you have a level of supervision that needs to be maintained on a daily basis?
With all of that being said, Tosha has a few guidelines that she believes virtual staff should abide by when working remotely:
1. Be very specific about the start and stop times so that there are clear expectations in place for daily tasks.
2. Reiterate that working from home does not mean electing whether or not you’d want to work at all. The absence of a physical space means that there is a greater need for communication and transparency in what staff members are doing. No babies crying, dogs barking, or other background noise that prevents you from taking a client call.
3. Have a workflow manager of some sort.
4. Have staff members log their hours per task.
5. Review files even haphazardly on a daily basis.
6. Review the audit log to make sure employees are logging in.
7. Call staff members randomly on Slack (or whatever internal communication software you use i.e. Skype) to make sure they are online and working. It’s important to create the element of accountability even if it seems like you’re micromanaging.
8. Staff needs to be camera-ready and their background needs to be professional. Don’t show up on our zoom call with wet shower hair, a soaking wet t-shirt, or your laundry piled up in the background. If a client needs to get on the phone with you and you look like that, what does that look like for the business?
What are your thoughts? Does having a physical office make it easier to manage a team? Or does allowing your staff to have the flexibility to work remote give them a greater sense of accountability and the ability to be more productive and get more work done?
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