Working from Home and Embracing What’s to Come

Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to a lot of CIOs and other firm leaders about how they’re managing current events, including having all of their team members working from home. Marc Staut and I shared takeaways from some of those discussions in this video. Here, I want to take a deeper dive into one topic that came up in nearly every conversation. We’re not going back to the way things were. And that’s okay.

Arguments against remote work are disappearing

No matter how far technology has become or how many studies have shown work from home policies improve productivity and retention and reduce costs, some firm leaders have held out.

Now, with the majority of their staff successfully working from home, they’re forced to agree that working remotely can work. People can be productive. And clients can enjoy the same quality of service, even if the delivery is a little different.

Cloud-based technology investments are paying off

Firms that have implemented cloud-based or hosted infrastructure technologies have seen the tools they invested in making the transition from on-premises to work-from-home easier. This is especially true for those that already had unified communication platforms (chat, video conferencing, and email in a one-stop-shop.)

In many cases, they implemented these tools in the last several years, but many firms haven’t had wide-scale adoption. Now, they’re really seeing the benefits of those investments. These technologies allow them to stay connected and support collaboration while working remotely.

You can create connections anywhere

Faced without any alternatives, accounting, advisory and consulting professionals are making more of an effort to collaborate with coworkers and clients remotely. Phone calls, emails and in-person meetings used to be comfortable ways to communicate. In-person connections aren’t possible, but we still recognize the importance of building and maintaining relationships. Even people who hate seeing themselves on video have to bite the bullet of they want to be there in a meaningful way for clients.

In many firms, this will be a significant shift. It requires them to change their plans for hardware, software tools, and support strategies. However, the extra work is worth it if it helps brings your team and clients together to create a more personal connection.

Firms may need much less real estate in the future

Your firm’s technology costs will rise as you invest to support this new more remote working environment. However, there’s one area where firms can reduce overhead: office space.

If firms determine that having a majority of team members working from home is more or less business as usual, they may rethink the amount of office space they need. They could even question whether they need a physical presence at all.

Managing Partners whose office lease is up in the next couple of years might want to consider whether they need as much office space. Now is a good time to start thinking about an office hoteling strategy to make the most of the area they’ll have while also considering the sanitation and social distancing guidelines that will likely be in place for the foreseeable future.

Firm leaders I speak to agree that we’re not going back to the way things were. So rather than thinking about how to get through the current situation, think about how you’ll embrace what’s to come. Very shortly, things like work-from-anywhere, cloud-based technology, and virtual connections won’t be a competitive advantage – they’ll be table stakes. Are you ready to buy in?

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Reprinted with permission from Boomer Consulting, Inc.

AUTHOR

Amanda Wilkie

All stories by: Amanda Wilkie