April 20, 2020
“Busy Season,” a term describing the whirlwind of adventures within the accounting world. A time of late nights, messy offices, and lots of snacks! Normally we tend to see the light at the end of the tunnel come March 15th, as only one deadline remains. However, this year, our three-month tax season sprint has spun into a six-month tax season marathon.
Williams & Company’s Spencer office was presented the challenge, and opportunity, of moving its’ employees to remote worksites due to the governmental guidelines and unknown circumstances surrounding COVID-19. For most employees, these “remote worksites” refer to home, which alone has caused mixed emotions: I get to wear a t-shirt! But will I be productive? I can see my kids more often! But will I get distracted? I might not be bothered by anyone! But can I still communicate easily with my co-workers? Well, after working from home just a little over a week, our experiences tell us we’re on the path to becoming professional remote employees.
Just like any situation there tends to be pros and cons. From our limited experience thus far, some advantages we’ve gathered regarding remote work include: being able to work (mostly unbothered) in our own environment, having a more casual dress code, and the opportunity to develop an understanding of technology we otherwise may not have used in the office. Technology has proven to be our best friend while at home. We have learned how to communicate more efficiently with co-workers through video chats, screen sharing, and conference calls. We have also found numerous new PDF tools that will prove to be helpful even when we return to the office. While we may not have taken the time to play with technology as much when in the office, we found very quickly that editing our tax support on our computer instead of paper may not be so bad after all. We can possibly save a few trees! On the flipside, distractions, such as, pets and family, the lack of socialization, and the difficulty of aligning schedules to discuss work items when you can’t just walk into a co-worker’s office to ask a quick question are a few disadvantages that we have faced.
So how have we stayed motivated and avoided distractions while working from home? That’s a question probably answered differently for each employee. For us, the ability to work in our own environment is a key motivational factor. We love being able to look out our windows or turn our music up to sing along to our favorite songs throughout the workday without sharing our wonderful singing voices with the entire office. Where we once might’ve memorized our co-worker’s schedules, we’ve now memorized the exact times the mail, UPS, and FedEx get delivered throughout the day, thanks to our pets or a knock on the door. With the weather getting nicer we look forward to our lunch breaks, where we can enjoy the Spring weather, take our dog for a quick walk, or sneak in a quick workout to get ready for our upcoming wedding or summer vacations. The key is to find something to look forward to throughout your day.
As the world becomes more connected via technology, it gives more and more people the opportunity to work from home full-time or just on an occasional basis. Thus, providing more flexibility and a better work-life balance. For anyone beginning to work from home, remember technology is your friend! Don’t be afraid to explore new features within your software programs. Take the time to learn how to use new tools you might need. Although this may seem unproductive at first, you’ll soon find a groove and have lots of tricks to complete your daily tasks more efficiently. Along with this, treat your day like any other workday. Put appointments or breaks you know you’ll be taking on your calendar. Start your workday at a normal time. And when your workday is over, disconnect from the work world and enjoy your home-life.
Although we ran into a few hurdles which turned our tax season from a sprint to a marathon, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity to grow both individually and as a firm. As a team, we will finish the marathon. One. Step. At. A. Time.
It’s hard to believe that we are already into July. Even with the deadline for filing your return and making a payment (if you owe) being extended to July 15, 2020, it still seemed like it came upon us fast. With only a few weeks left, be sure to get any final documents to us and answer any outstanding communications immediately.
New gardeners have come out of the woodwork this year, looking to create a sustainable food supply in their own backyards. Of course, not everyone has the space or the time to create a full-on outdoor garden. So, why not start small…and indoors?
It’s safe to say that most people are laser focused on money right now—specifically on how to make it last longer. To help you do just that, we compiled the following list of tips for spending less in 2020: