Years ago I used to love working from home. It didn’t happen all that often – maybe a couple of times a month. I used to take home two or three bags full of paperwork relating to clients (no online help then!). Recently (before coronavirus) I would do it more often and again loved it. Then came the shut down and having to work from home for pretty much all of the last four months (really is it that long?!?!).
Perhaps it’s human nature to enjoy and look forward to things you can’t have all the time. I talk to retired friends – they don’t enjoy weekends as much as I do – Saturday and Sunday are just like any other day to them. Having done a fair bit of work from home, having no children buzzing around (miracle worker people who managed and coped with that) I thought it would all be a breeze.
However, it wasn’t – I so missed the contact with everyone in the office, this compounded by also missing seeing friends. Also it was such a change to routine. It took quite a few weeks to settle down into a routine – also to get used to online meetings.
What comes out – surprise surprise – is that the important and enjoyable part of work is the relationships – with you our clients, with other professionals and with all of us in the office. So over this time what did feel good was that we were able to help lots of our clients – with JobKeeper, Cash Boost, rental lease negotiations, bank loan negotiations etc – it was hectic but felt like we really were helping.
It pretty much took a month out of our normal work calendar – work stress that we are just recovering from now. JobKeeper was, of course, the main one. I feel it was a pretty good initiative by the government. Pretty straightforward but, of course, it had its anomalies and unfairnesses.
However, then the tax office got involved with the detail. Not only were we dealing with JobKeeper, we were dealing with daily pronouncements by the tax office on their interpretation of the law and how they were administering it.
We are now getting used to working in “the new normal”.
We recently completed a COVID-19 Safety Plan and registered as a COVID Safe business. We don’t expect (maybe ever) to have more than a third to a half of our staff in the office every day. We expect more online meetings to be conducted and certain businesses in certain industries to be permanently affected (of course new opportunities will appear).
We also expect to have to continue to be flexible in our thought and the way we approach things.
As always we are looking forward to the future – but with a caveat of – what happens if …
Peter Caunt is a Senior Director at Imagine Accounting – Small Business Accountants based in Chatswood