Disruptions caused by the recent weather should make accountants think again about the benefits of remote working, argues Gordon Gilchrist, marketing director for The 2020 Group.
It was about four years ago when it snowed and one of my good friends, a managing partner with some 100 staff, was mad with himself because they had not made the decision to set up remote access.
The snow came, half the staff could not make it into the office for several days, chargeable time took a real hit and fees were down by some margin. They survived and the decision was taken to implement remote access.
The next winter, when the snow came again and again, half the staff could not get to the office, but they all worked remotely. Chargeable time was the highest it has ever been, as were recovery levels, and fees for that period were at an all time high.
Armed with such compelling evidence, the partnership decided to revisit their working from home policy, and as a result, allowed anyone (subject to some obvious constraints) to work away from the office. They never looked back. Their staff retention is the highest they have ever enjoyed, staff surveys show the highest levels of satisfaction, turnover has been consistently growing and profits have taken a sharp rise – all because of the snow!
We have been seeing a terrible bout of weather across the UK and I know of several firms who have had great challenges in accessing the office. As a result, firms are having to reconsider their views on working from home. Despite research indicating that remote working is something people are looking for, far too many accounting firms are now suffering because they have not catered for this trend by implementing remote access...