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Thoughts on working from home?

How have things changed since the WFH revolution?

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Morning Hive Mind!

I hope you're all having a great start to the week.

With the country continuing to find some semblance of normality as we grapple with the tail-end of covid, it seems that the Government is pushing for everyone to swap the PJs for a suit and head back into the office. Yet, the sheer popularity of working from home may make the task of tempting people back into the office a little bit tricky.

With this in mind, how have you all dealt with WFH? has it been a successful experiment at your firm that is here to stay, or have you been heading back into the workplace now that restrictions have been lifted? For those that have decided to stay remote, how has WFH from changed the way your firm runs? 

I've found myself that having a mixture of the two has been the most productive option for me, especially as being cooped up in a flat 5 days a week can get a little maddening! 

Cheers everyone - looking forward to hearing from you.

Replies (11)

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By sarahg
24th May 2022 10:20

All of my team have always worked from home, so no change there

I am finding it easier to recruit with this model though than I ever have before

Thanks (3)
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By Mr_awol
24th May 2022 10:32

Covered recently in moderate depth here https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/this-is-great-stuff-from-ls-...

We are finding that a lot of potential employees would like some form of WFH/Hybrid working (why wouldn't they). Our own staff surveys however consistently return the result that whilst they would like the flexibility to WFH sometimes, most of them would prefer to be mainly office based, and all of them say that WFH is less productive, hour-for-hour.

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By Hugo Fair
24th May 2022 10:37

At the risk of stating the obvious, it depends on three main factors:
* the type of work to be done;
* the personality of the individual;
* the facilities at the home-based workplace.

In very generalist terms, WFH is more appropriate (and appreciated) by the more established members of the community - which often translates into 'older', but also often includes those with pre-school children.

The only deep downside to a distributed workforce all WFH is the total dependency on technology (including the internet and electricity). If you think a temporary outage by your ISP is aggravating, imagine the return of the Three-day Week of the 1970s.

But overall, we've found reduced business overheads + lack of commuting by staff + remaining supportive to clients = a new dawn (despite Rees-Mogg's dystopia).

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
24th May 2022 11:19

When we had our house in Sweden electric outages happened, especially in winter, albeit they paid a decent compensation if longer than x hours. We also had the open fire up the centre of the house and a large supply of logs.

To deal with the possibility (though it never happened when we were there) we had a portable petrol powered electric generator stored in our very large outbuilding which could be utilised if required (we inherited it when we bought the house)- whilst it will not cover your ISP issues it might be worth considering similar re ensuring a supply of electricity.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
24th May 2022 11:12

Back in office and happy that is the case, however we all returned last April so now well used to it. We are still very much a paper based entity, whilst more and more is retained on computer, whilst scanned signed leases are now available in folders on my machine, an awful lot of useful documents are still in paper form (plans/drawings etc stretching back into the 70s)

Working from home for a paper oriented office was really difficult, the main limitation was space, I had boxes and boxes of files at home and my study was tiny, in fact if I had not given up practice in 2019 my files re same would have taken up all the space and working for my employer from home would have been near impossible.

Of course right now we are working through everything as having been here since the early 90s we last year sold the site where our office is located and have to vacate before the end of this year, this at least gives an opportunity to reduce the records we hold and to scan in more of what we are retaining albeit it is a boring and time consuming task, but if Covid 2 or similar arises we will be better placed to cope next time.

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By Southwestbeancounter
24th May 2022 14:56

There are only two of us in the office so we have never needed to take the working from home option and it suits us to stay office based to be honest.

I don't care if folk are office based or not but what I do care about is the service I receive so technically I shouldn't have to know if they are working from home or not provided they are clear on the phone, are working in a quiet environment and can access my records securely etc.

I did have someone from BT recently who said that they were working from home and jokingly apologised if I could hear the washing machine but what I did detest was my partner having to ring up to register the death of his mother and when the lady rang back (as that is seemingly how they do it these days) there was a huge commotion in the background with slamming doors and screaming kids!!! That should not have happened in any situation let alone when speaking to someone who had been recently bereaved. She was very hard to understand on the phone and booked the appointment in for the wrong week (despite my partner mentioning the day twice and then the specific date) which we found out once the confirmation email came through and we double checked it!!

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By SteveHa
25th May 2022 11:27

Our place has embraced hybrid working, and is now looking at hot desking in the office becoming the new norm. Personally, I generally aim to go in 2 days per week, and WFH the remainder.

Having said that, my role is mainly advisory, and needs a lot of reading of legislation, articles etc. which i can do more effectively at home without office distractions.

My own IT is considerably more superior than the office IT (I have a 1GB internet connection which I don't have to share with 40 - 50 other people, and my actual PCs are considerably more powerful than the office ones, so I can work faster from home, anyway.

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By Michael Beaver
25th May 2022 11:29

We've always had the infrastructure in place to be able to work from home, so we didn't have to do too much scrambling at the beginning of the pandemic.

By the end of the first lockdown, just about everyone was desperate to come back to the office for any or all of the following reasons:

- Their home situation didn't afford them a comfortable place to work
- They missed the social interaction at work
- Junior staff felt that they were not learning as much as when they were in the office
- They felt more efficient being in the office and away from home distractions
- They felt better from a mental health perspective, in that travelling to and from work allowed them to switch off work mode.
- They got sick of their kids

As a result we only have one person who is mostly at home and sometimes in the office, and I now take advantage of working from home one day a week as my 'admin' day and it's worked well for me.

But the others posting here are right, each firm is different and each staff member is different. Out of the reasons above, the one that really mattered to me was the junior staff and the experience they were missing out on. You can make the effort to ensure they are trained and are getting support, but it's very very very hard to replicate the office environment where they can learn a huge amount just by listening to what is going on around them.

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By adam.arca
25th May 2022 12:55

Southwestbeancounter wrote:

There are only two of us in the office so we have never needed to take the working from home option and it suits us to stay office based to be honest.

I don't care if folk are office based or not but what I do care about is the service I receive so technically I shouldn't have to know if they are working from home or not provided they are clear on the phone, are working in a quiet environment and can access my records securely etc.

Snap: identical situation and identical views.

michaelbeaver wrote:

But the others posting here are right, each firm is different and each staff member is different. Out of the reasons above, the one that really mattered to me was the junior staff and the experience they were missing out on. You can make the effort to ensure they are trained and are getting support, but it's very very very hard to replicate the office environment where they can learn a huge amount just by listening to what is going on around them.

Absolutely.

My son decided on a career change a few years ago and started working in an accounts department. Then covid hit, the company went to WFH and, even though in all fairness they tried to support him, he struggled big-style not really knowing what he was doing or how to work the accounts system which was something big and unusual so I hadn't a clue how to work my way around it either.

Once that company decided they quite liked WFH, he was off. First to a smallish professional office who had stayed in the office throughout lockdown and then, to gain better experience, to a larger firm in the local city where he now gets the best of both worlds: 3 days in the office and 2 days at home with no commuting. But even he feels that WFH just doesn't work as well as being office-based.

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Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
30th May 2022 18:07

I much prefer being back in the office and we were from July 2021. You do get bored with your own lunches and much prefer having a huge choice of lunches to choose from in Glasgow centre. Cannot stand working from home made me feel really old. Too young to be stuck at the home long term.

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Replying to sarah douglas:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
31st May 2022 10:14

sarah douglas wrote:

You do get bored with your own lunches and much prefer having a huge choice of lunches to choose from in Glasgow centre. .

Yes, presumably the choice of different foodstuffs in batter is greatly increased, of course not really an issue here in Edinburgh as you will already have had your dinner.

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