How accountants can embrace hybrid working
There has been much discussion about remote working and the future of hybrid working, whether it’s a permanent change to the workplace or a necessary but ultimately passing trend. The current sentiment among employers is that it's here to stay. 89% of UK businesses believe it to be a permanent trend and the finance and accounting sectors are continuing to hire flexible and remote workers.
Reflecting widespread changes to workplace practices, big accountancy firms are implementing plans to switch to a hybrid working model both in the UK and abroad. In most cases, this transition has begun. While the larger firms may be embracing new workplace options, is it truly feasible for small to mid-sized accountancy firms to do the same? How can these smaller businesses benefit and take advantage of hybrid working?
Take advantage of being small:
As a small or mid-sized business, you have an advantage over larger firms - you can change and adapt your approach to hybrid-working quickly. Without being slowed down by bureaucracy you can more easily adjust your organisational structure and your working practices. When it comes to hybrid working, there is no standard one-size -fits all model. Take a trial-and-error approach – test out whether a set number of days in the office is preferable to a more flexible opt-in model, or if in the end, it’s really only feasible for particular roles.
Hire talent from further afield:
Consider how hiring new employees beyond your immediate locality can benefit your business. By continuing with a hybrid model, you can widen your hiring pool to include those with more experience or unique skills, such as a second language, which may give you an edge over the competition. Employees have changed how they work too. Candidates are looking for jobs that will allow them to have a better work-life balance, and in many cases, that’s with a hybrid remote-office model.
Explore new technology:
Accountants will be looking at how their time split between the office, home, and the client site will affect how they deliver their services. It’s worth exploring how new digital and technological solutions can help with this. Cloud technology is of course critical to creating a successful hybrid working solution. Delivering payroll services, for example, will benefit from using technology that allows you access to the payroll data from different locations and which can offer a better way to communicate with clients.
A payroll software such as BrightPay lets you remain desktop-based but also allows you to process payroll from ten different locations or by ten different users. In addition to this, the optional cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect, provides an automated way to backup and restore your payroll data from the cloud. It’s also a great way to provide your clients with instant access to payroll information, cutting out unnecessary email requests and phone calls.
To discover more about how hybrid working has transformed payroll services, click here.
Hybrid working aims to give employees a better work-life balance but there are challenges associated with it, such as communicating effectively with employees, recognising accomplishments, preventing burnout, and supporting professional development. When it comes to communication, it is important you identify gaps in your communication with employees, if you haven’t already done so. Addressing these problems is important if you do plan to make hybrid-working permanent. Poor communication can have an impact on the quality of your services but can also result in frustrated and demoralised employees.
Again, technology will help. The context of the message will influence which platform you use. Team project meetings delivered by video calls, casual reminders over an instant messaging platform like Microsoft Teams, or the sharing of notes by email. Employee apps, such as BrightPay Connect, use push notifications to alert employees by phone of a shared document. It’s a useful communications tool to share company documents, such as payslips, employee handbooks, health and safety updates, and newsletters. Push notifications are 7 times more likely to be opened than email; they can help ensure important messages are not missed. Read more about how employees app can help with communications here.
Book a demo today to learn more about the many benefits of BrightPay Connect and how it can improve your payroll services and ease the transition to hybrid working.