Ah COVID-19, We Hardly Knew Ye
As the country's businesses are starting to get back to normal, or redefine normal as the case may be, it seems a good time to reflect on the nature of this beast we call pandemic and how thoroughly it took us by storm. From closed offices and remote ...
May. 20, 2021
As the country’s businesses are starting to get back to normal, or redefine normal as the case may be, it seems a good time to reflect on the nature of this beast we call pandemic and how thoroughly it took us by storm. From closed offices and remote workers to virtual meetings and cloud storage, we as accountants jumped right in and, on the surface, it appears we barely missed a beat.
We made our changes to working environments and relationships without being given a choice and with basically no time to plan. Now that our extended tax season is behind us, it is a good time to reflect and consider how your business and your client relationships will proceed in the year(s) ahead.
In particular, with relation to staffing, the results of a new survey from staffing firm Robert Half show some intriguing insights into the impact COVID-19 had on us personally. The survey results show that 38% of those surveyed (over 5,000 staff and managers throughout the U.S.) feel their careers have stalled in the past year. Whether their careers would have advanced during that year is an unknown, but the sense is one of disappointment or frustration that people have not been able to move ahead in their career paths due to the pandemic.
As a result, this might be a good time to meet with colleagues and discuss how the pandemic impacted careers in your firm. Many firms placed advancement opportunities on hold, almost everyone experienced some version of remote working, the definition of productivity became more fluid as did scheduling. We all faced some combination of family responsibilities, makeshift remote working spaces, technology issues, fatigue, lack of social interaction, and restricted access to clients and resources, not to mention health issues.
If we ever face another shutdown for any reason, we’ll certainly be better equipped to handle it, but for now, as we think about how we want to work and more forward, I believe it’s important to remember that our people represent our most valuable asset, and securing the loyalty of staff is crucial. So, where do you start? Here are some tips to help you move forward post-pandemic:
- Determine what worked well and what didn’t work as well with regard to remote working or any other changes you made in the ways in which you work. Discuss with your team how you can incorporate the successful parts into your practice going forward, and consider how you will avoid or improve the situations that arose that were not as successful as you would have liked. For example, video calls might have been successful, but maybe if you use them going forward you’ll want to improve the backgrounds or the technology.
- As mentioned above, career advancement has been stalled. Discuss what can change to make sure all colleagues feel their needs are being met. Are responsibilities changing, will client relationships be handled differently, has technology improved, will scheduling be different now? All of these considerations should now be added to the mix when determining how people will advance through your firm.
- Focus on the positive. You all made it through this together. Recognize those high points during the past year, take the time to take pride in your accomplishments, build on what you have experienced, and use your combined strength to grow together.
See inside May 2021
What “Ghostbusters” Can Teach Us About Conversations
Being intentional is a key to many successful habits and here it plays a major role again. The first step is to make connecting with your peers is to make it a priority. Each day spend 15 minutes twice a day to call someone and have a conversation.