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Podcast: Working remotely in the age of coronavirus

Amid the coronavirus chaos, we are all trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our day-to-day lives. One way people are trying to maintain as much of the status quo as possible is through remote work. But that comes with its own challenges, especially for those of use with a spouse and kids at home — and for businesses that aren’t really equipped to go remote.

Our guest this week is going to help sort out the turbulence that comes with these massive changes.

Tina Garza is owner and “chief number cruncher” at AccountingProse, a leading small business bookkeeping and payroll service. She is also an ambassador in the greater Denver area for the accounting software company Xero, and she presented a webcast last year for Xero that centered on running a remote workforce. She has some great guidance for businesses and employees alike when it comes to working remotely and returning to business as usual.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • How to get your business set up for remote work.
  • Managing a remote workforce.
  • How individual employees can make the transition smoothly.
  • Being effective while working from home.
  • The opportunities and advantages of remote work.
  • Remote work resources.

Listen to our conversation here.

 

Remote guidance
Whether you were ready or not, chances are, depending on what you do, you’re probably working remotely. In fact, time called the coronavirus “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” And the good news is, there’s no shortage of advice out there. There have been tons of articles and newsletters in recent weeks offering advice for business leaders and remote workers.

Here’s one. It’s an article from Gallup titled “COVID-19 has my teams working remotely: A guide for leaders,” and it’s written by Gallup senior editor Jennifer Robison. Here are just a few bits of remote wisdom from Robison.

 

  • She says, “The best managers have always individualized their coaching to the worker, but doing so at a distance requires greater intentionality. Managers need to ask each team member to describe the conditions under which they perform best, their concerns about their workflow and their emotional response to the situation.
  • She also says, “About half of all U.S. employees — remote or not — don’t know what’s expected of them at work. That’s a bad beginning, and it’ll get worse for employees sent home without good guidance. So managers must make expectations crystal clear.”
  • And she says communication has to be a top priority. Here’s what she writes. “Employees who are accustomed to working in-house may feel cut off from the resources, information or relationships they need to do their jobs well, so plan for more conference calls. Your staff needs to hear from you too, especially as economic fears worsen, to maintain their trust in leadership.”

So good advice there for leaders.

For employees? There’s a ton of advice out there for them as well, but I can throw in some advice of my own. I’ve been a full-time remote worker for nearly 15 years now. I’m chief communications officer for the Maryland Association of CPAs, but I work from my home in St. Louis, Missouri — which we fondly call “the Midwest branch of the MACPA.” And I guess my one bit of advice above all others is to take care of yourself, particularly when it comes to the amount of time you spend working. When you work from home, it can become really easy to overwork yourself because your home is your office. It’s great to be able to work anytime you need to, but what you don’t want to do is work all the time. And I’m talking about nights, weekends, holidays. I’ve done all of that, and I’ve had to remind myself to cut it out from time to time. You have to work hard to set those boundaries — to leave the office at a reasonable time and make your home your home again.

The following resources offer lots of other great guidance and advice.

Articles and guidance about remote work

Tina Garza’s tools for remote productivity

More from Tina Garza:

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