Wise: Remote work is not an advantage; it’s planned

How would your business continue to serve customers and keep the lights on if 40% of your team quit next week? It’s hard to imagine such a dramatic event, but it is one that every business executive should think about during The Great Resignation.

Many business leaders are eager to get their employees back into the office full time. But this motivation comes up against employees who now consider remote work not as an advantage but as a necessity for maintaining employment.

Home or bust work

The pandemic has accelerated an existing trend by proving that most of the work of accountants can be done anywhere. Why navigate long journeys, loud and distracting coworkers and stuffy dress codes when they can be just as productive – sometimes even more – while working from home?

In a survey conducted earlier this year by Ipsos in partnership with the World Economic Forum, 30% of workers are said to be looking for another job rather than working away from home full time. This number increases when looking at people under 35 and parents of children 17 and under.

The new war for talent

The war for top talent is nothing new for the accounting profession, but after a brief lull in 2020, it’s back – and particularly aggressive.

Many companies have remained very profitable during the recession by providing high value advisory and consultancy services. Now that we are experiencing an economic recovery, it seems like everyone is competing for the same talent.

Today, your business is not just competing with other businesses in your geographic area. You are competing with companies from across the country and even around the world. The big companies in the market are wooing regional professionals with massive salary increases and promises of full-time remote work. Can you compete?

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Changing mentalities around teleworking

Over the past few months, we’ve spoken to many business leaders who want people to come back to the office. Too often, these leaders point out that one or two underachieving students is the reason they need everyone in person full time.

Overall, productivity has increased since people started working from home. So if one or two employees are struggling to stay productive and responsible while working remotely, you should take care of their performance individually. Making decisions based on the exception will only push back your top performers.

Losing talent and struggling to attract new recruits is not inevitable. If you want to win this new war for talent, here are five areas to focus on.

  1. Uncertainty causes anxiety. Focus on clear communication around your remote and hybrid work plans and performance expectations.
  2. Learning and development. Many business leaders say training and mentoring suffered during the pandemic, but learning and development doesn’t have to take a back seat when people aren’t working in one physical location. Virtual learning opportunities can be extremely valuable when well thought out, focusing on making the experience engaging and interactive.
  3. Give your employees the tools to succeed in remote and hybrid work. Cloud-based systems, communication and collaboration tools, workflow and project management applications bring the team together wherever people are and allow them to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.
  4. Leadership skills. Partners and managers are at the forefront of the effort to retain talent. To be effective leaders, they must have the skills to engage and listen, give and receive feedback, and engage with employees about their personal and professional goals and career aspirations. If business leaders aren’t up to the task, investing in leadership training and coaching should be a top priority. Remember, people don’t quit companies; they leave bad managers.
  5. Efficient processes. Last year’s transition to remote working revealed some friction your team might not have noticed when everyone else was in the office. Identify these issues and make sure your processes are designed with a “remote first” perspective. Without a standard company-wide process, people tend to fall back on their own preferences, which might not be ideal for the company or its customers.

Don’t let your need to be back in the office stifle the voices of your employees. Keep listening to them as you adjust to new ways of working. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but listening to your people will help you identify and resolve issues quickly. How your business responds to the call for remote and hybrid work will determine its success in the war for talent.


Sage Group plc published this content on 25 October 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on October 25, 2021 02:23:04 PM UTC.

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