Back to the Office – Are you Ready? (Part One)

Return to the Office

So after nearly 6 months of very unprecedented times, the time is now coming when we’re all starting to think about getting back to ‘normal’ or whatever the new normal is. For a lot of us, that means getting back into the office and a more normal way of working.

We all know how hard it has been to adjust to working from home, so have you considered yet, how difficult it will be to readjust to being back in the office and what extra concerns and worries there will be whether you are an employer or an employee?

Here are a few ideas of what to consider whilst preparing your return to the office from both perspectives:

Initial Readjustment

Employee

  • Are you prepared to return to the office? We all know how difficult it’s going to be even to just put suitable clothes on as let’s face it, if were honest we’ve probably spent a lot of our work day in our pyjamas?
  • Have you considered the basic things like how you’re going to get to work? Are you going to have to use public transport? If you are, have you checked out the times as these have more than likely changed? If you usually car share are you going to be working at the same time as your colleague? How do you feel about car sharing now? Are you confident that guidelines can be adhered to?
  • Have you had a meeting with the boss to discuss what hours you will be returning to? Will you be going straight in with your normal working hours or will you be making a gradual return?
  • Do you have childcare arranged for the pre-agreed hours?

All of these things need to be considered to make your readjustment as painless as possible.

Employer

  • Are you prepared for the return of your staff? Are you prepared for the fact that you may not have the same staff returning as you had prior to lockdown? At the end of the day, 6 months is a long time to be out of an office environment and to be juggling more than just work. It may take a little while for your staff to get back into the swing of normality and any semblance of routine.
  • Have you decided if you are prepared to be flexible for a while to help with the transition?
  • Have you considered the fact that they may not be able to get in at the same time as previously if they usually use public transport. Do you have a suggestion you can put to them?
  • Are you going to allow a gradual return or do you just want you staff back as they were.
  • Have you arranged to discuss your thoughts and requirements with your staff

You as an employer need to decide exactly what you are and are not expecting. If you cannot be clear to your employees then they will find it hard to know what you want.

These are just a few things to think about while you’re deciding how to make getting back to normal as smooth as possible.

Look out for our next blog looking at things to consider in the office and once the return has been made!

 

 

A Day In The Life Of A Bookkeeper

Life as a bookkeeper was interesting, life as a self employed bookkeeper is something else entirely and no two days are the same.

On a "normal" day I'll wake between 5:30 and 6:00 and make my first cup of tea....there's definitely a lot of tea drunk and biscuits eaten in this job!

Then I'll sit down at my laptop firstly to check my emails to ensure there are no urgent client queries from the previous evening and secondly to prepare my social media posts for that day.

After an hour or so it's usually time to wake the children and get them prepared for school and into breakfast club.

Once I've dropped them off at school it's time to start work.

Depending on what day it is, depends where I'm working. As I say no two days are the same.

The role of a bookkeeper is extremely varied and whereby one minute you can deal with something as straight forward as data entry one to a complex query about an amendment to a self assessment tax return the next.

There are also a lot of changes that affect small business owners that you need to be continually aware of.

Personally, I have spent a lot of time listening to webinars in connection with Making Tax Digital for VAT, and making myself aware of the new changes to tax codes that are due to become active from 6th April 2019.

Continued Professional Development (CPD) is something that is important to me personally to ensure I have the correct knowledge I need to be the best I can be in my profession.

However, fitting CPD into my working week can be quite difficult especially as I spend half my working week at my clients premises and the remainder of my time at the office, or networking.

As there is so much happening in my life on a weekly basis being extremely organised is compulsory. As well as knowing which client I need to attend and when I also need to know who has got VAT returns to be completed, when everyone's year end is, who has payroll completed weekly and who is monthly etc.

Some evenings I will find myself working until 9pm or 10pm to ensure my workload is up to date.

However, along with the hard work, early mornings and late night's there are some bonuses.

Two huge highlights from the last twelve months include being chosen by Theo Paphitis as his Small Business Sunday (#SBS) winner in July 2018 and then getting to meet him in February 2019 at the #SBSEvent2019 was fantastic. I'm sure I came over a little bit starstruck.

The other highlight was being shortlisted as Female Entrepreneur of the Year in the British Small Business Awards 2018. Although I didn't win it was an amazing night and such an honour to have been recognised for my achievements as a small business owner.

So in short the day to day life of a self employed bookkeeper is definitely varied, hard work and long days but so worth it. And as the business grows I feel I am reaping more of the rewards that I have sown.