With the advent of cloud accounting and a growing app ecosystem, working remotely is now a feasible option for many of North America’s bookkeepers. One of the greatest challenges faced by remote workers is how to retain productivity levels when working from home. With this in mind we asked our remote bookkeepers at LedgersOnline for 4 tips on how to remain productive and motivated when working remotely.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
When working from home, it is essential that you create a specific workspace for your office hours. This can be a specific room or an area where you can concentrate without distraction. One of the perks of working from home is that you can actually customize your office space to suit your needs, whether it’s choosing an area with the most sunlight or sitting on a yoga ball rather than an office chair. Defining a workspace also allows you to disengage from work once you’re outside of your home office, ensuring you can switch off easier.
Set Boundaries with your Clients
Working with a specific client can often mean you need to adapt to their work hours in order to maintain good communication levels. That said, key to remaining productive when working remotely is knowing when to switch on and switch off. To do this you should set clear boundaries with clients as to when they can reach you and stick to these times, meaning your off time is yours. You could also agree on a schedule of work with your client. For example if payroll needs to be done for company “X” by Friday each week, you should agree with this client that you will complete this work on a specific day each week. Agreeing to this should minimize contact back and forth during the rest of the week and reassure your client that you are committed to following their schedule.
Define Communication Preferences with Clients
In order to stay productive and focused on the task at hand, you should define how you want your client to communicate with you from the beginning. Our remote bookkeepers tend to prefer email as it provides a written account of their communication with clients which they can then search later on if necessary. This avoids taking lengthy calls which can frustrate you and interrupt your work flow. It also ensures you have control over when you deal with your clients, meaning your cell phone isn’t constantly ringing at the weekend or during the holidays. It can also be helpful to introduce a document management application to your workflow. Using an application like our very own LedgerDocs app allows you to communicate with your client via the LedgerDocs platform and gives your client the opportunity to email/scan/upload their documents directly into their specific inbox – saving you time.
Remove Outside Distractions
We’ve all found ourselves scrolling through Twitter feeds only to realize an hour has passed. If you are a remote bookkeeper you have even more distractions to consider, such as the family TV. Our own bookkeeper Janette had a super idea for removing the distraction of her cell phone without missing out on important phone calls. She suggested assigning a specific ring tone setting to numbers you want to answer calls from, for example your children or a certain client. That way you can place your cell phone on “silent” mode but still get alerted if an important person calls, removing the distraction to check apps or social media while you’re working.
30 Minute Webinar — Learn how LedgerDocs can streamline your accounting today.