Hybrid Working: The New Normal of Functioning in the Post Pandemic World
The Covid-19 pandemic has massively changed the way accounting firms function. It has strongly reshaped the existing workforce trends and catalysed new ones, thus revolutionising how the rather traditional accounting profession functions.
The accounting profession has battled staffing challenges for several years. Bring in the Great Resignation, and the problem has only turned graver. Post the pandemic, many accountants are now readily quitting jobs without another job in hand. Thus, it has become imperative that accounting firms innovate new work models to accommodate their workforce’s diverse needs and comforts.
NEW WORKFORCE TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE POST PANDEMIC WORLD
Hybrid working has already become a corporate sensation around the globe. A combination of on-premises and virtual working, the hybrid work model offers several benefits to employees.
The hybrid model allows accountants to save time otherwise lost in travelling, work from the convenience of their homes, and focus on self-development. It allows for more flexibility at work and ensures a better work-life balance.
With the onset of virtual and hybrid work models, the way accountants look at communication has also changed. Meetings no longer happen in physical meeting rooms, and employees no longer take breaks in cafeterias. Likewise, team engagement is no longer limited to physical games or team lunches.
Virtual communication is the new sensation and has taken over the corporate world. According to Fin-eX aforementioned survey, the time spent on Microsoft Teams has more than doubled globally from February 2020 to February 2021. Additionally, an average meeting is now about 10 minutes longer, increasing from 35 minutes to 45 minutes.
The survey further suggests that an average Teams user now sends 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per person after hours. Organisations have also been focusing on innovating virtual games and engagement activities to keep employees motivated.
To facilitate better virtual collaboration and communication, tools such as Zoom, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Dialpad, Slack, Loom, etc. can be used respectively.
Of all the newest trends in the post-pandemic corporate world, this one has a solid future. As opposed to a few years ago, employees are now the focus of organisations while formulating workforce regulations.
Staffing woes are native to the accounting industry. With accountants rapidly quitting jobs and prioritising their personal lives and mental health overwork, practices must implement workforce regulations keeping accountants’ comfort and convenience at the core. The employees will dictate the rules in the coming years, and practices will flourish only when they keep their staff happy.
Offshore hiring and outsourcing
The onset of virtual and hybrid working models has given rise to offshore hiring and outsourcing trends. There is a vast pool of talent around the world. Practices can get access to highly skilled accountants in countries like India, which is a more viable option than onshore and in-house hiring.
Recognising the benefits of working with offshore experts, accounting practices have also been turning to outsourcing as a reliable solution to their staffing challenges. Timely outsourcing to a reliable outsourcing provider is critical for these firms to save costs and increase efficiency. Thus, outsourcing is a trend practices must look out for in the post-pandemic world.
DEALING WITH THE CHANGING WORKFORCE TRENDS AND IMPLEMENTING HYBRID WORKING
It is imminent that hybrid working is the future of workforce management in the post-pandemic era. It is, therefore, essential that accounting practices adapt to the idea and implement workforce strategies that fuel a better work-life balance for accountants.
Below are a few tips to help practices implement a hybrid working model and make the most of it.
The entire execution of hybrid working relies on technology. Be it virtual communication or enhanced data security, technology is and shall be a deciding factor in the way accounting firms function.
Accounting practices must integrate the latest technology into their processes to ensure a smooth hybrid working model. This includes a practical usage of digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, security infrastructure such as VPN, social tech, guests and room booking software, and much more.
Facilitate smooth onboarding
Onboarding is a challenging process in the hybrid work model. When new employees join your organisation virtually, it can be challenging to onboard them, conduct inductions, and grant critical access and permissions solely via the internet. However, onboarding is a fundamental process that aids in better employee retention and productivity.
In the post-pandemic era, accounting firms must focus on making their onboarding process simpler and virtually compliant. The integration of essential tech and effective coordination are key to this process.
Like onboarding, training, too, is a challenging task when it comes to hybrid working. Traditionally, trainings were conducted physically in the confines of conference rooms, making it easier for employees to grasp information and get queries resolved.
However, in the hybrid work model, training is often a challenge. Practices, therefore, must innovate new virtual training processes to help accountants stay updated with the changing industry trends.
Better talent management
Effective talent management is crucial to an accounting firm’s success. But its significance has increased drastically in the hybrid working scenario.
In the post-pandemic world, accounting practices must work to improve their talent management strategies by implementing virtual learning. D evelopment sessions, regular seminars, town halls, and much more.
With the coronavirus pandemic periodically returning with new mutant waves, hybrid working has become a way of life. Accounting firms, too, have shown a specialised inclination towards adopting a hybrid model of work. Implementing a formal policy to accommodate their workforce’s needs.
However, transitioning from a traditional model to a hybrid model may not come easy. Accounting firms must put their employees at the fore and formulate a healthy hybrid working policy that ensures a good work-life balance for accountants.
When done the right way, a hybrid work model can help firms drive maximum productivity from their employees and facilitate higher job satisfaction.