How to create a remote work plan for your business
The global pandemic affected every aspect of our lives -- including the way we work. As part of the management team at Capstone Financial Advisors, I saw firsthand how the pandemic pushed our business to make quick decisions, all while continuing to serve clients and grow the firm.
Our employees went remote in March 2020 and started returning to the office in July 2021. During that time we learned a virtual office was possible. We experienced growth while continuing to service our client's. We are proud of the fact we had zero employee turnover during the pandemic.
For businesses considering work-from-home options, creating a solid plan can help you experience success in a flexible work environment.
Focus on people
Going forward, we've learned some key lessons about virtual options. Staying focused on the needs of the people on your team is crucial.
Having a flexible work environment offers incredible benefits for employees seeking a better work-life balance. That includes parents, people with medical issues, long-term employees or those with lengthy commutes. These employees were most likely to say a modified schedule reduced their stress and increased their sense of well-being.
But everyone is different. Some employees want to be in the office five days a week to avoid distractions at home. Newer employees benefited from being in the office to network, learn on the job and absorb the company culture. Other employees simply miss having day-to-day conversations with their co-workers.
When deciding to come back to the office, we're taking it slow. Our employees can work from home one day a week.
We'll be reviewing this policy on an ongoing basis with the hope of adding remote days in the future. We believe our flexible work experience was successful because we focused on the needs of each employee and their unique work style.
Find process upgrades
Some of your processes might make remote work difficult. Before giving up, consider if there might be a more efficient solution.
At Capstone, we process over 700 tax returns every year. Our office closed at the height of tax season in 2020, leaving people scrambling to scan client documents to prepare for the transition.
For this current tax year, we moved to an all-electronic format.
Now, all of our tax documents are scanned into our system as digital files, and multiple tax preparers can view returns. While clients can still send us paper copies of their tax information, we save time and money by not printing such a high paper volume.
If we had not moved to an all-remote environment at the beginning of the pandemic, we would not have switched to this system so quickly. The paperless feature is environmentally friendly, and our workforce prefers the flexibility it offers, which makes it a big success.
Remote work is the future
The biggest reason to offer remote work at your company? It's the future of business.
In many cases, employees prefer flexible work environments. If your business doesn't offer work-from-home options, job candidates can easily find them at another company. By not exploring remote work capabilities, you may be missing out on excellent new hires.
At Capstone, we pride ourselves on hiring and retaining the best people. By offering flexible work capabilities, we're saying we trust and value our employees. That encourages loyalty -- it's one reason we didn't lose a single employee during the entire pandemic.
I'm proud of the way we handled work-from-home arrangements.
By being adaptable, putting people first, making creative improvements and embracing the future of work, we created a supportive work environment.
Now our business is growing and we're bringing on new clients.
• Amber Salzman, FPQP is manager of client services at Capstone Financial Advisors in Downers Grove.