We recently sat down with Outsourced Finance’s Junior Accountants to reflect on their time at the company, their experiences with the COVID-19 induced lockdown, and going their thoughts on going digital.
2020 has been a particularly challenging year for most of us, we sat down with the Junior Accountants to see how they managed to sail through the year.
For some of them, working from home was actually an improvement. Tshiamo Setshedi tells us how it affected his productivity: “The effect on me was quite significant. I felt like working from home brought out a different side of me in terms of productivity, in a positive way”. Ntsembo, on the other hand, enjoyed the benefits of no longer having to make the daily commute: “I like working from home, because now it’s less travel time. I’m more of an introvert so it’s easier than dealing with a lot of people. So, it kind of works for me that way”. For Tshiamo, the home environment was less distracting than the office, where it is common to have team members on the phone with clients and others having discussions.
On the other side of the experience spectrum are Sinazo Bulana, Meseum Nhlongo, and Alice Mutero. For Alice it was “a bit of both”. For her, it was initially a bit harder to be productive at home, but she had to make some adjustments to get by. She says that to be productive, she has to “zone into the work in an office space, so it was really difficult to recreate that environment at home.” Meseum also prefers being in the office, for him “it has to be an office space for [him] to function at 100%”. Finally, Alice gave us a reason for why working from home might actually be more tiring than commuting to the office: “you tend to work longer hours because you think ‘let me just push for one more hour’.”
So how do our Junior Accountants manage work pressure and daily activities, particularly when working from home? For Meseum it’s all about communication and managing expectations: “I would communicate with my manager and clients explaining that I have this amount of workload, and this much has to be done by when. Fortunately, they understood, and they helped me, I am glad to announce that everything worked out perfectly.” Tshiamo tells us that they use timesheets in order to monitor their work, and that “the number of tasks in a day that [he] got done was a lot more than what [he] got done working in the office.”
Finally, what do our Junior Accountants want in terms of working style in the future? Sinazo tells us that “a bit of both would be good” – he prefers two three days in the office and the rest at home.
The jury is still out when it comes to whether we will make the move to a fully virtual work environment or whether we will go with a hybrid approach to cater for those who prefer a balance.