After two years of remote working, it’s time to head back to the office, but hybrid working will bring its own set of questions and challenges. Siobhán Sexton ACA, Business Lead with Barden and Expert Recruiter in Recently Qualified Accounting, Tax and Practice Careers, asks are you ready?
Make-shift desks constructed with the ironing board; sticking a painting on your wall to give your Zoom calls a professional look; having your crisply ironed shirt tucked into your GAA shorts under the desk – the COVID-19 pandemic well and truly submerged us in the world of working from home.
As workplaces begin to reopen and we re-commence our morning commutes, many of us are asking ourselves: what do I need to consider when it comes to hybrid-working?
Remote vs hybrid
It is important to distinguish between the remote and hybrid working models. Remote working offers employees complete flexibility over their working location.
Employers do not care whether you work from Balgriffin, Biarritz or Bangkok, if you complete your work within your deadlines.
The hybrid model incorporates both working at the office and from home. Most organisations have implemented a three-two split for the working week.
Thus, your home should be in relative proximity to the office, as commuting three days a week from Bangkok to Grand Canal Dock may be a bit of a logistical nightmare.
Five hybrid-work considerations
1. Learning the ropes
Settling into a new role can be challenging for any finance professional. Learning new processes, getting familiar with different systems, and building relationships with your co-workers can be even trickier when you are not in an office environment.
If you are in a new role after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, aim to spend as much time as possible in the office, so you can absorb as much as you can for the first three to six months. People learn more when they are surrounded by people.
2. The limits of location
Before the pandemic, the time needed to accommodate daily commutes was a significant factor in the decision-making process for many career-movers.
Some abandoned the offer of a dream role with a great organisation simply because the location was too far from home. Even these dream jobs could not trump long commutes.
The hybrid model means we now have access to roles in a wider catchment area. Having the flexibility to work from home some of the time could make up for having to commute a longer distance two or three days a week. For job-hunters, the good news is that this means greater access to more potential career opportunities.
3. Work from home supports
Organisations are starting to look more seriously at how they can best support their employees in the home office setting. While some are still using the BYOK (bring your own kit) model, many are now moving beyond this and taking steps to ensure their employees are equipped with the necessary infrastructure (desks, screens, headsets, etc.) to facilitate the best possible home working set-up.
If you are starting a new job and joining an organisation with a hybrid working model, it is worth asking how they support employees working from home during the interview process.
4. Remote education
While hybrid work is becoming the norm, remote education has been around for years, and opportunities to engage in virtual learning have flourished since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The combination of hybrid working and remote learning provides a unique opportunity to upskill. Use extra time saved avoiding commutes on home-working days to invest in yourself.
Get your priorities straight
If the hybrid model does not appeal to you and your ambition is to work remotely all the time, consider the following.
While not impossible, the likelihood you will be able to bring your full Dublin salary to Mayo, or your London salary to Cork, is pretty low.
Be realistic about your salary prospects as a fully remote worker, bearing in mind that working this way will mean you no longer incur commuting costs.
It is also worth asking yourself if remote working would hinder your career. Building in-person relationships and absorbing information from your colleagues in an office environment can advance your learning opportunities and career prospects. Is your priority your career or having flexibility in your work location and schedule?
As we move deeper into this relatively new era of hybrid and remote working, you must figure out what working model best aligns with your work style, priorities, and career goals.
Credit to The Bottom Line by Accountancy Ireland / Chartered Accountants Ireland