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Personal Experience of Working from Home

April 17, 2020

Chester Grey was fully operational from our individual home offices from 25 March 2020.

This was possible because our business is cloud based and management had planned well before a level 4 lockdown was announced.The physical and technological set up was completed with some simple steps:

  • a comprehensive company work policy along with a COVID-19 policy was drawn up to assess if all staff were equipped to work from home
  • two screens per person was essential to ensure we retained our productivity levels
  • all phones at the office were redirected to our mobiles
  • ensuring staff had flexibility with working hours to facilitate childcare duties at home.

In setting up all 18 staff to work from home with the right equipment it was top priority that the team stayed connected and our clients could reach us seamlessly.Security was also a major concern as even though we do not operate in the parameters of our office, our clients' data is secure and our remote systems ensure we do not compromise any information.

I have been working remotely for the last 21 days; the initial transition only took a day. It was simple and easy because I could still access information on Xero, check if tax returns were filed on our online tax platform, ensure I stayed connected with my team with Microsoft Teams plus Zoom (so good to see familiar faces!),still manage my workflow on Trello and have all client communications plus documents securely stored on Box.

Personally, I enjoy working from home and chose to look at the brighter side of this unusual change in all our lives. There is no commute in Auckland's traffic (great for the environment!) whilst connecting with clients over Zoom for Annual Accounts and Xero training to ensure compliance carries on.

Of course I would have found it extremely difficult if I didn't connect with my workmates, clients, friends and family on a regular basis. So here's a quick list of how I have adapted in the last 21 days:

  • Regular team meetings on Zoom plus Teams; to keep informed on COVID-19 updates and workflow
  • Yoga and walks around the block for fresh air
  • Friday afternoon team virtual drinks and dance (!)
  • Regular virtual Zumba sessions on Twitch with my instructor; very high energy workout after a long days' work
  • Weekend gardening; amazing to see plants thrive
  • Easter cooking and feasting within my bubble
  • Video calls and chat with friends to check up on how things are going in France, UK, Japan, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, Fiji, Myanmar, India and Israel
  • Team in gumboots within their our bubbles to support Gumboot Friday
  • One of our director's 15 day self-isolation diary, had me cracking up into laughter
  • Baking - bread, cupcakes, banana loaf, chocolate cake in the air fryer and homemade pizza
  • Meditation and podcasts on a regular basis
  • Home manicures and pedicures plus haircut
  • Decluttering and cleaning

Finally we can do a ‘bring your pets to work’ day (every day) - still waiting to see Donna's pigs at her farm!

Keep Safe

Ashreen Lochan