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Two accountancy alumni offer work-from-home tips

When a huge group of workers moved to remote working in March due to COVID-19, Allyson Lindsey and Meghan Eifealdt didn’t bat an eye. The two Daniels alumni had been working from home for years.

Now that many of us have been working from home for months now, maybe we’ve fallen into some bad habits. Are you rolling out of bed and onto your first Zoom call at 10 a.m.? Are you responding to emails while watching movies on the couch? Are you still online and responding to email at 10 p.m.?

Lindsey (BAcc & MAcc 2014) is a partner at Bright Tax, a 100% remote firm that works with an American expat clientele. Eifealdt (BAcc & MAcc 2010) is a senior solution engineer with FinancialForce. This is her second remote position, working outside of the office since 2014. Eifealdt and Lindsey shared their best advice for getting back into a good work-from-home routine as remote work continues for many into the summer months ahead.

(1) Have a dedicated work space.

Eifealdt and Lindsey highly recommend setting up a place for your home office if at all possible.

“I have always had a nice, separate home office—a place where I ‘go to work,’” Eifealdt said.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to turn off work mode when you’re working from home,” Lindsey said. “Setting physical and mental boundaries between your work and personal life are key.”

(2) Get ready for work.

It might sound silly, but there is something helpful about actually getting ready for work.

“I always try to put on real clothes, shower, etc.,” Eifealdt said. “It makes me feel more productive while working at home.”

(3) Set work hours.

Both professionals suggest everyone set up dedicated work hours. While the hours might vary with the day or time of year, they both try to work a fairly traditional 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day.

“I set specific blocks of hours to get work done and it’s nonnegotiable,” Lindsey said.

(4) Be patient.

While these two ladies have worked remotely for years, they understand that it might be new to others. In addition, COVID-19 has added new challenges into the mix. Working remotely now isn’t the same as it was previously. Some colleagues are juggling parenting and teaching; others may have technology challenges.

“One piece of advice I have for others working remotely is to give grace and patience to your co-workers,” Eifealdt said. “Sometimes meetings will be delayed due to slower internet, or you might hear the doorbell ring, a dog bark, or kids screaming. But don’t let those distractions get to you; keep the focus on your meeting agenda and move on.”

While Eifealdt and Lindsey enjoy their work-from-home careers, they do think some face-to-face time is needed professionally and personally. Eifealdt tries to get outside her work to exercise when she can and socialize with friends. They both think companies will rethink remote work going forward.

“I do think that businesses will see that we can effectively execute on certain aspects very well from a remote structure, and in turn, overhead expenses (building rent, travel costs) will be significantly reduced going forward,” she said. “However, I do think face-time has a place and is needed for some groups, but I do think the amount of travel and in-person meetings will be cut down.”