The Double-Edged Sword

of Remote Working


The Double-Edged Sword of Remote Working

We have seen an increase in requests from candidates for remote working opportunities, however, we are seeing the opposite for the majority of our clients, who are requesting staff are office-based more than home.

The shift towards remote working, driven largely by the global pandemic, undoubtedly changed the landscape of many professions, including those in the insolvency and accountancy practice sectors. Firms worldwide embraced this change, with many employees relishing the chance to work in their home environment, away from the daily commute and office politics. However, while the advantages of remote work are plenty and often discussed, it’s crucial to shed light on potential pitfalls, particularly regarding personal development and progression.

The Positives: The Bright Side of Remote Work

Before delving into the challenges, it’s only fair to highlight some of the significant benefits of remote working:

  • Flexibility: Working from home often offers flexibility in hours, allowing employees to strike a more harmonious work-life balance.
  • Reduced Commute: No more rush-hour traffic or packed trains, which saves time and reduces daily stress.
  • Cost Savings: Employees save on daily expenses such as travel, meals, and professional attire.
  • Increased Productivity: Many find that they can concentrate better at home, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.

The Flip Side: Potential Barriers to Development and Progression

However, remote working is not without its challenges, especially when considering the nuances of roles within insolvency and accountancy.

  • Reduced Face-to-Face Interactions: There’s something about in-person communication that virtual platforms can’t replicate. For roles in accountancy and insolvency, where networking and relationship-building are paramount, the lack of face-to-face interactions can be detrimental. It’s through these interactions that many opportunities arise, be it new client work, cross-departmental projects, or even promotions.
  • Learning On The Job: Particularly for those in the early stages of their career, being physically present in the office offers a chance to learn by observation. Witnessing how senior practitioners handle complex situations, or simply absorbing the office dynamics, is harder to achieve remotely.
  • Visibility and Recognition: Out of sight can, unfortunately, mean out of mind. Those working remotely might find it harder to showcase their achievements or be recognized for their efforts, which could impact promotional opportunities.
  • Feedback Loop Delays: Instant feedback is invaluable. In an office, a senior can quickly guide or correct a junior colleague. In a remote setting, these feedback loops might be extended, which could slow down the learning process.
  • Isolation and Well-being: Feeling isolated can have a significant impact on an employee’s well-being, potentially affecting job satisfaction, performance, and overall career progression. While firms in insolvency and accountancy practice are known for their tight-knit communities, working remotely might make it challenging for some to feel connected.

Navigating Remote Work Successfully

While the challenges are real, they aren’t insurmountable. Here are some ways to ensure you continue to progress in your career, even when working remotely:

  • Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular one-on-ones with your seniors and team. This not only ensures you’re on the right track but also keeps you visible.
  • Networking: Just because it’s remote work doesn’t mean networking should stop. Attend virtual events, webinars, and training specific to insolvency and accountancy practice to stay connected.
  • Seek Feedback: If you feel you aren’t getting enough feedback, ask for it. Regularly touch base with your mentors or colleagues for insights into your performance.
  • Continuous Learning: Make use of online courses and resources. In the rapidly evolving fields of insolvency and accountancy, staying updated is crucial.

In Conclusion

Remote working, while offering numerous benefits, does come with challenges, especially concerning career progression. But by being proactive, seeking feedback, and staying connected, those in insolvency and accountancy practices can continue to grow, develop, and achieve their career aspirations, irrespective of where they’re working.

My views are based on my 15 years+ of recruiting for Accountancy Practice and Insolvency professionals.

For advice about your career options, speak to Scott Lowes at Levitate Recruitment, specialists in placing practice-trained accountants and insolvency professionals across the UK, and find the right role to suit your ambitions.