We’re living through unprecedented times, dealing with a situation completely out of our control. But while finance leaders have no way of managing the pandemic itself, they do have influence over how their business responds and adapts to the chaos left by COVID-19. And for many, it’s exposing cracks in their planning.


Enabling remote working is not a new thing; it’s a concept companies have grown with as they utilise technology to scale globally. But never has working from home been so robustly tested as it is right now.


Many organisations have adapted successfully as remote working has moved to an absolute necessity, but others are faring less well and it’s posing big problems for them. After all, how can a business react to the crisis if the staff it relies upon to keep things going are not equipped to carry on working?


It’s never too late to improve and technologies like the cloud make it possible to do so. But whether thriving or failing with remote working, there are three questions every leader should be asking themselves right now:


Question 1: How successful is your remote working strategy proving so far?


Success doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean a content workforce doing the right work, at the right time, without wasting time or adding unnecessary cost to the business.


The measure of success or failure of your remote working strategy can’t be based on complaints about team members only having one screen to work on at home, or about kids occasionally interrupting video calls – those are normal distractions and that’s life.


A successful strategy needs to start with evidence of an understanding workforce, one that’s used to a flexible culture and is showing they’re prepared and able to adapt to these changing circumstances.


Success can be measured by teams having access to the tools they need to do their jobs properly and having solutions for their clients as quickly as possible, no matter where they’re logging in from. The ultimate goal is for the workforce to function as smoothly as it did prior to the virus outbreak.


Question 2: What will happen once the crisis subsides?


Strategy up until now would have likely focussed on digital transformation and using technology to help teams do their best work. But a very specific and catastrophic event has happened, and it will rightly make the C-suite nervous it could happen again. The ability to work remotely has shifted from a ‘nice-to-have’ for many, to a ‘must-have’ for almost everyone.


So, building and future-proofing a strategy which enables employees to work seamlessly, without costing or losing the business money, should be a key focus for finance leaders once we’re back to some kind of usual routine.


Leaders also need to prepare for a percentage of their workforce questioning why they need to return to the office. If employees have adapted and thrived through remote working, why should they spend thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours on daily commutes when they can achieve what they need to from home?


It’s essential that finance leaders make sure they’re prepared for the whole host of working-culture questions they’re likely to face on return to the office.

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