Cloud Accounting Specialist, Liquid Accounts Ltd is supporting Work From Home Day on May 20th. The initiative, created by Work Wise UK aims to show employers around the UK that allowing staff to work from home can create a host of benefits – including making employees happier and more productive.
And new cloud computing services, like Liquid Accounts, are the tools that make this possible, allowing staff to access work from wherever they are (as long as they have an internet connection!). And implementing flexible working policies, either occasionally or on a regular basis, can cut costs improve efficiency, and prevent disasters. Liquid MD, Matt Holmes commented:
‘With the last two UK winters being hard hit with snow, being able to work from home and being online was a huge bonus for companies like us. We aim to be completely cloud-based ourselves (even down to the phones), and so when the weather was bad our staff were able to login and keep working. And our clients were able to do that too. Having Liquid Accounts meant that they could access all their customer and supplier details, and up-to-date figures, and keep things ticking over. There was no need for them to risk spending several hours on a commute to work – they could stay at home and it was still business as usual!
‘We’ve even had business owners who’ve used Liquid to allow them work from a camper van whilst touring Europe and who were stranded abroad due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud but were able to keep their businesses running!’
A number of Liquid Accounts clients also use their cloud accounting software to give them more flexibility in how they run their bookkeeping and accountancy practices. Vicky Newham, a lecturer in bookkeeping and accounting, set up her Solutions Bookkeeping and Accountancy Services a couple of years ago after realising that the students she was teaching were going to be using what she’d taught them to earn more than her!:
‘Liquid Accounts has helped me grow my client base by improving our flexibility. Being based online has meant I could employ more staff that can work flexibly and from home and now I can take on more clients, as there is less travel involved to their offices.’
Similarly, Aviemore-based bookkeeper, Alice Bailey, works with a number of white water rafting companies who have bases all over the UK and overseas:
‘Now I use Liquid everyday to manage my clients’ accounts, all from the comfort of my own home. Being online, there is no requirement to be in the same room as a client, as we can easily liaise whilst viewing exactly the same figures but on separate computers in separate locations.’
British workers can spend up to 47 days a year commuting to and from the office; time that could be better spent with loved ones or on leisure activities and overall creating a better work/life balance according to Work Wise UK.
Working from home could lessen congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and drop levels of crowding on public transport.
“Not only will they have avoided the fight through over-crowded public transport or frustration sitting in traffic jams,” it said, “They will have saved a few hours in time and been able to start work un-flustered and un-stressed.”
Phil Flaxton, Chief Executive of Work Wise UK says that home working can improve productivity, “Although some would suggest this could be an excuse to skive, or to extend the weekend, it has been demonstrated that enabling staff to work from home, even occasionally, increases productivity.’
‘BT and Cisco both encourage year-round home working with BT saying it saves the company £2.2m a year and Cisco reporting a 69% rise in productivity.’
Home working can help:
“Part of the problem is that home working still has a stigma attached to it – employers fear that staff will watch daytime TV rather than crack on with their work. This is a misconception and the fact is that the home generally offers a more productive working environment, free from the distractions of the office.’ said Alistair McKinnon, a senior product manager for ntl: Telewest Business.
Alistair added: “Staff should be encouraged to work a regular day when they work from home, and the vast changes in communications technology in recent years means that it is perfectly feasible to do so. We believe that National Working from Home day is an excellent initiative and hopefully as a result more businesses will see how home working can benefit both their organisation and their staff.”