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Several large businesses within the UK are closing their office doors and are urging their staff to work from home. Twitter has asked its entire workforce of 5,000 employees to work from home.
Whilst you’re at home, you’re bound to have more distractions in that environment than you would if you were sat at your desk at work. You could have kids to care for, pets to look after or heaps of washing to do.
In this blog, I’ll be giving you ten top tips on how to maintain your productivity levels from your home.
This may seem obvious to a lot of you, but some people will want to work from home and keep on their pyjamas. One of the best things you can do whilst working from home is to get dressed. You wouldn’t show up at work in your onesie and your slippers, so why would you stay in them at home? Sure, we all want to be comfortable. But by being too comfortable, you risk the fact that you might not get any work done.
Get dressed as you would for a normal day in the office, and this even includes your shoes. If you’re walking around in your socks or slippers, you’ll probably want to sit with your feet up on the sofa and lounge about.
Set up your workstation away from your bedroom or living area
The best place you can set up your workstation is at your dining table or at a desk which isn’t in your bedroom or living area. If the only place you can work from is your sofa, then make sure you’re not sitting cross-legged with your back slouched. You’ll get comfortable far too quickly and you’ll lose all motivation to continue working.
If you find yourself working from the comfort of your own bed, you’ll most likely want to have a quick nap.
TV is one of the biggest distractions at home, so try and stay away from it whilst you’re working. Don’t have it on in the background whilst you are working, because you’ll want to know what’s happening and you’ll lose all concentration. You can catch up on your favourite Netflix show when you ‘clock-out’ at 5pm!
Put your phone on silent
We all know how distracting phones can be. Whilst being at home, you’re going to want to check your social media, the news – especially with the coronavirus outbreak or even to scroll through your photo library.
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb or switch it to silent mode. Have it so that your phone will only alert you when someone is calling you.
Start your workday when you’re ready
A lot of people may not start work till 9am, once they’ve got all their distractions out of the way.
Stick to your regular morning routine, like you would if you’re going into the office for a day of work. If these responsibilities can be done later in the day, it might be best to start your workday as early as possible, so that you can finish earlier.
Structure your day like you’re at the office
We are all creatures of habit, and we all like to have some sort of routine. Whether this is a work routine or a personal routine. However, we are also quick to lose focus when we have distractions of some sort surrounding us.
One of the best things you can do whilst working from home is to structure your day like you’re at the office. Use an online calendar like Google Calendar to plan out what you’re going to do hour by hour and give yourself deadlines for tasks. Set realistic deadlines with a timeframe you’re more than comfortable with, knowing you’ll complete that task by a certain time.
Prioritise your workload with the more important tasks at the top, and the less important ones at the bottom. Give yourself plenty of time to complete these tasks by.
By wearing headphones, you’re essentially blocking out any background noise in your home which will allow you to concentrate on your work. Try listening to relaxing music with no lyrics. It might motivate you to get work done.
Take regular breaks
I can’t stress enough how important this is. After working for an hour or two, get up, go to the kitchen and make yourself a fresh cup of coffee. It doesn’t have to be a hot drink, go and grab yourself a snack!
You need to make sure you’re stretching your legs because sitting in the same spot for 8 hours a day isn’t going to be good for your health. Pop outside and take a quick stroll for 5-10 minutes, make sure you’re getting plenty of fresh air. You’ll feel refreshed when you get back to your desk and you’ll feel motivated to finish your work.
Pick a time for when you can close your laptop lid for the day
Again, this is extremely important. When working from home for a long period of time, you must know when work ends, and your personal life begins. It’s all about finding that work-life balance.
Set an alarm on your phone to alert you at your chosen time, for when your workday comes to an end. After that, make sure you shut your laptop down and switch off any and all notifications you have for work (unless they’re important).
Keep in contact with your work team
Make sure you’re keeping in regular contact with your colleagues. Download software’s such as Skype and Microsoft Teams to host group chats and group calls if you need to discuss big projects etc.
By keeping in contact with your colleagues, you can keep one another up to date on the work you have completed and what you have left to do. This can motivate you to get your work done, especially if you’re working with a colleague on a big project.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can’t be sociable. If you live with others, make sure to take a break from your work and go and have a quick chat with them throughout the day.
You could even call one of your colleagues throughout the day to chat about work and set out a plan of what you can both work on together.
It’s also extremely important to explain to people you live with that you are working from home. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can sit and have a chat for an hour or two and not get any work done. They will need to understand that you will need to be left alone for most of the day unless you’re having a quick break from your work. Be clear with them that you can’t be disturbed during the hours that you’re working.
We're lucky today that the majority of us can do our jobs remotely. With a massive push into Cloud-based software, applications, and storage, we can easily access anything we need to do our jobs from anywhere, at any time.
If you would like to know more about Cloud Accounting Solutions or CRM and how it could help your team with remote working, please get in touch!
What is Payroll software
Payroll is something every business may want to invest in, no matter how big or small you are. Payroll software will help to manage and process the payments which are made to employees. You can discuss with your employees the date and time in which they will receive money from your company.
Your employee's pay will need to be on time to avoid poor performance and to avoid legal complications. When you pay your employees on time, you are helping to maintain that trust you have with them. We all know that payday is the day of the month in which your employees will be most happy, so don't ruin that for them by paying them late. They may have bills to pay on the day they're supposed to get paid and if it's late, it could cause them financial trouble and you risk ruining your relationships with your employee's, along with your reputation. You don’t want to be known as the company who can’t pay their employees on time.
When it comes to payroll, your business will want to invest in a reliable, computerised payroll system, as it can help you to carry out your payments with efficiency and confidence. The payroll software can also be used to calculate payments, withhold tax and deposit weekly or monthly payments into the bank accounts of your employees. The only thing you really need to do is to input the wage amount, the number of hours they worked per week and their bank account details.
Do I need Payroll software?
When looking into whether your business can benefit from having Payroll software, you will have to keep in mind that there are more advantages than disadvantages for introducing a payroll software to your business.
There are many advantages as to why your business should be using payroll software. One of these is that using payroll software takes minimal effort and it will save you a huge amount of time. You don’t have to sit around and calculate bonuses or holiday pay as the payroll software will do most of the work for you.
If your business is using a manual payroll process, you always have that worry in the back of your mind of making a mistake which could cause upset with your employees. A manual payroll process is also time-consuming. So, if you do make the switch to a computerised payroll software, you will realise how much more free time you have which could be spent getting on with work projects, etc. Payroll software will also allow you to keep on top of rates and allowance changes. This makes it easier for your accounting team as the calculations of new monthly payments would have been updated by the software.
The only downside about having a Payroll software is that cyber-security is on the rise. This goes for any other IT system that your business may use because they all have their weak points. If a breach were to happen and a cyber-hacker managed to access your payroll software, they would gain access to the details on your employees such as their names, bank details and much more. If you do make the switch from manual payroll to payroll software, make sure you back up your data and IT systems regularly. If a breach were to take place, it could potentially have a huge impact on your business.
Manual Payroll vs Computerised Payroll
A manual payroll will involve someone from your accounting team to work out calculations for each pay period, entirely by hand. This is usually a very slow and time-consuming process. The records will be kept on paper and although this method is cheaper than a computerised payroll, it's more prone to human error. Manual payroll is usually used in businesses with no more than 10 employees.
A computerised payroll uses software which allows the user to carry out routine payroll tasks more efficiently. The computerised payroll will automate processes such as calculations, tax returns, reports, and deductions. The only thing that you will have to manually put into the payroll software is; employee's details when they first join the business, make changes when their rates of pay increase or decrease, change tax codes and enter details of hours worked during the week/month and if any overtime has taken place.
As you can tell by reading the last two points, a computerised payroll is quicker and more accurate than if someone in your business was to do your manual payroll by hand.
How Payroll software works
The payroll software can be used to calculate payments, withhold tax and deposit weekly or monthly payments into the bank accounts of your employees. The only thing you really need to do is to input the wage amount, the number of hours they work per week and their bank account details.
There are many different features within payroll software. Many software's will offer extra features and functions such as creating and sending payslips to your employees, at the same time, every month. Some payroll software's can also produce detailed reports.
Sage 50 Payroll
It is known that half of businesses in the UK pay their employees with Sage 50 Payroll. Sage 50 Payroll is an affordable, HMRC recognised, cloud-based payroll software which is ideal for smaller businesses, charities and retail stores in the UK. Sage 50 Payroll also works with international enterprises across the world. Sage ensures that as a business, you’ll never have to worry about payslip errors impacting relationships with your employees!
Sage 50 Payroll can be used across a variety of different devices such as Mac, PC, and mobile. This will allow for a more flexible way of paying your employees. By having Sage Payroll on your mobile or tablet, it will help to manage your payroll on the go, 24/7, no matter where you are.
There are frequent software updates within Sage 50 Payroll which will keep you up to date with the latest payroll legislation!
If your business has more than 10 employees, you may want to consider moving over to Payroll software if you haven't already. If you have any questions about Sage 50 payroll, please get in touch with us here.
Multi-Award Winning Sage Business Partner
Sage 200 | Sage 50 | Sage Financials | Sage CRM
Training | Consultancy | Support | Software Implementation Specialists
Phone: 01824 780000
One of the most important things within a business is to build and improve relationships with your customers. One easy way to do this is by improving your customer service. Keeping your customers happy can be a challenge, but poor customer service can potentially ruin your business.
When new or old customers come to your support team with any questions or queries, the one thing they will take away from that will be the interaction they had with your company. Your support team is essentially the heart of your business and therefore should maintain excellent relationships with your customers.
Here at itas, we are big on maintaining those great relationships with new and existing customers. We strive to make sure that none of our customers have any problems or are missing key information with our products and if they do, we will fix it as quickly as possible.
Contact information is easily accessible
Our support team is always on hand to help those that need help with our products. There are several different ways our customers can get in touch with us, through a free to call phone number, email or online chat.
We also offer product-specific user guides on our website which are step by step, free to download guides to help both customers and non-customers with several different processes such as adding a new company, how to process payments and even how to perform a VAT Return in Sage 200. We make our customers aware of these guides from the start so they can try and problem-solve themselves before asking us to help. We also make sure customers know that they can request guides too.
Ensure your support team are friendly and patient
We know how frustrating it can be when a problem occurs, so we make sure our customers know they can always give us a call. Our support team are on hand from 8:30am until 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. So, if they do come across a problem or are unsure of something, they know they can just pick up the phone and give us a call.
One of the most important things to us as a business is friendly customer support. The support team is full of friendly people that have been trained to deal with frustrated customers. We understand that patience is key when it comes to helping our customers as not everybody is an expert with technology.
The support team are trained regularly
We make sure our support team are trained regularly. When a new product has been released, we make sure they become more familiar with the latest products which will allow them to assist our customers more efficiently. Not only do we want to give our customers good, customer support but we also want to make sure our support team are confident in their knowledge and abilities, which in turn makes them provide excellent customer service.
Our support team are cross-product, they make sure to talk to those around them to learn off one another when they have the time. Not only do we do official training courses with Sage but we also make sure we do internal training, allowing members of the team who are more knowledgeable in a certain area to share their knowledge with the rest of the team.
If you’re speaking to someone from the support team and they’re not 100% certain on your query, they will be honest with you and pass you onto someone who will be more informed with what you’re asking.
If the support team are getting the same or similar issues from several customers, they will often make a note of it. One thing they’re most likely to do is to make a blog or guide out of it for our website, we then feature it in our newsletter so our customers are kept up-to-date with any new learning materials that may benefit them. This saves the customer and the support team time and makes it so that they don’t have to repeat themselves over again. It’s also so much more helpful to the customer as they will have a visual image in front of them on how to fix their query and rather than always relying on the support team they can become more self-sufficient.
Once a support case has been closed, an email is sent out to the customer to gather their feedback using Customer Thermometer. The customer can leave either named or anonymous feedback, rating the support received out of five and also able to leave a comment too.
Something we have introduced within the last year is allocating a dedicated account manager to each customer. The account manager calls the customer periodically for a catch up on how things are going for them and the business. They use this chance to gather feedback on whether there is anything we can do better. It also provides the customer with an opportunity to discuss any recent support cases, how their system is working for them and any company updates.
A support team is a great asset to your business if you’re wanting to maintain and build relationships with your customers. If customers have had a positive interaction with your support team in the past, they’re likely to recommend your business to friends, family, and peers. Once a customer has enrolled in a support contract with us, we send out a welcome pack that details all the above information so they know how to contact us, where our help guides live, how to provide feedback, who their account manager is and what to expect from our support team! We have found this to be extremely beneficial to our customers.
A little bit about itas
With over 20 years of expertise and a passion for finding business solutions, itas have unrivaled Sage product knowledge. Helping customers find their ideal software solution to take their business to the next level. Sage and itas have a collective goal of enabling businesses to reach their full potential which in turn; increases productivity, efficiency, control, and visibility over business finances.
Multi-Award Winning Sage Business Partner
Sage 200 | Sage 50 | Sage Financials | Sage CRM
Training | Consultancy | Support | Software Implementation Specialists
Phone: 01824 780000