Today we are pleased to launch myprosperity@home: an insightful video interview series presented by Chris Ridd, myprosperity Director. The series uncovers stories from many great myprosperity partners on how they are coping with managing their advice businesses from home.

With the world of business going into hibernation and everyone now forced to work from home, just about every aspect of our professional life has been thrown into turmoil. You hear stories and experiences from different people about how they are coping in this new remote world where “social distancing” is now a strangely familiar term in our vernacular.

My experience with remote working, otherwise known as “teleworking”, actually dates back to my Xero days when in 2012 I was appointed to the Federal Government’s Telework Advisory Panel. The mission of this panel was to help inform the (then Labor) government on policy initiatives that would encourage businesses to embrace telework and thereby effect positive social, economic and environmental changes. Benefits identified back then included work-life flexibility for employees, reduced traffic congestion, less carbon emissions, increased workforce participation amongst regional, elderly & disabled members of society and so on. These topics and many more were discussed at the Telework Congress in Melbourne in 2012

When I reflect on my participation on that panel, our biggest challenge was in convincing businesses across the board that telework was a good thing, based on all the reasons outlined above. However in 2013, our mission suffered a high profile setback with announcements, first from Yahoo and then Hewlett Packard, both declaring that “working from home” was overrated and insisting that their staff perform duties in the office. As noted by then CEO of HP, Meg Whitman, “We now need to build a stronger culture of engagement and collaboration and the more employees we get into the office the better company we will be.”

There’s no question that having staff physically working in the office and collaborating face-to-face has its benefits, but what if that was not possible? In my 2 years on the advisory panel never did we plan for or even conceive that perhaps one day companies may not have a choice. So as I sit here 8 years on, in the midst of a global pandemic as a result of Covid-19, it’s clear that telework is no longer a cultural nice-to-have but rather, a mandatory and very sudden workplace reality.

In recent weeks I’ve been reaching out to my network of advisers to understand how they are coping with life away from the office from managing staff, engaging clients, implementing processes remotely and using technology. It has become clear that some are dealing with this crisis better than others. On a positive note, what I’ve discovered amid the stress of a global pandemic is that there really are some great practices and ideas worth sharing. So in the spirit of “working remotely” I decided to develop this (Zoom) video series that I’ve dubbed myprosperity@home.

As we remain in lockdown over the weeks ahead, possibly months, I will be speaking with a number of myprosperity’s financial planning and/or accounting partners to learn how they are coping with this new social distancing reality. How are they working with clients? What are they helping them with? How is their business faring during these trying times? Are there new opportunities that arise from working remotely and how is technology helping them to connect with the outside world? Importantly, how are they staying healthy in both mind and body.

I look forward to sharing these stories with you, and of course, I welcome your input and insights as we go on this unprecedented journey together… albeit from a safe distance 🙂

Written by Chris Ridd, Director of myprosperity