James Nadal
3 minutes length
Posted: 6th May 2020

Lifting lockdown: Staggered work hours and parallel teams

By David Parker

Details of the Government’s strategy to lift the lockdown and get businesses back to work are emerging this week, with staggered work hours for staff one of the key points.

The Transport Secretary Grant Schapps says the move would help to prevent crowded commutes and reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Other media reports about the blueprints for restarting the economy have suggested firms will be advised to split their staff into parallel teams to keep office numbers down to lower the chances of transmission.

Mr Schapps told Sky News: “Things like staggering work times, obviously are very important to avoid those morning peaks. The crushes would be completely at odds with social distancing.”

Crowded city centre offices and rush hours will become a thing of the past, with flexible working the ‘new normal’, the chief executives of Barclays and WPP have said.

With these and many other changes on the horizon, accountancy partners are facing imminent hard questions on the practicalities of running a business and working out a way forward to survive and succeed.

How does your practice adjust?

How is your accountancy practice placed to cope with and implement these changes? What practical measures and planning have you done so far?

Staggering working hours could become a big headache when planning your jobs and trying to maintain productivity. You have to factor in annual leave, sickness, and maybe even continuation of furlough, among other things.

You have to think about how to divide your team. Who will be working when and how do you make those decisions? Will it be the same each week or will there be a rota? For example, team A starts at 7am on week one of the month, team B starts at 10am, then they switch the following week.

Importantly too, the practice needs to carefully consider customer expectations when designing its new hours of operation. If some of your team are starting much earlier, does that mean your practice will provide cover for a longer period too – maybe 7am to 7pm instead of 9am to 5pm?

Will you have parallel teams, with one in the office one week and the other remote working, and vice-versa the week after? How do you accommodate your staff’s individual requirements and circumstances?

How can IRIS help?

Our software can support you to adapt to and overcome some of the challenges posed by staggered working hours, rotas, and parallel teams.

IRIS Practice Management works as the hub of your business, giving you a real-time, single, unified view of your staff, job planning, and clients. You can plan, manage, track, and control staff, clients and jobs thanks to sharing the same single database as IRIS Accountancy Suite. Customers say it saves them 2.5 hours per person per month on average.

Also, with the Staff Planning tool, you get an easy way to organise your team’s work, diary organisation linked to job planning, and auto bulk reassignment.

IRIS is here to help and bring certainty in these uncertain times so you can meet your customers’ needs, whatever life throws your way. Visit our hub for more resources and support on coping with the coronavirus crisis.