Sweatpants, Showers, and Virtual Happy Hours: How Accountants Are Staying Sane at Home
May 12, 2020 | By John Siegel
In a recent webinar, FloQast’s own Mike Whitmire joined Andrea Tiller of Kranz & Associates, Judy Kopa of Gigster, and Jerry Raphael of Stack Overflow to discuss how they're helping their accounting teams be as productive and stress-free as possible.
While discussing the struggles of communicating and collaborating remotely, the panel shared the advice they're giving staff in order to help create a sense of normality. Somehow, this involved pants, how to politely leave a virtual happy hour, and the importance of cleanliness.
Here are a few not-so-important takeaways.
How to Gracefully Exit From the Virtual Happy Hour
If you’re working from home with kids, you understand they have a hard time realizing you’re “at work” when you’re seated at the kitchen table in sweats and your favorite comfy t-shirt. But the reverse can also be true. It can be hard for co-workers to remember that you’re at home and have other obligations, especially after office hours. Enter, the virtual happy hour.
Our webinar survey shows that about 40% of companies are using web meeting tools like Zoom to conduct virtual happy hours for the team. While some of your team members are starved for human contact and could stay on all night, others want to stop in and say hi, then get back to the family. It’s hard to make excuses, since there’s literally nowhere else you have to be, but apparently leaving the call can be a challenge too. So how do you make a graceful exit when it’s time to leave happy hour?
One savvy webinar participant recommending announcing that you’ve got something burning on the stove. It sounds like a valid strategy, but how, exactly, does it work? If honesty is the best policy, do you need to burn food to make your exit? Can the food be a metaphor for your family obligations? Is it wrong to set off a smoke alarm for effect? These are choices you’ll have to make for yourself.
Continuing this theme, I — someone who struggles mightily to take leave in a dignified manner — pulled together a handful of ways in which you can dismount from a virtual happy hour:
- Have someone call your phone: A true classic. Works perfectly for avoiding awkward in-person situations as well as when it's the third hour of the Zoom call and you want nothing more than to get back to doing nothing.
- Fake package delivery: "Guys, my new food processor is here! I'll talk to you next week!"
- "I need to eat": I used this one just the other day, and while it felt a little awkward to leave a few people hanging, it was totally true. No shame for pretending a package you didn't actually order just showed up at your front door.
- Just leave: I somehow acquired a minor in Irish Studies while in college, but aside from the many, many rebellions we studied, I don't recall learning the origin of "The Irish Goodbye." Face it, there are probably 10-15 people on the call. It will take them time to realize that you're gone, and when they do, they'll probably forget.
Shower Aren’t Just for Babies
We’d like to think all our webinars are helpful and filled with valuable information, but nearly two months locked inside can have a weird effect. Along with tips and tricks on communication, collaboration, and culture building, the panel implored viewers to remember to shower. That’s right, shower.
This is funny, but also serious. For some of us, getting ready in the morning is a chore that’s only required when others will see us. If we don’t leave the house, the task is cancelled. But remember, hygiene is self-care. Set a phone reminder if you must, but please take a few minutes each day to shower and brush your teeth, even if you’re the only person you’ll see all day. Sticking to a routine — as simple as it might be — is important.
A Brief History of Pants
The economy ebbs and flows and the coronavirus has impacted a lot of industries, not least of all the apparel industry. Reports show an increase in the sale of tops along with a decrease in pants sales. Is it wishful thinking to believe that pants just last longer? Or are pants going the way of the Dodo?
Companies who are seeing sustained sales for lower body clothing have seen a big shift toward sweatpants and leggings. FloQast CEO Mike Whitmire has helped support this trend. “Arguably, my favorite part of working from home is, for the audience, I am wearing sweatpants right now and it's amazing.”
Whether Mike was bragging that he was wearing pants or he's just really excited about sweatpants was unclear.
In keeping with the boss’s fashion choices, we fully support keeping it comfy at home. The only caveat: keep it comfy, but keep it clean. Self-care is still king. Mike recommends “Simple stuff like taking a shower, even if you're just going to put on a different pair of sweatpants right afterwards, it's a good thing to at least get the routine going and start the day from there.”
So, how are you holding up in this new normal?
What are you doing to stay safe and healthy and keep your company productive?