These times have been strange for sure. As a practice we feel that it’s been so important to keep our service running as close to normal as possible. In fact, sometimes it feels like our clients have never needed us more than they have in these past three months at a time when our team are also learning to work in new ways. We caught up with Naomi, our Newquay Client Manager to find out how she has embraced the current ‘new normal’ …

“There are some words which really stand out for me at this time: Growth, Family, Community, Me.

Most days I join Newquay’s Ocean Flow Yoga for their eight o’clock online yoga and meditation session. Each session begins with “Roots to Rise” where we take our bodies from being earthed to the ground and stretch to rise and grow throughout. I’m finding that in the privacy of my own home, I’m braver and more able to better my practice. I’m wondering if whether, despite lockdown, I’ve actually got stronger as I’m finding myself able to achieve yoga positions that previously seemed beyond me. I also think that this has helped me grow in confidence and it’s definitely proving a better way of starting the day than a morning rush and drive to the office.”

And that idea of growth doesn’t end there. In March, we launched our “Grow with Harlands” campaign, sending seeds far and wide to both clients and our Harlands team alike. Naomi says she’s really enjoyed taking the time to watch hers germinate and grow, nurturing them in the hope that like all things that are nurtured and care for, to yield the best produce.

Home schooling is an issue for many of the team at Harlands – how has Naomi, who has a young son, tackled it?

“With my husband also home, I’ve enjoyed watching their bond grow as they tackle maths and Nerf wars together.” A keen gym goer, Naomi and her husband have set up a mini gym at home and have been working out together, something they wouldn’t have done before. She says that their new normal is becoming a real “team effort” all round.

And how have we kept up the Harland team spirit over these last six weeks? It’s true to say that adrenalin has certainly kept us all fired up. Every single member of the team gets a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that we’re helping clients through what may well be the darkest days of their time in business. We hope that we’ve been able to make this difficult time more bearable for them.

To support each other, the Harlands team keeps in touch twice a day on a group conference call where we share knowledge and best practice, something that was critical when the new government support measures were first put in place. It feels like instead of being a multi-office organisation, we’re now one big team.

But of course, it’s not just about the techie, serious side of being an accountant. We’ve all worked together for years and grown very close, so it’s good to have a bit of light-hearted relief too. We hold the “Liz-Quiz” twice a week (courtesy of our very own Office Administrator Liz Webb) and our other team members have also contributed with their own digital versions of well-known quizzes.

So, what for the future? Director Deborah Edwards has spent much time preparing for what the future will look like for the practice and she’s optimistic. “I’ve been astounded by human ability to adapt, whether it’s our clients, our community or our team. The team adapted fantastically to becoming digital accountants. We’ve always been able to “work from anywhere” with the technology that we had, but three months on this has become a way of life that presents many opportunities for both ourselves and our clients. Whilst the team have missed sharing the space with each other, we’ve embraced being able to operate beyond physical boundaries that zoom calls make possible. Our team have also made the most of saving travel time, whether that’s an hour longer with children in the morning, a bit of time to read in peace or do an exercise class.” Deborah personally has relished working amongst with a garden view where colour and nature have accompanied and has vowed that life is too short to be stuck inside the confines of a dull office. A new approach to office space is afoot!

But most of all, it seems that where there’s uncertainty, much can be gained from taking everything one day at a time. And so, we’ll leave the last word to Naomi’s son. When asked what he’d remember of these days he said, “Thursdays when we clap and laugh across the street, singing happy birthday, trumpets playing, bells ringing and thinking about all the people who are helping.”

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