Tax UK

Last week’s Summer statement from the Chancellor badged as “A Plan for Jobs” announced a number of additional supports and measures aimed at the retention of as many jobs as possible and assistance for the UK hospitality and housing markets. Read our NI Tax Committee Chair’s reaction to the statement and see GOV.UK.  The key announcements last week were:-   Jobs retention bonus  A jobs retention bonus will be paid to employers to cover the period from 1/11/2020 to 31/1/21 – this will comprise a £1,000 bonus per furloughed employee who is returned to work with payments to be made from February 2021. See our news story later on this.  Stamp duty land tax zero per cent threshold  The stamp duty land tax residential properties zero per cent threshold in England and NI was raised to £500,000 (from £125,000) from last Wednesday until 31/3/2021.  The following guidance has been published/updated as a result of this change:-  Stamp Duty Land Tax: temporary reduced rates  Stamp Duty Land Tax: higher rates on purchases of additional residential properties  Stamp Duty Land Tax rates from 1 December 2003 to 3 December 2014  Stamp Duty Land Tax: relief for first time buyers - guidance note  Stamp Duty Land Tax rates from 1 December 2003 to 3 December 2014  Stamp Duty Land Tax: linked purchases or transfers  Leasehold sales on Stamp Duty Land Tax  What to include in a Stamp Duty Land Tax calculation  Stamp Duty Land Tax relief for land or property transactions  Stamp Duty Land Tax: shared ownership property  Stamp Duty Land Tax: transfer ownership of land or property  VAT on hospitality   VAT on hospitality (food only but not alcohol (eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes and pubs), accommodation (hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites) and attractions (cinemas, theme parks and zoos)) will be cut from 20% to 5% from Wednesday 15 July 2020 until 12 January 2021.   HMRC has published a Revenue and Customs Brief setting out the measure in detail. HMRC has also published the following related guidance: VAT on admission charges to attractions; and VAT: reduced rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions.  Eat Out to Help Out Scheme  In August 2020, the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme will allow diners 50 per cent off Monday to Wednesday on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, when eating at participating restaurants, bars, cafes, and other establishments that have registered.   Businesses will need to register, and can do so through a website, open today. Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within 5 working days. Detailed guidance on the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and registration details for restaurants and establishments is now available.

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Readers are reminded that claims for the first grant under the self-employed income support scheme (“SEISS”) must be made by today Monday 13 July.   Claims for the second grant are expected to open in August 2020. In order to qualify for the second SEISS grant, the business must be adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic on or after 14 July 2020. HMRC has recently updated their guidance on the meaning of this. Anyone seeking to make a claim should review this guidance before applying and consider carefully if their circumstances qualify.   HMRC has also recently updated the guidance for the SEISS to confirm an extension of eligibility. This extension affects self-employed parents who did not submit a tax return for 2018/2019, or whose trading profits in 2018/19 were less than their other income, and were therefore ineligible for the SEISS, because they were taking time out of their trade to care for their new-born or newly adopted child (i.e. within 12 months of the birth of the child or within 12 months of an adoption placement).  Such individuals will be able to claim for the SEISS, as long as they meet the other standard eligibility criteria, using either their 2017/18 or both their 2016/17 and 2017/18 self-assessment returns as the basis for their eligibility and grant calculation. Those who have become eligible can make a claim for the first SEISS grant, the second SEISS grant, or both (depending on when their businesses may have been adversely affected by the pandemic) when applications for the second grant open in August.    This is an amendment to bring these individuals into eligibility for the scheme. It does not affect the grant calculation for those who submitted a 2018/19 return and were already eligible.  The extension complements the Government confirming recently that parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months after a long period of absence will be permitted to be furloughed under the job retention scheme.  

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Next reading of the Finance Bill which will become the Finance Act 2020 is scheduled for 17 July 2020 in the House of Lords. At present the Bill currently contains provisions allowing HMRC to recover monies paid under the job retention scheme which the employer was not entitled to by imposing an income tax charge equivalent to 100% of the relevant grant not repaid.   Under the proposed legislation, if an employer notifies HMRC within 90 days of the later of when Royal Assent is granted to the Finance Bill, or when the income tax became chargeable, they will be able to repay money wrongly received under the job retention scheme without incurring any sanction or penalty. The Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent later this month. 

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Last week the Chancellor announced the introduction of the Job Retention Bonus (“JRB”). HMRC has also sent an update on the coronavirus job retention scheme (“CJRS”) – this update refers to calls to selected employers to discuss their claims. We have contacted HMRC to ascertain more details on this and will publish on receipt.  The JRB will be a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. The bonus is designed to provide additional support to retain employees.  To be eligible, employees will need to:  earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December, and January;  have been furloughed at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; and  have been continuously employed up until at least 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021.  Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate Real Time Information data to 31‌‌‌ ‌January has been received. More information about this scheme will be available by 31‌‌‌ ‌July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn.  HMRC has also sent the below message about the CJRS  “Updates on CJRS scheme  We would also like to make you aware of some key dates on the CJRS scheme that might affect your clients:  Claiming for employees furloughed on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June  You or your clients need to claim by 31‌‌‌ ‌July for employees furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June.  Get ready for changes from 1‌‌‌ ‌August  Employers will no longer be able to use a CJRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees from 1‌‌‌ ‌August. You or your clients can submit August claims in advance, from 20‌‌‌ ‌July.  Working out your claims  You or your clients can use our online examples and calculator to help work out what you can claim, for claims ending on or before 31‌‌‌ ‌July. From 10‌‌‌ ‌July you will also be able to use these to help you work out claims ending on or before 31‌‌‌ ‌August. Search for 'calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.  Made a mistake on your claim?  You or your clients can now delete a claim online within 72 hours of submitting it. Search 'claim for wages through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.  Calls to customers  We are contacting selected employers to discuss their claims. These calls will be to check they haven’t made any mistakes and to help make sure they’re claiming the correct amount.  Further support  Live webinars on changes to the scheme and how they impact you and your clients are available to book online – search 'help and support if your business is affected by coronavirus' on GOV‌‌‌.UK. Please leave our phone lines open for those who need them most.  Protect yourself from scams  Stay vigilant about scams which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌‌‌‌.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.”  The guidance for the CJRS was also updated last week. The table below details the changes:-     Page title Changes   All Pages Call out box to be updated on 08/07/2020 to reflect announcement of Job Retention Bonus. The Job Retention Bonus was announced on 8 July. More information can be found in the government’s Plan for Jobs. 1 Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Employee Page) Added wording to 'while you are on furlough' section to make clear that your employer can continue to claim for you while you are serving a statutory notice period. 2 Check if you can claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Adjusted text to add clarity to 'Paying employee taxes and pension contributions.' Added wording to section on employee rights to make clear that you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period. 3 Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Structural changes section on claiming for individuals who are not classed as employees moved to new separate page that will be linked to. page content restructured under revised headings for a more logical layout. Added wording to section on redundancy to make clear that you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period. 4 Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Wording added to make clear that HMRC will not decline or seek repayment of any grant based solely on the particular choice between fixed or variable approach to calculating usual hours, as long as a reasonable choice is made. 5 Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Adjusted wording to reflect that the calculator can now be used to calculate what you can claim for in a claim period ending on or before 31 August. Wording around the full calculation example improved and includes link to new full example for August. Wording added to section on 'working how much you can claim for employer NICs' clarifying steps to take if your employee's pay period goes beyond 30 June. 6 Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Wording added to support new functionality that allows users to delete a claim up to 72 hours after they have made it. (Published in support of service 02/07/20) Wording relating to what you must use the grant for in 'after you have claimed' section adjusted to add clarity. Detail on information needed if claiming for 100 or more employees improved and aligned with section above. Wording added to reflect that we are developing a process to recover overclaimed grant amounts through the tax system. 7 Reporting employees' wages to HMRC when you've claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Adjusted the wording to make clearer that both employee and employer National Insurance contributions have to be paid to HMRC on the full amount. 8 Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme   9 Examples of how to calculate your employees' wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions   10 Full Calculation Example Introduction text and layout tweaked New full example included for August in support of calculator update. 11 Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back   12 Individuals you can claim for that are not employees This is a new page has content which was removed from 'check which employees' about the eligibility 'individuals that are not employees' that is not frequently needed and so can be separated out to reduce the length of core page.  

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Read the latest on the Making Tax Digital for VAT in the latest update. 

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Do you use HMRC online services? Don’t be caught out by the planned downtime to some services. HMRC are warning about the non-availability of specific services on the HMRC website, a range of services are impacted. Check the relevant page for information on planned downtime. 

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Check out the latest items on the Agent Forum. Remember, in order to view each item you must have signed up for and be logged in.   All agents, who are a member of a professional body, are invited to join HMRC’s Agent Forum. This dedicated Agent Forum is hosted in a private area within the HMRC’s Online Taxpayer Forum. You can interact with other agents and HMRC experts to discuss topical issues and processes. 

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

Today’s tidbits cover the latest HMRC performance stats and the most recent Trusts and Estates newsletter.  The latest Tax Gap statistics have been published. According to the publication, this is estimated to be £31 billion for 2018/19 and is the lowest recorded rate;  In the most recent Agent Update, HMRC sets out its approach to calculating top slicing relief on chargeable event gains in the wake of legislative changes announced in Budget 2020;  The latest HMRC monthly performance reports have been published: May 2020 and April 2020;  An updated list of community amateur sports clubs registered with HMRC has been published;  The latest Trusts and Estates newsletter  is available  Calculate interest and penalties for tax years ended 5 April 1998 to 5 April 2019 has been updated; and  Angela MacDonald has been appointed Deputy CEO and Second Permanent Secretary of HMRC following an external competition.

Jul 13, 2020
Tax

A new report published by the OECD highlights work undertaken on building tax systems in developing countries, unlocking a range of tools, experience, and expertise to meet the tax challenges of the 21st century. The report sets out the range of the OECD’s work with developing countries in 2019. For more information read the report.  

Jul 13, 2020
Tax

A Progress Report published by the OECD highlights the Platform for Collaboration on Tax’s work since June 2019 under three workstreams: co-operation and exchange of information in DRM capacity development activities, analytical activities, and outreach activities. For more information read the report.    

Jul 13, 2020
Tax RoI

The CCAB-I’s 2021 Pre-Budget Submission to the Government, has generated significant media coverage in today’s news. You can read the full press release and associated coverage on the Irish Independent, RTE News, RTE Radio 1 – Morning Ireland, and the Irish Examiner (print).

Jul 13, 2020
Tax

The OECD has published the second edition of its Corporate Tax Statistics report. For the first time, the report includes anonymised and aggregated Country-by-Country Reporting (CbCR) statistics for 2016. The statistics have been prepared by 26 OECD Inclusive Framework members and represent almost 4000 multinational enterprise (MNEs). The report shows that Ireland receives more of its corporation tax revenue from MNEs than any other jurisdiction in the world - MNEs account for 65 per cent of corporation tax receipts in Ireland. The next highest percentage is in the United States at 56 per cent.  The OECD outlines that while the data contain some limitations and it is not possible to detect trends in BEPS behaviour from a single year of data, the statistics suggest a number of preliminary insights:  There is a misalignment between the location where profits are reported and the location where economic activities occur, with MNEs in investment hubs reporting a relatively high share of profits compared to their share of employees and tangible assets. Revenues per employee tend to be higher where statutory CIT rates are zero and in investment hubs. On average, the share of related party revenues in total revenues is higher for MNEs in investment hubs. The composition of business activity differs across jurisdiction groups, with the predominant business activity in investment hubs being “holding shares and other equity instruments”. For more information read the OECD’s press release and the report. 

Jul 13, 2020
Tax UK

The UK government has updated its guidance on importing goods from the EU into Great Britain from 1 January 2021. Take a look at some of the important links. Prepare to import goods from the EU to Great Britain from 1 January 2021 Declaring goods brought into Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021 Moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 Labelling and marketing standards from 1 January 2021 Export licences and certificates from 1 January 2021

Jul 13, 2020
Tax International

Included in the July infringements package, The European Commission has sent a letter of formal notice to Belgium requesting it to correctly transpose the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD). For the ATAD to be correctly transposed in Belgium it needs to implement the ATAD compliant interest limitation rules and Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules. The Commission can send a reasoned opinion to the Belgian authorities if it does not act within the next three months.  

Jul 13, 2020
Brexit

The UK government has announced the launch of a major new public information campaign, ‘The UK’s new start: let’s get going’. The campaign is aimed towards setting out the actions businesses and individuals need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. The campaign includes the “Check, Change, Go” tool which will help people and businesses to identify necessary next steps they need to take if travelling to the UK. The campaign will run across the full range of communication channels, including TV advertising and radio, out of home, digital, print, and direct channels such as text messages and Webinars. The campaign will also see the launch of a field force team which will give one-to-one support in person or over the phone to businesses and their supply chains to minimise disruption to the movement of goods. It will target UK citizens intending to travel to Europe from 1 January 2021 and all importers to and exporters from the EU, alongside UK nationals living in the EU and EU, EEA or Swiss citizens living in the UK.

Jul 13, 2020
Brexit

Following last week’s discussions between chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterparts, Mr Barnier has confirmed that significant divergences remain between the EU and UK. While there is a common commitment to continue working together with patience, respect &  determination, the European Commission has published communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the EU and the UK. Titled, “Getting ready for changes”, this document highlights main areas of change that will take place in any event as of the end of the transition period, irrespective of whether or not there is an agreement on a future partnership between the two blocs. The document also urges public administrations, businesses and citizens in the EU to urgently take all the necessary readiness measures to prepare for these changes with a view to minimising the cost of disruptions as much as possible.

Jul 13, 2020
Press release

The group representing Irish accountancy bodies has called on the government to introduce emergency measures for the SME sector in Budget 2021 to help them withstand the impact of Covid-19 in the coming months. The Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies -Ireland (CCAB-I) launched its 2021 Pre-Budget Submission to Government today.  Concessions in terms of how the Government will tax Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme payments and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are urgently required. For example, if an employee receives €350 per week under the TWSS, this amounts to €7,700 over 22 weeks and is a substantial amount of untaxed income for a worker to deal with at the end of the year. Tax due on these payments should be spread over four years or more to avoid a significant drop in the worker’s take home pay.  The Submission acknowledges the unprecedented supports provided to date, however, warns that in the absence of further extraordinary supports, many SMEs in Ireland cannot survive. Measures proposed in the Submission cover tax supports for self-employed individuals, measures to support SME recovery and tax rule reforms to reflect modern work practices.  Anticipating that many self-employed individuals will not be in a position to pay their income tax liability due in November this year, the Submission proposes the write-down of the first €10,000 of the balance of the 2019 tax liability of self-employed individuals on a targeted basis for those in financial difficulty as a highly effective means of support.  With an eye to supporting entrepreneurship and incentivising investment, among the measures the Submission also proposes are the implementation of the recommendations of the Indecon Report on the Revised Entrepreneur Relief; the tailoring of R&D tax credits to facilitate the economic recovery of the SME sector; the introduction of a digital tax credit for SMEs; and the refining of the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme (EIIS) rules to generate much needed equity funding for SMEs operating in difficult economic circumstances. Commenting Norah Collender, Professional Tax Lead, Chartered Accountants Ireland said, “When we talk about small businesses, we mean local retailers, manufacturers, hospitality, and service providers. They are reeling from the economic impact of COVID-19and face liquidity pressures which could result in business closures without Government support. The tax system is a powerful means of getting supports to SMEs, which in turn always respond positively with increased economic activity. “The Programme for Government talks about many tax initiatives to help small business which it must follow through on as soon as possible along with extending emergency tax measures introduced by Revenue.  Small businesses need to know where they stand so a practical way of doing this is for Revenue to confirm that its emergency tax measures will remain in place for the rest of 2020.    “It’s natural for any Government faced with a deficit to consider cutting back tax supports but such a move will mean the end for many businesses.  SMEs account for over 1 million employees, or 68.4% of total employment in the Irish business economy and economic recovery is simply impossible if these businesses don’t get the tax supports they need.” 

Jul 13, 2020

Chartered Accountants Ireland Chartered Accountants Ireland has updated the Technical and business updates page on our COVID-19 Hub with updates on Auditing implications of Coronavirus, Financial Reporting implications of Coronavirus and Information for insolvency practitioners.  We have also updated our page on Other Regulator Updates for both ROI and NI / UK in response to COVID-19.   Ireland The Companies Registration Office (CRO) have published their 2019 Annual Report.  UK A SORP engagement process has begun as convenors are appointed to take forward discussions on the next SORP. The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) sets out the framework for how larger charities prepare their annual report and accounts. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has announced its ‘principles for operational separation’ of the audit practices of the Big Four firms. The FRC has this week issued a revision of its standard for the identification and assessment of risks of material misstatement in an audit of financial statements. The revised standard (ISA (UK) 315 (Revised – July 2020) - Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement) adopts the revisions made to the underlying international standard issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Board (IAASB).    Europe Accountancy Europe have issued their June SME Update. The Eumedion Foun­da­tion based in the Nether­lands has published a position paper 'Towards a global, investor focused standard setter for corporate non-fi­nan­cial reporting' calling on the IFRS Foun­da­tion to establish such a stan­dard-set­ter. Following an EFRAG Board meeting earlier in the week, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) has issued final en­dorse­ment advice on ' Extension of the Temporary Exemption from Applying IFRS 9 (Amend­ments to IFRS 4)'. In February 2020, the European Com­mis­sion (EC) launched an ini­tia­tive to review the European Non-Fi­nan­cial Reporting Directive, One of the aspects of the review looks at whether to mandate the use of a common set of non-fi­nan­cial reporting standards and whether these should be es­pe­cially developed European standards. The EC has now sent two letters to EFRAG asking it to undertake prepara­tory work for the possible elab­o­ra­tion of such standards.  International The IFRS Foundation has appointed 21 new members and one observer to the SME Implementation Group (SMEIG) for a three-year term starting 1 July 2020. On 7 July 2020, IASB member Ann Tarca delivered a speech at the virtual annual con­fer­ence of the Accounting & Finance As­so­ci­a­tion of Australia and New Zealand (AFAANZ). She discussed digital reporting and included questions for prac­ti­tion­ers, stan­dard-set­ters and re­searchers.      

Jul 09, 2020
Management

By Teresa Campbell The last few months have been a difficult time for employers and their teams. Many employers had to avail of government incentives as businesses were forced to deal with the lockdown brought about by COVID-19. Some employees working from home have struggled with feelings of isolation; others have experienced pressure due to crèches and schools being closed, and those caring for elderly or less able relatives have found that many of their usual supports were unavailable during the lockdown. Workplaces that remained open, or are now reopening as restrictions ease, have had to implement changes to keep staff, clients and other visitors as safe as possible as we learn to live with COVID-19. Concern about the impact of the pandemic, along with the emotional and economic pressures that many people are experiencing at present, makes it more important than ever for leaders to reassure, inspire and motivate their teams. The six Cs of confidence, clarity, communication, cooperation, community involvement and celebrating success all have a role to play in this regard.   Confidence: to successfully motivate your team, you must inspire confidence. With so much uncertainty and change at present, it is important to be flexible so that you can adapt quickly to overcome challenges and grasp opportunities. While you may have fears about the impact of the pandemic, it is vital to remain calm and show that you have a realistic plan to take your business forward. Prioritise wellbeing by implementing effective health and safety protocols, both in the workplace and for employees working from home. Clarity: set clear, short-term goals and empower your team to manage their own contributions. Recognise that people are working in a changed environment, and be open to allowing people to find new ways to solve problems. Monitor performance, and seek and give regular feedback to ensure everyone stays on track. Communication: clarity and consistency are essential when it comes to communication. This helps ensure that employees, clients and other stakeholders share the same understanding of how your business is responding to the changes ahead. Don’t over-rely on email. Face-to-face, voice and video communication channels should also be part of your communications mix. Cooperation: when we work together, everyone achieves more. Teamwork, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose are great motivators. Organising virtual coffee breaks for remote teams and encouraging individuals to share tips on how they motivate themselves is as relevant now as it was at the start of the pandemic. Community involvement: many leaders today want their businesses to be socially responsible. They recognise that encouraging teams to give something back to their community enhances motivation and helps strengthen employees’ pride in the organisation they work for. Celebrate success: recognise and reward successes – whether that’s achieving a goal, winning a new client, raising funds for charity, or individual achievements, such as passing an exam. People are at the heart of every business and leaders need to be supported by teams that are committed to their individual roles, focused on exceeding client expectations and capable of identifying future business opportunities. Now, more than ever, motivating your team is crucial as you adapt and drive your business forward. Teresa Campbell is a Director at PKF-FPM Accountants Ltd.

Jul 09, 2020
Careers

By Moira Dunne Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, many people are still working from home over the summer months. Staying focused can be difficult, as home working presents many distractions. In last month’s article, I gave some tips for managing distractions at home. The summer introduces a new set of distractions, however, such as good weather and school holidays. In this article, I will outline some strategies to help maintain motivation and productivity in the months ahead. The challenge is to stay focused so you can get your work done. There are two things you can do: manage yourself and manage others. Manage yourself Managing yourself means understanding what impacts on your productivity while placing a high value on your time. Think of your workday as a simple equation: you have X amount of work to do in Y amount of time. Be clear about the work you should prioritise each week and each day. Then, protect your time for those priorities by negotiating when asked to do additional pieces of work and saying no to non-essential activities. This can be hard to do, but it is essential to stay on track. If you find that summer weather affects your productivity, turn this distraction into a motivator. By setting a goal to finish on time, you will be more inclined to stay on track during the day. You will procrastinate less and not be as distracted by time-wasting activities. Instead, you will be focused on the prize of getting out into that good weather. Be strategic and adjust your plan if you know the forecast is good, for example, starting earlier than usual so you can get through all your work to finish early. Manage others Working at home while minding children is hard. Now that the school term is finished, your homework routine is probably gone. Is it time for a new plan? Involve your kids in coming up with ideas and create a summer routine together. Design the plan to incorporate your work hours. One approach is to work in time blocks to take advantage of the quiet times in your house. To optimise your productivity, plan to work on your priority tasks during these high-focus time blocks. Save your low-level, administrative tasks for periods when there will be more noise and distraction. Here is a sample schedule that may help you plan your alternative workday: 6am to 8am: high-focus work. 8am to 8:30am: breakfast with the kids. 8:30am to 10am: kids’ activities while you do low-focus tasks like email responses or attend an online meeting. 10am to 12pm: outdoor activity with the kids. 12 noon to 2pm: high-focus work while your kids have some downtime and a lunch picnic. 2pm to 3pm: time away from work for an activity with the kids. 3pm to 5pm: low-focus tasks like email responses or online meetings. If necessary, do a short time block later to complete some administrative tasks. Design a plan that suits your parenting and working responsibilities. Perhaps you can avail of a summer camp or childminding by a relative to increase your options and flexibility. Be productive To be productive, you must be pragmatic about your circumstances and do what you can to optimise your working time. By using a well-planned routine, you can give yourself a higher chance of managing your time and productivity. Have a great summer! Moira Dunne is a productivity consultant and Founder and Director at BeProductive.ie.

Jul 09, 2020