In today’s world, we have technology at our fingertips with constant contact to our co-workers via email or our best friend’s trending cat video on Facebook. Unfortunately, many CPA firm offices still resemble the horrors of Office Space circa 1999 with a sea of gray cubicles, multiple in person never ending meetings, and TPS reports (OK, maybe not the TPS reports exactly). But how is this promoting creativity and innovation exactly?
Many forward thinking companies recognize the benefits of workplace flexibility and have launched company wide work flexibility policies. Here are the top 5 reasons why work flexibility needs to hit mainstream CPA firm culture now.
- It makes people happier. Multiple studies have been completed showing an increase in employee satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty. A study by Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University showed that “Home working led to a 13% increase in productivity.” According to statistics compiled by Global Workplace Analytics, two-thirds of people want to work from home and 36 percent would choose that option over a pay raise. When employees have work autonomy and flexibility, they feel more valued and are more likely to talk positively about their workplace and stick around longer.
- It’s no longer the Mommy track. It was originally thought that if you started a flexible work arrangement that your career was officially over in terms of career advancement. Times have changed! Many moms, dads, baby boomers, and Millennial employees are demanding work flexibility. For Millennial dads, a recent study showed that 74 percent of fathers said they wanted more time with their children and also want work roles with greater responsibility. This shows that Dads and Moms both struggle with work life balance and work flexibility policies can help with this juggle.
- It’s cheaper. Work flexibility saves both employees and employers money in multiple ways. Employees save money and time from reduced commuting and during an illness. Employers are able to reduce office space and reduce turnover. For example, IBM slashed real estate costs by $50 million with the average real estate savings with full-time teleworker being $10,000 per employee per year.
- It’s trending. The Millennial generation is changing the way the world works. I’m not saying to follow everyone else into oncoming traffic to catch your next Pokémon. That’s probably not a good idea. But work flexibility is a great idea. Millennial employees now expect at least some form of flexibility in their jobs. According to a recent survey by FlexJobs, 85 percent would want to telecommute 100 percent of the time. We may not all be able to telecommute all the time but there are many low risk options that are a great way to start. I personally love the work at home Wednesday idea #WAHWednesday.
- It just works. A big reason against work flexibility is “how will I know if my employees are actually working?” If a company can’t trust its employees to work productively from home, why hire them in the first place? Studies consistently show that employees are happier, more productive, and more loyal. Employers can have a mandatory work in the office day for collaboration and meetings as well as assigned work from home days to reduce office square footage.
Work flexibility is such an important piece in attracting and retaining millennial employees that CPA firms need to get on board in a big way. This means creating firm wide flexibility policies instead of giving flexibility only to employees who ask or only “special occasion” flexibility such as for a doctor’s appointment or illness. The whole notion of “face time” and clocking in from 8:30 – 5PM is antiquated, causes unnecessary stress to employees, and repels the employees that firms are trying to retain. When a firm has an overall culture of flexibility and mobility, both the firms and its employees will enjoy the positive and progressive results.
So now that you have all the research that you need, download the free guide to ask for the work flexibility that you want!