General Inquiries

Work from Home

  • 1.  Work from Home

    Posted 02-06-2019 11:16
    ​In our employee engagement survey, it was evident that the accounting team wants the option to work from home on occasion.  Currently they only have the opportunity to do this for weather or medical reasons.  Does anyone have a work from home policy that works? I'm looking to provide a work from home structure that offers more than we do today without losing the value of face to face communication, collaboration, and relationship building.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Luke Cope CCIFP
    Vice President of Finance
    Western States Fire Protection
    Centennial CO
    (303) 790-3830

  • 2.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-07-2019 08:40
    I'm interested in this also. The years I spent in public accounting doing audits and observing the companies I worked with showed me two things: employees enjoy flexibility and technology can overcome just about any potential challenge. It seemed that the more autonomy a company granted, the happier its employees were. Does that mean its advantageous for a company to offer a 36 hour, 4 day work week with the last 1/2 day available at home? What about a 4 10 hour work days and a three day weekend? Or the traditional 40 hour work week with one of those days an "at home" option? Obviously the needs of the company would dictate the policy, but when it comes to data entry I'm not sure 5 days of office time is a necessity. I would think an exception would also be made during period close.

    The face-to-face communication, collab work, and relationship building can be done through GoToMeeting, WebEx, or any number of online meeting providers. Maybe, if a work from home day is established, set up a group meeting in the morning through GoToMeeting or WebEx to maintain contact or a group call. Then you can have a collab space through an online messenger available throughout the day. I'm sure the possibilities for both ensuring production is consistent while also providing a flexible work space are endless.

    I would second the original question and look forward to the responses.

    Casey Gedgoudas CPA
    Assistant Controller
    Dunn Building Company, LLC
    Birmingham AL
    (205) 510-0296

  • 3.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-07-2019 09:28
    I think a couple of the challenges we face trying to implement this, as a 80 person company, include technology costs and support - to properly set up employees, it takes an IT persons attention to address issues.  So you need to assign resources.   Also additional technology would be needed for the employee to truly be productive such as a second screen and remote access that's quick and works! without too many work arounds. Lastly its hard to truly measure productivity.   If we were in Sales, then simple, but not so much in support roles.  Even in the office, I can't always tell, not being a micromanager, if everything is getting done timely.  That's hard enough... Working in the office environment, if a problem is realized, I can usually narrow it down to a few issues.  Working out of the office, however, adds that much more complexity - is it because people aren't working enough or they truly have too much work to do or some other issue, why aren't they responding timely, etc.

    We do have one person who works out of the office periodically, its not on a set schedule and its problem for everyone.  We never know if he's working or off...changes are going to have to be made.  So having transparency and consistency of who/what/when is VERY important for it to work.

    We did have someone who worked the same two days every week from home and was great at it.  We had rules like, kids must be in daycare during the working hours.  In fact, this person very productive and was able to get many projects quickly done without the interruptions.  So I do know, in the right circumstances it does work.  In my opinion, just not blanketly....

    I do think it would be great if employees were given the flexibility but not everyone is disciplined enough not to get distracted by outside stuff. There are people in our office who would be great at it and others terrible.  So how do we tell some yes, they can work from home,  and others "no" knowing this.... Doesn't mean they are bad employees, they just need help focusing their time.

    My two cents!

    Shawn Erickson CCIFP, CPA, MBA
    Chief Financial Officer
    C.J. Erickson Plumbing Co.
    Alsip, IL

  • 4.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-11-2019 12:02
    ​Thank you all for your helpful feedback!

    Luke Cope CCIFP
    Vice President of Finance
    Western States Fire Protection
    Centennial CO
    (303) 790-3830

  • 5.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-07-2019 10:32
    I am going to answer based on my experience at a former employment.
    We had flextime for 37 hours a week. Deciding when and where to use them was up to the individual person. Hours above the 37 was to be counted towards hours within the next 21 days if possible. If impossible the overtime would be paid out at a set rate.
    There was one department meeting a week that we had to attend other than that we were free to come and go as we pleased.
    The interesting thing was that most of the time everyone was at the office. The odd day working from home occurred maybe once a month normally before a big presentation. Most people in the organization was adult enough to handle the responsibility, and had the understanding that it was often easier to collaborate when able to go to someones office.
    To us just having the freedom was enough intensive to be at the office.

    If the culture is right then a system like this can work.

    Andreas Gloggengiehser
    J.benton Construction
    Christiansted VI
    (340) 718-7222

  • 6.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-08-2019 08:12
    I work in a public accounting firm that has a very flexible schedule.  The majority of our staff are salaried professionals, so this policy would need to be adapted some if the employees are paid on an hourly basis.

    We do not have a set number of hours that need to be worked in a week.  It is left up to the discretion of the employee how many hours they feel that they must put in in order to get their jobs done and meet client expectations.  Each manager is responsible for making sure their staff are keeping up with obligations, but we no longer have to count the number of hours each employee is in the office.  I have not had anyone take advantage of this in the 4 years we have had the program in place.  Each employee is given a target number of hours billable to a client that they should work for the year, but there is a lot of flexibility in this.  Additionally, there is an annual bonus program for employees that go above and beyond what was expected of them.  This could be adapted to a private accounting job by having a defined set of tasks that the employee is responsible to complete.

    We are also permitted to work from home as is seen fit by the employee.  Overall, most employees are in the office working during the "normal office hours" of 8 am - 5 pm.  Giving employees the option to work from home allows us to not lose productive time if an employee has to be at home waiting for a service technician or something of that nature.  There have been several times that I have logged in from home to work until someone showed up to complete the annual maintenance on something in my home and then worked later into the evening to make up for the time that I spent with them.  If the flexible work from home was not available, I would have taken at least half the day off work instead.

    The work from home does require a certain amount of technology to make it effective.  Our firm already has a remote desktop server because of having offices in various locations and the need to work from our clients' offices.  Therefore, we did not need to spend any additional funds to be able to provide this option to our employees.

    There has been discussion of having a set day of the week that employees should be in the office in order to facilitate collaboration.  Nothing has been done with this yet though.

    Dennis J. Shindle, Jr. CPA, CCIFP
    Senior Manager
    Rotz & Stonesifer, P.C.
    Chambersburg PA
    (717) 264-5961

  • 7.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-08-2019 09:20
    We learned that there are too many individual departmental needs to overcome with one broad sweeping policy, so the result was simply for each person to work it out with their manager.  For example, we have AP data entry that takes place 100% remote all across the country with people who have never stepped foot in our office.  However, Payroll is required to be in the office Monday through Wednesday, and then they have the option to be remote Thursday and Friday.  Other positions are required to be in the office all day every day.  So as you see the policy is very flexible depending on the needs of the department and it has been working well for us.

    Steve Hathaway MS, ECM-P, BCM-P
    Chief Financial Officer
    SEMA Construction, Inc,
    Centennial CO
    (303) 627-2600

  • 8.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-12-2019 11:59
    Our company allows work from home for many, but not all positions and roles.     I work in Sales at Viewpoint from my home office and many of my colleagues work from home as well.   This can work quite well for functions where the measure of success in the role is quite objective.    For example, I'm either making my quota or I'm not.   Many of our Professional Services consultants also work from home as their measure is easily quantified as well, being billable hours, and as a practical matter they are frequently traveling anyway.

    Some of the challenges of working from home are when the role does not have easy, quantifiable, binary (I'm either selling or I'm not) measures of performance.  I'm not suggesting that your shouldn't allow such roles to work from home, rather to set expectations and measures that both the staff and management agree to.

    Software and technology also have a big impact on the practicality and cost concerns of the employee working from home.   Businesses who have moved most of their key enabling technologies to cloud based / web based platforms will get a greater return faster allowing employees to work from home.    If remote employees can access the tools they need to securely, from any computer or device with a web browser or internet connection, you will have greater success and endure much less cost than organizations where accessing needed technology while away from the office is more difficult, requiring things like VPN's, Citrix, bits of software that need to be installed locally.

    Both from the perspective of being an Industry Expert, as well as me personally as an employee, the advantages are worth the potential risks:
    • Our company has grown quite a lot.   As this growth as occurred we've been able to minimize additional investment in expensive bricks and mortar facilities
    • We all struggle with attracting and retaining the brightest and best employees.   Having a more liberal work from home policy makes you more attractive in an ever more competitive labor market
    • It's good for morale

    Other considerations:
    • With more remote employees, training / learning needs to become structured and web based.  Consider implementing a learning management system (LMS) or exploiting the native tools your existing technologies may have.   For example, the Construction Software  we provide is backed by an LMS our customers heavily rely on to bring new employees up to speed quickly as well as standardize methods.   Remote employees don't have the ability to get up from their desk and quickly get help from a more knowledgeable colleague so a structure must exist to replace this
    • Work life balance coaching is also important.   From personal experience, working from home can be challenging in that the temptation exists to work continually, and not make a clear delineation between work time and home / family time

    Dan Conway
    Enterprise Sales
    Viewpoint Construction Software
    Rye NH

  • 9.  RE: Work from Home

    Posted 02-13-2019 07:29
    I have worked from my home office since 1994 exclusively and found it to be remarkable. I am more productive and do not waste a couple hours per day commuting to a workplace. It gave me flexibility in my hours and offer spent 12+ hours a day and most weekends in my office. I highly recommend it.

    John J. Corcoran
    15011 East Twilight View Drive
    Fountain Hills AZ 85268-6339
    (t) 480-836-0300
    (f) 480-836-0400
    (c) 480-694-5555

    Sent from my I Pad