In our experience working with accountants and finance professionals, we have found that the industry is known for working long hours with accountants often being the first to arrive and the last to leave. I have met with several candidates over the last week who are looking for new job opportunities and one theme that has come up in multiple conversations is a desire to find an employer that provides flexibility to work from home.
Although we’re hearing of more and more candidates who are working from home, I do not seem to have many employers discussing formal work from home policies either when I meet them or during the job brief process. This contrast started me questioning exactly how formalised and common work from home practices are for accountants?
Implementing work from home policies no doubt creates a number of challenges, however, there are some key benefits that are worth discussing:
- Increased staff retention
- Reduction on the amount of office space required
- Happier employees
- Travel cost savings
- Fewer interruptions resulting in productivity increases
With an increase in communication technologies, the challenge in rolling out formal work from home policies seems to be driven by team cultural dynamics, more than technological limitations. Employers may be concerned about keeping staff accountable, managing productivity, meeting deadlines and coordinating meetings when half the team is away.
More and more, we are seeing candidates raise a desire to have the flexibility to work from home. Although some employers have been quite open and receptive to it, the majority have indicated a concern around the candidate’s potential commitment to the role or have indicated that the cultural dynamics of the team would not fit with this kind of set up.
I welcome our readers to share their experiences and thoughts on this matter. Does your company provide a formal work from home policy? What are the challenges in managing the policy? What tips would you be able to share if you are considering implementing a policy in your office? Would you as an employee like the option to work from home?