This past year has felt like living in a snow globe. You know, the ones that look like an entire world thrives inside, but with a simple flick of the wrist, the world is thrown into a swirling chaos of snow or better yet, glitter. Who would have thought that a global pandemic would happen and throw our world into a swirling chaotic mess of unprecedented economic uncertainty? While this unprecedented event has shaken up traditional work standards, it has given companies a chance to re-evaluate their policies and focus more on their staff’s needs.
At WilkinGuttenplan (WG), we have a highly esteemed flexible and nimble, family-oriented culture that focuses on a work-life balance. Our culture has always boasted a work anywhere, anytime policy. This practice along with our state-of-the-art technology platforms, allowed our firm to smoothly transition to a fully remote work environment seamlessly while still providing excellent client service.
It’s no secret that not every aspect of a work culture translates to a remote environment. There’s something to be said about congregating around the water cooler with your colleagues or popping your head into their office to talk about their weekend plans. This past year has required us to think outside the box to build those internal relationships. While remote, we held virtual happy hours, cooking classes, coffee breaks, and trivia games, as well as more wellness activities and fitness challenges, all in the interest of maintaining personal connections and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Our staff is encouraged to and want to build upon their relationships with colleagues outside of firm-sponsored events. While they may not be able to grab a coffee in the lounge or eat lunch together, they find other meaningful ways to connect like boat trips with Ed G, the Managing Shareholder, virtual lunches or after-work virtual meetings to catch up on everyone’s favorite TV show. As WG continues to navigate this new normal, we remain sensitive to everyone’s safety and personal preference and host a mixture of in-person and virtual events.
In addition to the cultural transition, WG integrated collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom to assist in maintaining an inclusive environment. This allows us to seamlessly work together while being remote or in-person and to conduct check-ins between various teams. While there have been many advantages to being remote, we recognize some of the difficulties our staff faced with balancing their personal and professional schedules. WG will always advocate the importance of a work-life balance, and because of these hurdles, the firm implemented official Disconnect Days.
Lately, we have been witnessing a shift in the work environment, where more and more staff prefer a remote or hybrid work schedule. The days where companies mandate a 9-5 schedule are gone. Companies are now becoming more attuned to their staffs’ needs and are reciprocating loyalty. WG was founded on the principle of finding a “better way” and we hold strong to that as our firm grows into the future. To support that commitment, we have implemented a formal Unlimited Work Options policy for our staff and trust that our staff will do the right thing – prioritize serving our clients, their colleagues, and commitments to the success of the firm. We are focused on results and outcomes instead of where and when we work. This policy allows us to maneuver between asynchronous and synchronous communication, optimizing for efficiency and inclusivity.
Hear what our staff have to say about our remote and hybrid environments.
“I like working from home – it’s comfortable and convenient, saves time. Collaboration for me has been easier via teams than trying to track down people.” Ed Guttenplan
“Having the flexibility to take my kids where they need to go during the day. It takes a lot of stress off me because I don’t need to find someone else to help with that duty.” Amanda Brady
“I’m able to be more productive from home (and work later in the day) without having to commute 2 hours each day.” Karen Becza
“I love being able to switch from work mode to family mode without the extra transition time in between that occurs when you’re in the office. I also love that I am able to tend to household responsibilities or do a workout on a break throughout the day” Amanda Reed
Our philosophy at WilkinGuttenplan is simple: foster a culture of support and guidance. And that is exactly what we are doing by supporting our staff’s need for a hybrid work environment.