CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many major financial companies had planned on bringing most workers back to the office after Labor Day. Now, they're reconsidering those plans because of the fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.
But at least one Charlotte-based company has decided to be fully flexible, saying their employees are happier and more productive.
Darien Sutton has been splitting her time working from home and in the office for the last seven years, which she said helps her be a mom to her two kids born just a year apart.
"My husband has a really demanding job, so I knew he couldn’t become more flexible, so I asked the question, 'Can I come back and be flexible?' and I was met with 100% acceptance," she said.
For years, she was an unusual case at Dixon Hughes Goodman (DHG), a Charlotte-based international accounting firm. Then came COVID-19, and now her case is not so unusual anymore.
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DHG leaders decided to let everyone choose if they want to work in the office, work remotely or do both, much like they have been throughout the pandemic.
"What we heard from our folks was, 'We like this,' and we found it to be successful and we were able to trust our people to get their work done," Tricia Wilson, the managing partner for talent and leadership at DHG, said.
They’re calling it "DHG Anywhere," and they believe this is the work model of the future. Wilson herself is leading the program.
"So, we now are in this situation where most of our workforce is hybrid, and they work with each other to figure out what is the best way to work together," she said.
It launches later in September, and the firm expects all employees to at least choose a hybrid schedule, if not an entirely remote one. They hope it will help them hold on to workers and recruit new talent.
"I think the pandemic invoked a lot of people to begin to think about their lives how they want to work," Wilson said. "We hear a lot about people leaving other places, wanting to come here asking questions, 'Will I be able to be flexible,' 'What will that look like?' I know it's high on the minds of everybody who’s looking to work, so we know how important it is."
Sutton welcomes the new flexibility and said she hopes her co-workers at DHG learn to really enjoy everything it offers.
"It speaks to the culture of the firm," she said. "I’m not saying 'I’m sick,' or 'I have a lunch meeting.' I might be playing tennis or going for a run. It may be that I’m going to watch a performance at school, and I’m not hiding any of it. None of us do."
Instead, they’re embracing a work-life balance that most believed was once impossible – especially in the financial world – just a few short years ago.
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