While many accounting firms are “empowering” and “encouraging” their employees to work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, but still ultimately leaving it up to them to make that decision, Grant Thornton employees had that decision made for them yesterday.
A tipster sent us this message that all GTers received from CEO Brad Preber on Friday:
To all my teammates,
As this week comes to a close, it’s hard to take in the degree of change in our work and personal lives over just the past week. Events related to the outbreak of the coronavirus — and the illness it causes, COVID-19 — are moving faster than we could have imagined. And even as we focus on taking every action possible to keep every one of us safe and healthy — always our highest priority — I know this experience has been disorienting and disturbing.
At the same time, our team’s response has given me great confidence — not only that we will work through this disruption in a way that helps keep us safe and our business strong, but also that we are doing so in a way that honors our values and our purpose. We have so many teammates who saw early on where this situation was headed, and immediately began working across the firm to address issues spanning every aspect of health and wellness for our people and business continuity for our clients.
In addition to changes we’ve already announced, I’d like to announce two additional changes today:
- Effective today, all colleagues’ default work arrangement should be from home (or another location where you feel safe and secure). “All” means everyone — ECS and ICS, including administrative staff. While we are not closing all offices down fully, please use your best judgment if you feel you must come into the office, and let your engagement partner, coach and OMP know of your intentions.
- Hourly employees who may not have the ability to work while they are home will continue to be paid during this time.
- If you are working on a client engagement that currently requires work to be performed on site — e.g., in Public Sector, staff augmentation, or clients who require coverage, etc. — please look for further guidance shortly or discuss with your engagement leader.
- We will reassess this temporary policy at the end of March.
- Also effective today, we are eliminating all business travel, domestically and internationally, regardless of business need, through the end of March, at which time we will reassess. Please cancel any existing travel plans scheduled between now and March 31.
We are working to communicate frequently and transparently regarding the steps we’re taking to address this crisis. We will have more detail out shortly on the new, temporary policies above. Please look for announcements in the coming days about other new policies and accommodations the team is working on to make it easier for all of us to balance the needs of our families and our firm at this time.
I also will send a message to all our clients on Monday, letting them know of our continued commitment to serving their needs during this very challenging time and beyond.
Every day we are continuing to closely monitor this situation and make decisions about how we can best stay healthy and serve our clients. I strongly encourage you to stay up to date on GT news and decisions by reading our email updates and visiting our Coronavirus Resource Center; to be aware of government guidance through the Center for Disease Control’s coronavirus webpage; and to practice diligence in social distancing and taking standard precautions to prevent coming into contact with or spreading the virus.
I want to thank you and all our teammates who are working under incredibly difficult circumstances, and exhibiting every one of our core values in the process: collaboration, leadership, excellence, agility, respect and responsibility. We are striving in all ways to keep our response and our actions personal, and to build trust in our team — revealing a deep and instinctive commitment to a purpose for our firm we articulated only weeks ago.
I do not doubt that this crisis will test our firm in very serious ways in the coming weeks. But I also know we are a team of great resilience and deep care for one another. These are the attributes of our culture I see most clearly as we work through the coronavirus outbreak together. And they are the reason I am so confident we will come through this experience stronger than before.
As always, thank you for all you are doing for our clients and our firm every day.
We often like to poke fun at the Purple Rose of Chicago, and most of the time it’s warranted, but every accounting firm CEO or managing partner should be sending a similar message to their employees and putting in similar temporary work-from-home policies during this pandemic as Grant Thornton has done.
If you’ve been told by your firm to work from home for the time being, let us know by using the contact info below.
Stay safe everyone.