PTO

Grant Thornton Should Pay Its People to Take Vacation

Grant Thornton is getting into the surprisingly generous benefits act, announcing that it will offer its employees unlimited time off starting in November. They even shot this video of their people's reactions to the news: Those people seem genuinely surprised. That's kinda nice. Few companies offer unlimited PTO; this Bloomberg report says fewer than 1% […]

France Comes Up With the Idea to Give Your Time Off to a Colleague in Need

Interesting. Would any of you do this? France’s parliament has passed a law allowing workers to give some of their days off to a colleague with a seriously ill child. The idea came from the case of a man whose colleagues donated 170 days while his son was battling cancer. You can donate your time […]

KPMG Auditors with Federal Clients Affected By Shutdown Urged to Keep Busy, Take a Little Vacay (But Only as a Last Resort)

As you all know, our government is kaput for the foreseeable future and since all of the Big 4 and many other DC-area firms serve the federal government, it stands to reason that a few of you might not have a lot to do today.    Last night, we were forwarded the text of an […]

McGladrey Employee Not Happy with Firm’s Attempt to Give Everyone a Three-and-a-Quarter Day Weekend

Good morning capital market servants. I know the first day back from an epic holiday weekend is a tough pill to swallow, as many of you couldn’t bear the thought of returning to work today. And because some people like to prolong the agony by taking today off, I’ll do my best to take you back to last Friday. A McGladrey reader dropped this note after I checked out for the day.

The company leaders have recently rolled out this lean working platform [GC coverage here]. They are trying to say work smarter not harder. What most people think lean means though is “do more with less” which is trademark of this company. CE [Andrews] and Joe [Adams] talked on a webcast the other day and they were trying to rile us up. What for? So in the end, they can tell us “despite our great efforts there isn’t money for salary increases”.

CE and Joe and other leaders are all excited about letting the entire firm off at 3 p.m. Friday., July 1 for the weekend holiday WOW! Don’t get too crazy CE and Joe, not 3 p.m. on a Friday? Holy cow!

When Steve Tait was President [of RSM McGladrey] we would get two days off during the Fourth, but under new leadership we get to get off at 3 p.m. on Friday? What a deal. What work-life balance. No wonder we make Working Mothers top 100 each year. Oh and you know what, the firm took away summer hours too…all because they want us to focus on ongoing flexibility…and working lean, which means no one can take time off because departments are too lean.

It’s 3 p.m. now on Friday, and boy I am lucky to be off. Nevermind most employees checked out – officially or unofficially – a few days ago already. I am sure major accounting and tax deals are going down right now on this holiday weekend, but we were fortunate enough to get off at 3 p.m. What a joke!

I think I might get a small putting green cake to celebrate!

Many firms – we’ve confirmed PwC and KPMG – gave their employees last Friday off, which does make for a nice four day weekend. And our tipster is correct, early July is a pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay slow time of year for accounting firms so a 3 pm let-out for a Friday before the grandest, pyrotechnic digit-losing holiday of the year might feel like a slap in the face.

That said, if you’re so bent out of shape about it, why not use some PTO (God forbid!)? You’re completely in control of this situation, friend. You want an extra-long weekend? Make it happen. Expecting accounting firms to just hand you a four-day weekend is a little bitchy and you have no excuse if you have a grip of PTO banked. Don’t make the same mistake come Labor Day.

Now That Busy Season Is Long Over, Are You Still Killing Yourself for the Sake of Productivity?

Many of you and your fellow accountants are doing more with less these days. Your company has had cutbacks, people have bolted for (presumably) greener cube farms and you’re left to do the heavy lifting. You’re miserable but dammit, you’re not happy unless you’re unhappy, amiright?!?

Besides, you’re doing an awesome job, as Tony Schwartz writes at the Harvard Business Review blog The Conversation, “Americans are working 10 percent fewer total hours than they did before the recession, due to layoffs and shortened workdays, but we’re producing nearly as many goods and services as we did back in the full employment days of 2007.”

He cites AG’s archenemies Ben Bernanke as saying these are “extraordinary” gains in productivity by you, the American worker.

Except there’s one small problem with this, Mr Schwartz notes:

[I]t’s called fear. If colleagues around us are being laid off and cut back, we can’t help worrying that our jobs may be next. Our survival instincts kick in, and we push ourselves harder, so we’re not the next one to go. We get more done, which sounds like good news and certainly explains higher productivity…

…Americans already put in more hours than workers in any country in the world – and that doesn’t include the uncounted shadow work that technology makes possible after the regular workday ends.

Here’s the bigger point. Just as you’ll eventually go broke if you make constant withdrawals from your bank account without offsetting deposits, you will also ultimately burn yourself out if you spend too much energy too continuously at work without sufficient renewal.

Sound familiar to anyone? No one really thinks that you’re working like a mad(wo)man because you love your spreadsheets that much. You know what? Try giving the shit a rest. You can ask E&Y; they’ll tell you. Mr Schwartz mentions “A comprehensive study by Ernst & Young showed that the longer the vacation their employees took, the better they performed.” There it is! One of your own has proof that you’re better employees if you took a break.

Whether E&Y has translated these findings into mandatory vacation for its employees is unclear. Regardless, there are those hopeless souls who consider their presence indispensable and simply won’t take time off to recharge or – God forbid – enjoy doing anything besides working. Sigh. Unfortch, As long as face time (i.e. the billable hour) rules then this will likely continue, unless TPTB wake up. “Stop measuring your people by the hours they put in, and focus instead on the value they produce.”

The Productivity Myth [The Conversation/HBR]

Are Your Holidays Going to be Ruined Because of Inventory Counts?

inventory.jpgPersonally, it would make for a better yarn if we were hearing about Jameson-fueled discussions about healthcare reform that eventually lead to grabbing all the gifts (and the remaining Jameson) and storming out of in-law’s house. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until after the holidays for those.
What we have heard is that PTO still isn’t being granted in the name of inventory counts. One reader notified us that her office still hasn’t released the inventory schedule so A1s and A2s are still going to have to wait to see how much PTO they’ll be able to take for the holidays:

[I] emailed you about a month ago that we (first and second year associates) couldn’t schedule any PTO for Christmas yet- and STILL we can’t schedule PTO. I think it’s ridiculous that it’s almost a month away and we can’t get any time. I talked to a partner…and he said that we’ll get the inventory schedule the first week of December, and then we’ll know when we can schedule vacation. [He said] ‘well you’ll have two days to spend w/ your family, right’

For some people two days with your family is about all you can handle but we understand that may just be people we know.
And regardless of whether you celebrate the birth of JC, lots of people travel in the twelfth month and it’s definitely frustrating if you’re still getting stonewalled on the PTO. We’re not sure if this is an isolated incident so discuss your office’s ability work with you on the inventory schedule or if they’re putting coal in your stocking.
Earlier: Are Inventory Counts the Bane of Your Existence?