Stability Amidst a Pandemic
September 23, 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced firms like Smith & Howard to close their physical office and implement across the board work from home (WFH) policies, there was naturally a lot of nervousness and uncertainty about what lay ahead. Many firms were forced to make difficult decisions about furloughs, layoffs and salary cuts.
Smith & Howard has not been faced with these difficult changes. To begin with, Smith & Howard personnel had a smooth WFH transition because we already had the necessary processes in place. Many of our employees had periodically been working remotely and our IT group had been working for several years to create remote capability for our full workforce. We credit their foresight for the successful implementation of a technology plan that accommodates all employees working from any location as we continue to seamlessly serve our clients around the country. In addition to employees taking their technology equipment home, the firm provided an allowance to enable them to further enhance their WFH capabilities.
Sound financial management, business forecasting and operational planning by Smith & Howard’s leaders meant that despite the national financial fallout caused by the pandemic, we were not forced to lay off staff. In fact, we are growing: some departments have added staff as the firm has taken on new clients and launched new services. Employees have continued to receive salary increases, which many consider a bonus in these challenging times. Most importantly, from the time the WFH policy was implemented in March, the firm’s managing partner and other leaders have been keeping all employees up to date on the health of the firm. Monday Morning videos from leaders across the firm have given employees a sense of ongoing engagement and confidence in the firm’s stability, as have announcements of new hires and promotions and departmental engagement through Zoom and other platforms.
As people gradually return to the office, taking care to maintain social distancing practices, we are feeling better and more confident about the future, celebrating the security that comes from working with a firm that has given us much-needed stability in trying times. We are also actively addressing the future of WFH and how that will look for the long-term. Needless to say, where and how we work will never be quite the same and from our viewpoint, that’s probably a good thing.
The pandemic may have thrown us into untested waters, but Smith & Howard’s capable leadership and solid operational strategy have not just kept the ship afloat but are propelling us firmly towards a bright future.
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