The pandemic put many things into perspective and busted through sacred cows, including the blind adherence to a compulsory five-day, in-person workweek. “It changed our internal mindset to what’s possible,” said National Association of Tax Professionals HR Leader Janine Diana.
Like many associations, NATP shifted on a dime when the pandemic struck, and staff began working virtually within days. It had a fairly traditional culture previously, but leadership soon understood that going back to tradition after the crisis subsided was not likely to be a viable option.
To get a better grasp on what its future workplace would look like, NATP conducted several staff surveys. “Staff was instrumental in helping challenge our own paradigms that we’ve had over the years to really think about what the future holds,” Diana said.
The surveys revealed that staff was apprehensive about returning to the office full time, and they overwhelmingly liked the flexibility of working remotely. “We wanted to hear their message,” Diana said. “Our staff is extremely valuable to our success.”
Diana sought to gain perspective on their responses by researching what other organizations were doing, while also balancing NATP’s needs and what its leadership wanted. “We opted to provide quite a bit of flexibility,” she said. “When you have the hard facts from a survey sitting right in front of you, and 90 percent of the staff says working from home is of high value,” it was hard for leadership to ignore that message.
At the same time, guardrails around more flexible operations would be needed to support consistent staff management and maintain the organization’s performance. To that end, Diana drafted a formal telework agreement that employees must sign in order to take advantage of the remote work option.