Even the largest companies can keep their corporate focus on what’s best for employees. When it comes to flexibility, Ernst & Young proves that to be true.
Ernst & Young, or EY, provides integrated assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services to clients around the world, earning global revenues of about $31 billion in fiscal 2017. The company has more than 230,000 employees in about 700 offices in more than 150 countries.
Founded in 1989 through the merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co., the company’s oldest component dates to 1849. And while it may seem that a company with such a long history, huge size, and enormous reach would have difficulty paying attention to the needs of its individual workers, EY sees flexible work as a “business imperative,” not something that’s just nice to have.
“As work hours trend upward across industries, the lines between career and personal life are becoming more fluid,” the company says. “At EY, flexibility is about working smarter, not about working less. It helps our people meet their personal and professional goals and allows all of us to maximize our contributions to our teams and deliver exceptional client service. … The goal is to create an agile workplace culture, not only to attract and retain talent, but also to meet the needs of global clients and teams.”
On its website, EY points to several steps it has taken to build a truly flexible work culture.
“Challenging our assumptions about where, when, and how work gets done, while maintaining a clear focus on the results we want to achieve together, is one of the ways we can be agile and responsive to the diverse needs of our people, our teams, and our client,” the company’s site says.
EY provides its employees with the technology they need in order to make flexible working a reality, while also helping them make their busy lives a bit easier. In the latter case, the company has a maternity and paternity leave policy, offers daily life services, has a lactation program, and takes other steps to help people build the flexibility that will work best for them.
“Informal flexibility might mean working from home to facilitate getting to a doctor’s appointment, starting work a little earlier to volunteer at a community event, or leaving at a specific time to attend a school play or train for an upcoming marathon,” the company website says. “However, when people require a regular need for flexibility, they might consider creating a business case and applying for a formal FWA (flexible work arrangement) with options such as flexible hours, reduced schedules, seasonal schedules, or telecommuting.”
That focus on flex has had an impact on the company’s offices, too. For example, with its EY@Work plan, the company says it is “creating energizing and efficient environments for our people that enable them to work fluidly both in and out of the office—whether they are in transit, at home, or based at a client site.”
EY@Work offices have integrated instant messaging software and video conferencing capabilities to help people work easily with teammates, whether they are in the same building or scattered around the world. The offices themselves have many different types of rooms or spaces people can use for working and meeting.
“We believe that giving our people more choice in where, when, and how work gets done allows them to better deliver exceptional client service—whether it’s individually or as part of a team—and better supports their wellbeing,” the company says on its website.
“By 2020, more than 80 percent of our people will be Gen Y and Gen Z. Based on our EY study on work-life challenges across generations, we know that these future employees will have high expectations related to collaboration, virtual teaming, flexibility, and opportunities to learn and grow. EY@Work offices address these needs by bringing together physical office changes, improved technology, and flexible working styles, which collectively better support the ways our people are working.”
To learn more about EY and check out its current flexible work options, visit FlexJobs.
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