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« Generational Shifts Affecting Law Firm Recruiting | Main | University Professor Predicts Work Life Balance Lawsuits From Blackberry Addictions »

Accounting Firm Implements Compressed Workweek to Address Work Life Balance Issues

Our "Work Life Winners" category celebrates law firms that implement innovative and forward-thinking work life balance policies. But we'll make room for an accounting firm that qualifies.

Lazard Dana LLP, a 58-year old CPA firm in Savannah, Georgia recently announced that its staff will now be working a 4 and 1/2 day work week, closing on Fridays at 12 noon. These hours are their permanent hours -- not just for the summer or "off season". The Firm will also be adhering to a 40 hour work week for all full time staff, working to make this the "norm" at all times of the year -- even in the traditionally busy tax season of January through April.

The rationale behind the new, compressed workweek was explained by John Matthews, Lazard Dana’s Managing Partner: "We have always said that our people are our most valuable asset. We believe that by creating a better work/life balance our team members will feel more valued and at the same time be able to create more value to our customers."

The firm has also rolled out a mentoring program.

Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute, says firms such as Lazard Dana that address the work life balance needs of their professionals will enjoy reduced turnover and greater productivity. Research bears this out: at Hewlett Packard, for instance, a compressed work week, allowing employees to work longer hours on fewer days, doubled productivity.

As we hear of law firms embracing such ideas, we'll be sure to let you know.

See further details on Lazard Dana's program here.

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