Episode 66.5 – Green Apple Slice


Friedman LLP Implements New Flexible Work/Life Program


The Green Apple Podcast is doing weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, John and Rachel discuss an Accounting Today article, “Friedman LLP Implements New Flexible Work/Life Program” by Sean McCabe.


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    John: Okay, we’re back with another episode of the Green Apple Slices. Happy Monday, I’ve got Rachel Fisch with me. Rachel, how is it going?

    Rachel: It’s going good. I actually look forward to Mondays now which is like so weird.

    John: Woo hoo! I think it’s weird too because I feel a lot of pressure right now, a lot of pressure.

    Rachel: No pressure, no pressure.

    John: It’s you and everyone listening. It’s like oh my, goodness. I got to really bring it. I got to bring it.

    But I’m excited because I saw this article from Accounting Today about Friedman LLP, an accounting firm here in New York City where I live and I actually know some of the partners there that are really good guys. So I saw the article and I was just excited because wow, they have this new policy starting in January which already happened so we’re a little behind the curve but that’s how news work, right? They report it and then you find out after it happens. It’s not like the TV news where it’s not always true. So this is real. But anyway, it’s so cool. They’re having what they call an Alternative Work Arrangement Program, AWA. Yes, and at first, I thought this is like a lot of Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Different alternative though, totally different alternative.

    Rachel: Different alternative completely, yeah.

    John: I know. I was like wow, lot of torn jeans and flannel, this is going to be awesome. But yeah, I think it’s really cool. What they’re doing is basically asking their staff, “What are the hours that you would like to work and that you are available” and then staffing accordingly, you know, because they realize that their staff have lives outside of work, whether it’s their families or hobbies or passions or things that they’re doing, volunteering, things like that.

    Rachel: It’s absolutely true that people do actually have lives outside of work. It’s a fascinating thing, but it’s true.

    John: I know. It’s almost like what is it, like Big Foot has a … or whatever, like something make believe? And it’s like no, for real, people do and I think it’s great that Friedman acknowledges that but not only just talks the talk because I think a lot of firms are just basically saying yeah, whatever, do the work-life balance and we’ll give you some free time and blah, blah, blah. And then when push comes to shove, all of a sudden it’s busy season and it’s mandatory 60 hours a week or something crazy, and so I think it’s great that they’re actually walking the walk

    Rachel: Right. So we don’t have a lot of say especially in the accounting industry on when the busy season is, right? So even if client’s fiscal year changes, there are tax deadlines and those deadlines are the same every year. So there are these seasons of like not a lot of work and then you’re dumped on.

    And it’s not a new principle though because back a long time ago, flex hours have been part of the conversations in workplaces for quite a while. What I thought was interesting about this one is how much they’re kind of leaving that up to the employee to set their own schedules. So it’s not just, okay, so I’m going to work an extra half hour a day and then take Friday afternoons off. I think in this case, they were actually given a core “So you need to be available between these hours” but other than that, you don’t really care. I think it was 10:00 to 4:00 or something like that. So it’s not a new concept but the level of flexibility that they’re giving especially an accounting firm that has such clearly defined timelines and things like that I thought was really interesting. This is especially important because flexible time is actually put as a priority for employees ahead of pay. So people care more about their time being flexible than actually being highly paid at what they do. So for an employer to tap into that and to use that and then to drive their company culture with that is spot on.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s really cool how they have summer Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and I also think it’s great but the most important part happens to be the last paragraph which is where they develop the AWA Program as a collaborative effort with their staff. So it’s like holy smokes guys, we actually asked them what they wanted and how to do it.

    Rachel: This directive, yeah.

    John: Yeah, how amazing is that?

    Rachel: Imagine how much you could get done if you actually had discussions with your staff about the stuff they needed to get done which is just like mind blowing.

    John: Right, right. So I think it’s really fantastic and I’m excited to see how it all plays out there at Friedman and yeah, good people there, good people there. So there you go. That’s your Monday. Hopefully that was enough to carry you through the week.

    Rachel: Yeah, it was okay.

    John: And it’s possible that Green Apple Podcast is now retiring so tune in next Monday to see what happens.

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