Factors are coming together to change the white collar workplace to an extent we haven’t seen in a while.  How we will work, collaborate and be reviewed are evolving.  Whether this is bad or good depends on the individual but we’ll all have to adjust to a greater or lesser degree.   To better understand this, here are the things causing the changes.

Virtual Workplace

One of the biggest shifts – and one that the accounting industry is coming to grips with – has to do with “the cloud”.  It’s not only here to stay but is becoming the center of our workplace universe more and more.  One of its main features is allowing people to work anywhere at any time by enabling complete access to all the data and files that you would have if you were in the office.  As a result, people are increasingly working outside the office which means that more and more we will be working with team members who aren’t physically present with them – and maybe not in the same time zone or even the same country.  This will change the nature of collaboration and relationships with fellow employees.  Some like the flexibility while others decry the lack of efficiency.  Only time will tell if this is a positive or negative for our work.

The Gig Economy

This phrase was coined as more and more companies are replacing full time positions by breaking up that employee/position’s workload into separate projects and contracting those out to temps for, among other things, the cost savings on benefits.  The combination of these different employees with traditional ones is know as the blended workforce.  CPAs and accountants can be a good fit for this as we examined previously in our post about lifestyle accounting.    

Workplace Culture

Combine this with the virtual workplace and you get a workforce even more disconnected.  Not only might not employees work in the same country, their co-workers will be routinely changing.  This will have an effect on cohesiveness and esprit de corps.  Employees might feel less a part of something and more mercenary.

Sellers’ Market

For the first time in what seems like forever the job market has tipped back towards employees.  With the economy seemingly back up on two legs the need for skilled workers is increasing as well.  This is especially true for CPAs.  So recruiters will be duking it out for qualified prospects giving said prospects more control over how and where they work.

Employee Retention

Combining the last three points gets you a perfect storm for losing employees.  Turnover will increase as employees have more options but also because they will feel less connected to  their place of employment.  They may even feel less safe with the gig economy and want to jump before they get replaced with a temp(s).  

Evolution of Employee Reviews

Typically reviews happen once a year.  You set a meeting with your boss and discuss things – your contribution, progress you’ve made, and hopes for the coming year.  Something that has been experimented with at some organizations, including titans like GE, is that of continual or perpetual review. This is where your superiors give you feedback/appraisal throughout the year.  The logic of this being twofold.  An employee can be course-corrected as necessary more quickly which improves his or her performance and doesn’t let issues fester for twelve months.  It also helps morale in a way that a once-a-year conversation can’t.  You have a closer, more productive relationship with your boss as they get a much better feel for what you do, how you do it, and your particular experience at the job.     

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