As is the case in most accounting firms, the majority of our employees face long hours and intense deadline pressure during “Busy Season”, which lasts from approximately early January through late April. As part of flexibility strategy, we wanted to promote that even during the busiest times, it’s critical to manage our energy so that we stay focused, avoid burn-out and find time to do what matters most outside of the office.
From January to April, we sponsored a #BusySeasonBreaks contest across our 60+ offices. Local flexibility leaders worked with office managing partners to schedule regular breaks—from ping pong tournaments to yoga classes to cupcake decorating. At the same time, office leaders actively encouraged professionals to schedule—and stick to—times they could leave the office for a personal break. Each time an office or individual took a break, they took a photo and posted it to our internal social media platform using the hastag #BusySeasonBreaks. Each post and comment on a post earned the office points. At the end of the contest, the three offices with the most points received money towards a post-busy season office party.
With over 800 unique posts (not including “likes” and comments), the firm’s internal social media platform was flooded with funny, inspiring and reflective examples of BDO employees and leaders taking the time to manage their energy and well-being during the busiest time of year. Survey data reported that 74% of employees believe the contest had a positive impact on their impression of leader support for taking breaks, 63% said it helped build team and office camaraderie and 61% said it helped them manage their stress level.
I arrived in America in 1987 from Cape Town, South Africa. Coming from an oppressed environment under Apartheid, I know the importance of creating an inclusive culture where all members of society are able to contribute to the success of the community and, in turn, their own success. As CEO of BDO USA, I’m committed to affording everyone the opportunity to grow their careers and contribute to our collective success. As a firm, we have developed multiple strategies to encourage diversity and inclusion in our organization. I am excited to join the CEO Action for Inclusion pledge so business leaders can work together to advance a common goal across industries.