Free food during tax season is by far the most common perk offered at accounting firms, but it’s probably not doing staff any favors.
While plenty of firms continue to offer the time-honored drawer/bowl/box full of candy, the donuts, the ice cream socials and all the other free treats and meals during tax season, more and more are supplementing – and occasionally replacing – them with healthier alternatives, and a focus on exercise.
You’re more likely to find water, fresh fruit and energy bars at firms these days than soda, potato chips and candy bars, even at the height of busy season. You’re also likely to see Fitbits, exercise rooms and organized physical activities.
At Warady & Davis LLP, for instance, a Best Firm to Work For in Deerfield, Ill., the Employee Wellness Committee looks after the health of its 89 employees by organizing walk breaks in the neighborhood, stair-climbing contests, healthy food initiatives and more. The firm also makes sure to include healthy food options in the meals it offers during tax season.
New Jersey-based Best Firm to Work For Wilkin & Guttenplan PC, meanwhile, “engages health professionals to conduct sessions for all staff on health, wellness and nutrition,” it reported. It also offers its 85 staff interest-free loans against the purchase of home gym equipment.
Plenty of other Best Firms to Work For organize sports teams at different times of the year, and encourage staff to stay active in exercise rooms or with running paths and walking groups.
We’re envious of the staff at the Denver office of RGL Forensics 102, who have a built-in golf course inside the building, but the most inventive exercise program has to be that of Wichita, Kansas’ Allen, Gibbs & Houlik: The firm is located on two separate floors 12 stories apart in a 20-story building, and encourages its 122 employees to walk part or all of the stairs when traveling between floors.
And finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that not all health is physical, as Portland, Ore.-based Pittman & Brooks PC is well aware: “We have an organizational psychologist who we work with that is available to all staff members.” The psychologist gives lunch-and-learns for the firm’s 20 employees on topics like managing stress and working with others, and he participates in our meetings and retreats as needed.
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