The world of work shifted in 2020. Many employers were forced to shift to remote work, and many employees learned the benefits of flexible schedules. But in the years since, as employees gradually returned to the office, things did not return to “normal.” Zippia reports that 74 percent of U.S. companies are using or plan to use a permanent hybrid work model.

In an evolving business landscape, the transition to hybrid stands out as a crucial and advantageous decision. Forbes reports that employers benefit from greater productivity and lower costs than onsite-only work as well as more opportunities to build connectivity than remote-only work. But these benefits come from making a clear, specific plan for success.

GHJ’s intentional choice of designing a hybrid work model is an extension of the Firm’s #BeMore culture, which encourages all team members to be more for their self, family and Firm. GHJ’s leadership believes that people do their best work when they are given the freedom and resources to thrive professionally and personally.

Transitioning to a new work environment is more complicated than hiring outside of a certain region and sending employees home — it is a strategic decision that should transform the way managers communicate with their employees. It requires thoughtful planning to ensure all employees are accommodated, a clear plan of action to ensure everyone is on the same page, tools to enhance collaboration and communication and the flexibility to adapt to the workforce’s shifting needs.


Hybrid work presents many benefits if leveraged correctly. It significantly expands the talent pool, a crucial advantage amidst the recent accountant shortage. Eliminating geographical barriers enables businesses to access a diverse range of professionals. This approach enhances innovation and competitiveness, which addresses the pressing need for skilled accountants in GHJ’s own industry. Companies can attract and retain top talent from various locations and thus stay ahead in a competitive industry.

A Gallup study found that, across the board, employees, managers and senior leaders agree that having work flexibility improves work-life balance, increases efficiency and productivity and mitigates burnout. In addition, Psychology Today found that, by empowering employees to work where and how they feel most productive for at least part of the week, hybrid work specifically benefits neurodivergent talent, which reinforces the importance of accessibility in strategic planning.

Once employers overcome the notion that physical presence in an office is necessary for a well-functioning company, embracing this work model becomes a transformative decision that will require strategic communication, thoughtful planning and understanding to adapt to shifting workforce needs.


Investing in the right technology is essential for all businesses but especially for ensuring seamless communication and collaboration across different locations.

Leaders must be adaptable, empathetic and trained in managing dispersed teams. They play a critical role in fostering a sense of unity and purpose among team members. They must also push back against proximity bias to ensure all employees have an equitable path to success, regardless of where they are located.

Just as in discussions about diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, leaders need to understand that the goal is not creating an equal work environment for all but an equitable work experience.

Providing employees with equal opportunities for success does not necessarily mean treating them identically. Different work environments often require varied types of support and coaching. An employee who regularly comes into the office may have more touchpoints with colleagues, while an employee located across the country may need additional one-on-one meetings to stay connected. The objective is to ensure equitable access to resources and support tailored to each individual's work setting to enable all employees to succeed and thrive within the organization's framework.

Staying adaptable, engaging in trial and error and committing to continuous learning are key to the success of this work model. It involves finding and adapting the best practices for the organization and its people.

HR Review shared additional tips to run effective hybrid meetings:

  • Create an inclusive agenda and stick to it: Many companies realize there is a technology requirement to ensure everyone is seen and heard. Beyond that, providing an agenda helps all participants follow along with the discussion, and appointing someone to keep the meeting on track with the agenda ensures meetings are run effectively.
  • Consider time zones: Many people instinctually avoid meetings very early in the morning or late in the afternoon, but it is important to make that consideration for all attendees of a meeting and their individual work hours.
  • Check for technical issues: Technical issues are common, but when they occur, remote attendees may feel alienated while waiting to connect with on-site attendees. On-site meeting hosts should test the technology and (when possible) call into the meeting early to avoid any delays.
  • Begin with an inclusivity exercise: In a physical office, meeting attendees can connect socially. Remote employees do not always have that opportunity. Consider starting a meeting by asking all attendees a common question about their day or week to make everyone feel included.
  • Moderate open discussions: A presenter can easily see when someone in front of them is raising their hand with a question. It may not as easily visible when a person on a conference call has a question. Assign someone to monitor the chat during team calls to ensure remote attendees’ questions are addressed.
  • Keep follow-ups digital: After a meeting, it can be human nature to debrief with a colleague and discuss next steps. Once the conference call ends, however, attendees who are not in the room may feel excluded. Instead, follow up with all attendees via email with any notes, visual aids and action items. Use this opportunity to solicit any feedback and answer any questions.
  • Get feedback and adjust as needed: Inclusivity is important, but there is no one formula to achieve it. Ask attendees what went well and what could be improved — this will help meetings run more smoothly in the future.


Although many GHJ employees work from home most days, GHJ specifically decided to embrace hybrid work over remote work — even the term “remote” suggests physical and symbolic distance. The Firm wanted to focus on maintaining connections and a sense of community, regardless of physical location.

While embracing the ability to work anywhere, the value of face-to-face interactions — particularly in client work — is not overlooked. GHJ believes that in-person interaction can go a long way in building and maintaining strong relationships. And the Firm is not alone in this thinking — an Indeed survey of people who began working from home due to the pandemic found that 73 percent of respondents missed socializing with colleagues in person.

To meet the needs of its expanding workforce, GHJ currently has three physical offices along with concentrations of employees in various area across the U.S., which serve as key locations where GHJ employees are invited to meet regularly, foster engagement and improve collaboration. In addition, GHJ employees regardless of where they work are welcome to meet with clients and colleagues as needed to reinforce strong professional relationships.

This culture is also fostered on a larger scale. GHJ hosts Firmwide Weeks twice a year at its Los Angeles headquarters. Going beyond meetings, Firmwide Week allows employees to see their colleagues in person, bond with their teams and schedule face-to-face time with clients. By maximizing these interactions, GHJ ensures that the time spent together is impactful and meaningful.

GHJ’s approach strikes a careful balance that blends the benefits of remote and in-person work with the irreplaceable value of personal connections.

The path to creating such a work environment can present challenges in communication, collaboration and maintaining company culture across geographical boundaries. Through strategic planning and a commitment to GHJ’s values, the Firm overcame these challenges and realized significant benefits. In 2023, GHJ was named the 7th Fastest-Growing Firm in the U.S. by Accounting Today.

Embracing hybrid work is not just a trend but a superior business model that aligns with the modern workforce's needs and the marketplace's demands. In a time when business leaders are calling their employees back to the office, GHJ is proud to renew its commitment to flexibility and continues empowering employees to work how they feel they work best.

Tom Barry Thumbnail

Tom Barry

Tom Barry, CPA, believes in building a successful life one day at a time. He does that by leveraging technology to create a flexible schedule that allows him to be a father and husband in addition to fully committing to his career at GHJ, where he has worked since 1997. Tom’s role as GHJ’s Managing…Learn More