It was a robust and timely discussion as NJBIZ held its latest Town Hall Ask the Experts event April 26, featuring a group of business community members including Luis De La Hoz, first vice president, regional director, commercial lending, Valley Bank; Daniel Stolz, partner and chair of Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditor’s Rights, Genova Burns; Brian Lowe, president and CEO, BML Public Relations & Digital; and Richard Jania, managing director, CBIZ Marks Paneth.
The event was moderated by NJBIZ Chief Editor Jeff Kanige, who opened the discussion by asking the group about their current workplace realities due to the pandemic.
“I’m curious to go around the room and see how the nature of work for all of you and in your organizations has changed,” Kanige said.
The answers varied, offering insight into how different companies in different types of industries are adapting to the new normal.
“Our firm is trying to bring people in two days a week to try and encourage people to come back in,” Stolz said. “Hopefully, we’re on an upward pattern where they relax things. But it’s been challenging.”
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“We adjust to using technology. Valley moved 70% of the employees to work remotely in almost like a week,” De La Hoz said. “And we use the branch as our best ally because customers can visit the branches to the drive-thru to provide documents and to provide the information that we need in order for us to assist them.”
“It’s a little bit difficult. Everybody’s trying to find a happy medium between coming to the office and working remotely,” Jania explained. “Our industry has taken the position, for now, both accounting firms, that it’s optional to come to the office. Our offices are open. We encourage employees to come to the office, but at the current time it is optional to the office”
“We actually reopened our office back in February. And I probably don’t sound like the most popular person on this webinar because of it,” said Lowe. “Once we got in, I think that we found that the collaboration just worked better for us.”
Lowe also referenced Jania’s happy-medium point, saying his organization has strived to reach it. “We’ve also instituted a bank of remote time that are virtual days that people can use,” he Lowe.
The discussion ran through issues such as technology, inflation, interest rates, hiring and retention costs, and, of course, questions from the audience.
A full wrap-up from this event will be featured in the May 2 issue of NJBIZ.l