Raleigh consulting firm's flexible scheduling puts families first during pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Work and family life is enough to handle during the pandemic but mix in the returning headache of how to handle your children's schooling and it may just be a little bit too much. One Raleigh company is doing its best to alleviate that stress with fully flexible scheduling.

We first met Greg Ng back in March when he was doing socially distanced family "porchraits" to raise money for the Food Bank. By day, he's the CEO of Brooks Bell, a Raleigh based consulting group.

"I'm a CEO of this company but I'm also a father dealing with the same challenges that every parent is dealing with." he said.

Since March, Ng's normally bustling offices have been empty; roughly 50 employees all now working from home. About 60 percent of them are parents or caretakers, which is what motivated him to change things up.

"If I can set the tone policy-wise and be able to say to our employees 'Hey, it is really important to make your decision to do what's right for your family, and then let's as a group re-prioritize the way in which we schedule our meetings and our flexibility. We're all better for it," Ng said.

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Christine Barnes is the company's Accounting Manager and the mother of two teenage daughters.

"I take it in my own hands and make my own schedule as to when I'm going to get certain things done so that I can accomplish my big picture goals, and that's been great that they trust me enough to be able to manage that and balance it well," Barnes said.

Barnes started at the company just two weeks before the pandemic hit. A seasoned work-from-home pro, she still initially struggled.

"I think I worked a little bit too much, a little bit too long," she said. "And I got to where I had a mini breakdown and realized I needed to pull back."

Ng knows life is hard enough right now. His job as he sees it is to not only serve his clients but first and foremost his employees' needs.

"Give empowerment to our employees to not worry about that part and understand that we as an organization support the utmost flexibility in terms of schedule," Ng said.

Barnes said those aren't just corporate talking points at Brooks Bell -- they're reality.

"They always are reaching out to see, make sure we have everything we need to work from home, for personal, for family. They walk the walk there," she said.

The work is getting done. Just differently.

"We're strong. Our momentum is building and this is just another way that we feel is the right decision for our company and is the right decision for our business." Ng told ABC11.

Brooks Bell has also opted to give their employees a paid day off on Election Day so they can exercise their right to vote and perhaps spent part of the day volunteering or with their families.
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