At Fox, Joss & Yankee, free iPads are meant to help keep work/life balance

Company: Fox, Joss & Yankee.

Location:
Reston.

Employees: 10.

In today’s increasingly digital business environment, it has become a matter of routine for many employers to issue smartphones to their workers and to pay for the data plan.

But Reston-based financial planning firm Fox, Joss & Yankee has a decidedly different approach to giving gadgets to their workers.

The company decided not to hand out smartphones in order to encourage staff to maintain a healthy work/life balance. The theory is that this setup creates less pressure to respond to work calls or e-mails when staffers are not on the clock.

“We as a firm have tried to set the expectation that night is our family time,” said Jon Yankee, a partner and the firm’s chief financial officer.

Still, FJY wanted its staff to be able work remotely during business hours and to be able to access office software from home in case of an emergency. And so it developed a compromise: The company gives its workers iPads and pays for a data plan for those devices.

By having separate gadgets, “They really can keep their personal life and their work life separate,” Yankee said.

Tess Downing, one of FJY’s financial advisers, said the firm’s technology policy has made her feel less obligated to stay connected to colleagues and clients after hours.

“The phone to me represented, if I get a call at 10 p.m. from a client, I better be willing to answer that,” Downing said. “But the iPad kind of gave a different option.”

Still, during the workday, the tablet allows Downing to be productive if she is on the go.

“I carry my iPad with me in my purse everywhere,” Downing said.

Yankee said his firm’s emphasis on work/life balance is in part a reflection of what he has noticed millennial generation workers to want from their employer.

“The younger generation is growing up this way,” Yankee said. “The younger generation wants to do their job and wants to do it really well. But they want to work hard and play hard.”

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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