Professional services firm PwC has announced that it will allow greater flexibility for post-pandemic working to its 22,000 employees in the UK.
The announcement, which the company is calling ‘the Deal’, will “help embed a hybrid working model and align with PwC’s Net Zero commitment”.
The policy is built on two-way flexibility and trust to meet the needs of teams, clients and the firm, according to PwC. The full details will be shared over the coming weeks but three key elements are:
- An ‘Empowered day’ – which gives the workforce more freedom to decide the most effective working pattern on any given day – for example, an earlier start and finish time.
- Flexibility to continue working from home as part of blended working, with an expectation that people will spend an average of 40-60 per cent of their time co-located with colleagues, either in its offices or at client sites.
- A reduced working day on a Friday during July and August, with the assumption that the majority of its people will finish at lunchtime, having condensed their working week.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said: “We’ve long promoted flexible working, and we hope today’s announcements make it much more the norm rather than the exception. We want our people to feel trusted and empowered.
“These changes are in direct response to soundings from our people, who’ve said they value a mix of working from home and in the office. We want to help enshrine new working patterns so they outlast the pandemic. Without conscious planning now there’s a risk we lose the best bits of these new ways of working when the economy opens up again. The future of work is changing at such a pace we have to evolve continually how we do things to meet the needs of our people and our clients.”
The policies will be phased in as lockdown restrictions ease and more people return to the office over the coming months. PwC told its employees this week that its offices in England and Wales are open for those with a business or personal need or those who feel they can be more effective spending some time in the office.
Chris Biggs, partner at consultancy Theta Global Advisors, said: “PwC’s adopting new policies will account for substantial differentiations in their employees' experience of working during Covid-19. However, greater flexibility is still needed to account for different experiences and resources. While some employees will relish a blended approach, others will want to be in the office 100 per cent of the time, while others will want the complete opposite, and companies need to account for this on a case-by-case basis. PwC will be making a major positive impact on the finance industry with their announcement, and working environments are looking like they will never return to what they were in 2019, changing very much for the better but for the best impact on employee’s lives and their productivity we need to go that little bit further."
PwC’s move follows other organisations like Nationwide, which announced plans to enable its 13,000 office-based employees to do their jobs from anywhere in the UK in a new ‘work anywhere’ scheme.
The news also comes as Google has reportedly announced that it expects its US employees to live within commuting distance of their offices and work at least three days a week from them when the company's current policy of exclusively remote working ends on 1st September.