All shook up: post-Covid work plans
● PricewaterhouseCoopers will give UK staff Friday afternoons off this northern summer and allow them to choose the amount of time they work from home as part of a post-pandemic shake-up of working patterns.
The accountancy firm announced its hybrid working model would include “a reduced working day” at the end of the week during July and August, and anticipates most of its 22,000 staff will clock off at lunchtime after a more compact working week.
The announcement comes as companies grapple to work out what post-pandemic work patterns will look like after workers who have spent months working remotely start returning to the office. PwC will allow its staff to choose the times they start and finish their work days, and expect their staff to spend between 40% to 60% of their time with colleagues, either in offices or at client sites, it said this week.
“We want to help enshrine new working patterns so they outlast the pandemic,” said Kevin Ellis, chair and senior partner at PwC. “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 firm will take a phased approach to introducing the new policies, after telling its staff in England and Wales that its offices are open for those who want to go in.
PwC isn’t alone among finance firms racing to adapt to new post-pandemic working norms. As the vaccination rollout in the UK picks up and the country takes its first steps out of lockdown, companies such as Deutsche Bank and Standard Life Aberdeen are giving their staff the choice of spending more time working from home.
IWG, the world’s largest flexible office landlord, has also said that there has been a surge in large companies seeking more access to sites across its locations.
“Companies need to adapt their thinking and take a holistic approach to their future of work,” said Allison English, deputy CEO of workplace research firm Leesman.
Not all companies have embraced such policies. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon has called remote work “an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible.”