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PwC staff given control over working hours and half days on Fridays

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Accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed that staff will be given the option of working from home for at least a couple of days a week, as well as control over their working hours.

The move follows a consultation with the business’s 22,000 employees, and will mean that staff can choose where they work during the week. This is with the understanding that between 40% and 60% of the week will be spent “co-located with their colleagues”, whether that’s in the office or at a client site.

Employees will have freedom to determine their most effective working pattern on any given day, which could mean an earlier start or finish time, while they will also benefit from a reduced working day on Fridays during July and August, on the assumption that most staff will have finished their work by Friday lunchtime.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said that he wanted to see flexible working become the norm rather than the exception, with staff feeling trusted and empowered.

He continued: “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.”

Work where you want

The move comes on the heels of Nationwide Building Society announcing that it was allowing its 13,000 office-based employees to choose where they wanted to work on a day-by-day basis.

The mutual surveyed staff, and found that just 6% would prefer to work in the office five days a week, while more than half (57%) wanted to work from home full-time. The remainder would prefer some sort of blend of home and office work.

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide, said the pandemic had shown that how we do our jobs was much more important than where we do them from, and that staff would now be invited to “‘locate for their day’ depending on what they need to achieve”.

Meanwhile, Santander has announced plans to offer staff more flexible working arrangements after the pandemic, consolidating its various office sites into six main locations. 

Get back to the office

These decisions are in stark contrast to the noises coming out from the government, urging people and businesses to move back to being office based.

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, last week suggested that some staff may “vote with their feet” and quit jobs that do not offer a physical workplace, which was followed by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, stating that “it wouldn’t be a bad thing for people to see their way round to making a passing stab at getting back into the office”.

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