Consulting firm PwC has launched a post-Covid working strategy that includes a Friday lunchtime finish during the summer months and an expectation that staff will come to the office two to three days per week.
Known as ‘the Deal’, the strategy was formulated in consultation with employees. Workers will be able to decide the most effective working patterns depending on what they are focusing on in what PwC calls the ‘empowered day’. This means they can start earlier and finish earlier if they wish.
The company also hopes the new hybrid working model will contribute towards its goals to reduce carbon emissions as commuting is cut and workplace facilities used less.
Hybrid working considerations
Employees can continue to work from home, but the expectation is that they will spend an average of 40% to 60% of their time working with colleagues at the office or client sites.
In July and August, there will be a reduced working day on Fridays where most employees will be able to finish at lunchtime “having condensed their working week”.
Chief people officer Laura Hinton said that consultations with staff had shown people wanted to work more flexibly.
“Our people continue to go above and beyond to support their teams and meet the needs of their clients,” she said. “While not everyone is able to work flexibly all of the time, we want to make it as easy as possible when they do.”
The policies will be phased in as lockdown restrictions ease and more people return to the office over the coming months.
PwC also told 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.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, added: “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.”
More detail of how the strategy will work in practice is set to be revealed in the coming weeks, the firm added.
A number of large employers have announced similar hybrid working strategies over the past weeks and months. Nationwide said it would allow 13,000 of its 18,000-strong workforce to choose where they wanted to work after a staff survey, and will close three offices in Swindon.
However, a vocal minority of executives has called for a full-scale return to the office, including Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who described remote working as an “aberration”.