Take Friday Afternoons Off This Summer, PwC Tells U.K. Staff

PricewaterhouseCoopers will give U.K. staff Friday afternoons off this summer and allow them to choose the amount of time they spend working from home as part of a post-pandemic shakeup 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 working patterns will look like after workers who have spent months working remotely start returning to the office. PwC will allow its employees to choose the times they start and finish their working days, and expect their staff to spend between 40% to 60% of their time with their colleagues, either in offices or at client sites, it said in a statement Wednesday.

“We want to help enshrine new working patterns so they outlast the pandemic,” said Kevin Ellis, chairman 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 employees in England and Wales this week that its offices are open for those who want to go. The new policies come after consultation with employees, and more details will be announced in the coming weeks, the statement said.

New Policies

PwC isn’t alone among finance firms racing to adapt to new post-pandemic working norms. As the vaccination rollout in the U.K. picks up and the country takes the first steps on its roadmap out of lockdown, companies such as Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Life Aberdeen Plc are opting to give their staff the choice of spending more time working from home. IWG Plc, 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 chief executive officer of workplace research firm Leesman.

Not all companies have embraced such policies. David Solomon, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has called remote work “an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible.”

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