Big Four firm announces flexible working deal for employees

6 April 2021

Following extensive consultation, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has announced changes to allow greater post-pandemic working flexibility for some of its 22,000 UK employees.

PwC, which employs nearly 251,000 people worldwide, is one of the Big Four professional services firms together with Deloitte, EY and KPMG.

Called the “Deal”, the newly announced changes respond to changing working patterns accelerated by Covid. The changes will help embed a hybrid working model, PwC said, and align with its Net Zero commitment.

“The Deal is part of a workforce framework covering everything from learning and development to how our people can make a positive societal difference,” PwC said. “It’s built on two-way flexibility and trust to meet the needs of teams, clients and the firm.”

Key elements

Full details are still to be revealed but the three main principles already announced 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% of their time co-located with colleagues, either in PwC offices or at client sites

  • a reduced working day on a Friday during July and August, with the assumption the majority of our people will finish at lunchtime having condensed their working week.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said: “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.”

PwC said that its offices in England and Wales are now open for those with a business or personal need or those who feel they can be more effective spending some time in the office.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

The pandemic has shown that flexible working is achievable for a lot of employers. PwC’s plans may well pave the way for implementing a more permanent flexible working model across a lot more businesses. However, some employers may struggle to see its benefits.

Ultimately, employers have the autonomy to decide how they move forward with their business as the Government has so far not made permanent flexible working arrangements a legal requirement.