EXCLUSIVE PwC tells U.S. employees they never need to go back to the office

The Price Waterhouse Coopers logo can be seen in its Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, September 20, 2019. REUTERS / Wolfgang Rattay // File Photo

NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (Reuters) – Accounting and consulting firm PwC told Reuters it would allow all of its 40,000 U.S. customer service employees to work virtually and live anywhere they go. wish in perpetuity, making it one of the largest employers to adopt permanent remote work.

The policy departs from the rigid attitudes of the accounting industry, known to encourage people to spend late evenings in the office. Other major accounting firms, such as Deloitte and KPMG, have also given employees more choices to work remotely in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PwC Deputy Chief of Staff Yolanda Seals-Coffield said in an interview that the company was the first in its industry to offer full-time virtual work to customer service employees. Support staff and PwC employees in areas such as human resources and legal operations that clients do not face already had the opportunity to work virtually full time.

PwC employees who choose to work virtually should come to the office a maximum of three days per month for in-person appointments such as critical team meetings, client visits and learning sessions, Seals said. Coffield.

“We’ve learned a lot through the pandemic, and working virtually, as we think about the evolution of flexibility, is a natural next step,” Seals-Coffield said. “If you’re an employee in good standing, customer service and want to work virtually, you can, period. “

However, location is factored into the compensation of PwC employees, Seals-Coffield said. Employees who choose to work practically full-time in a cheaper location would see their pay cut, she added.

Google also bases employee compensation on their location, those who work from home all the time potentially earn less. Read more

Most American white-collar workers have been working from home since the pandemic took hold in March 2020. CEOs have struggled to bring employees back, comparing their management style and preferences to risks such as the more contagious variants of COVID -19 and workers rejecting vaccines. Read more

PwC said in a note to employees this week that it is proposing the new policy to attract and retain talent and diversify. PwC partners whose employees choose to be in the office on a regular basis will not be allowed to work completely remotely.

“We are confident that we can manage hybrid teams,” said Seals-Coffield. She added that PwC research suggests that 30-35% of its eligible employees will accept the company’s offer. PwC has a total of 55,000 US employees, and with its new policy, the majority will be able to work virtually if they wish.

Seals-Coffield said PwC does not plan to make any significant changes to its real estate footprint due to the new policy. The company plans to use its office spaces in a different and more collaborative way, she said, without elaborating.

In addition to providing auditing and accounting services, PwC consults with companies on issues such as getting back to the office. Asked how PwC’s new policy will inform its advice to clients on the subject, Seals-Coffield said other organizations are deciding how to approach this “in a way that works for their people.”

In June, PwC announced it would hire 100,000 people over the next five years in jobs that would help clients account for diversity and the climate. The company currently employs 284,000 people worldwide.

Deloitte said in June that all of its 20,000 employees in Britain would be allowed to choose in the future whether they worked from home or not.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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