Working from the comfort of your home was welcomed by many during Corona times. Now that a vaccine roll-out is on and people are gearing up for better times, and some return to the norms of pre Pandemic times. Many companies are grappling with the issue of how to handle the new normal.
The post-Pandemic office scenario is going to be different. Realizing the advantages of work from home and remote settings, many companies have concluded that a hybrid model would be a good solution. Companies like Google, Microsoft, and Walmart have already announced proposals for hybrid work models that will allow employees to continue to work at least a few days a week remotely.
PwC, the consulting firm, taking cognizance of its own survey on the future working scenario, has told its accountants and consultants in the UK that they will spend an average of two to three days a week in the office after the pandemic ends and has promised them a half-day on Fridays this summer.
The company, part of the Big Four consulting firms, in tune with its peers, has told staff that they will typically spend 40 to 60 percent of their time at its 20 UK offices or at client sites, with the rest of the week spent working remotely.
It will also allow the employees greater flexibility to decide their working hours and log on at times that suit them best. This will be a strong departure from the strict logging in at work by latest 9 sharp in the morning and with no set time to go home in such high-profile companies.
“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,” said Kevin Ellis, chair and senior partner at PwC.
Many companies are making peace with the new norm and realities. More than 80 percent of companies are embracing a hybrid model whereby employees will be in the office three days a week, according to a new survey by KayoCloud, a real estate technology platform. Great office spaces of yore will now contract surely. “We really are at an inflection point,” said Meena Krenek, an interior design director at Perkins+Will, an architecture firm that is revamping offices, including its own, for new modes of working.
The pandemic has shown the productivity does not suffer due to remote working. Efficiency and focus have seen work results improve. Here are some numbers gathered from various surveys done by Global Workplace Analytics, CoSo Cloud and Statista:
- 30% of telecommuters save upward of $5,000 a year
- $11,000 is how much companies can save annually for each employee that works remotely half-time
- People who work remotely earn $4,000 more per year on average
- 99% of remote workers want to continue telecommuting in the future
- 90% of remote workers would recommend working remotely to a friend
Nationwide, a British mutual financial institution, last week told 13,000 of its office-based staff that they would be allowed to work from wherever they liked after 57 per cent of employees told the building society they did not want to return to the office after lockdown . David Solomon, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, says working from home is an “aberration”.
PwC has opted for the middle path trying to marry the merits of office attendance for certain tasks like training and collaboration to the advantages of working from home.
The firm calls its hybrid plan “the Deal”. Kevin Ellis said: “We’ve long promoted flexible working, and we hope today’s announcements make it much more the norm rather than the exception.”
On top of that, most PwC employees will be given a half-day on Fridays in July and August this year. If the half-day scenario works out, then it will be adopted for the future, too, a spokesman said.
KPMG last month said it would spend £44m on technology and refitting its offices to accommodate distancing norms. Deloitte has closed shops in many centers all over the UK, allowing about 500 staff the option of working from home full time.