Hybrid work | EY staff to WFH twice a week post-pandemic

EY staff to WFH twice a week post-pandemic

Multinational professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) this week told UK workers via a video conference call that 17,000 staff members that they will be expected to work remotely at least two days per week in its revised post-COVID structure.

The new hybrid working model, which is the latest in a rash of similar announcements by major companies with an office-based physical footprint, was designed to take into account a more integrated working pattern, which also includes client visits.

Speaking on the revised structure, Hywel Ball, EY’s UK Chair, told The Guardian: “The experience of the pandemic has brought new perspectives to our people and our clients on how they manage their working lives.”

However, he did add that the move does not indicate a progression away from the use of physical office space, rather a revision of its usage. “There will always be a need for EY to have office space across the UK, but how we use our offices in the future will change with a greater emphasis on collaboration rather than as a place for individual working,” he said.

EY is the latest member of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms to reveal a shake-up in daily structures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. PwC confirmed in March 2021 that it would switch to a hybrid model, allowing workers to operate from home for half of their hours.

Similarly, KPMG this month announced that its employees would be expected to work from the office just two days a week.

The changes within the ‘big four’ accountancy firms mirror similar trends in many other industries such as insurance and advertising.

Aviva & WPP not returning to office full-time

Earlier in May, HR Grapevine reported that Aviva & WPP were among the biggest UK firms not returning to the office full-time.

"We're never going to go back to working the way we used to work,” Mark Read, Chief Executive of WPP, told the BBC at the time.

"People are working from home three to four days a week so we probably need 20% less space, but we're not going to do that if everyone's working from home on Mondays and Fridays,” he added.

Similarly, Aviva’s Chief People Officer, Danny Harmer, confirmed to the BBC that 95% of its workers stated that they wanted to spend a portion of time working flexibly and remotely in different locations, and as such the company would adopt a flexible structure going forward.

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