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EY becomes latest consultancy firm to embrace hybrid working

Hybrid is the future of work.

Allie Nawrat

EY hybrid working
Credit: Domenico Gentile via Unsplash.

Unleash Your PeopleEY follows in KPMG and PwC footsteps.

  • Professional services companies are introducing flexible, hybrid working for their UK employees.
  • EY has become the third of the Big Four accountancy firms to embrace hybrid working in the UK staff.
  • It is unclear if they will roll these policies out globally, or keep them UK specific.

Unlike the banking sector, which has very mixed opinions on the benefits of remote working in the long-term, the professional services sector is fully on board with the hybrid future of work.

This morning, Ernst & Young (EY) told its UK employees that they should expect to spend two days a week working from home after the pandemic.

Staff are then to split the rest of their time between the office and client workplaces.

The accountancy and consultancy firm plans to launch an experimental trial period of the hybrid model from September, according to the Financial Times.

In addition, it seems that EY is planning to continue to refine its UK hybrid working model, including by thinking about redesigning its offices to include more spaces for meetings.

In the US, it seems that EY is planning to keep its employees working from home for the foreseeable future. However, its US offices are currently open and a small number of employees are allowed to attend.

It is clear that EY is listening to research – including its own – that shows that employees want flexibility in the future of work.

For example, EY’s latest study found that 54% of global employees would consider leaving their jobs in a post-COVID-19 world if they were not offered flexibility in where or when they worked.

What are other professional services firms doing?

In signaling flexible, hybrid working as the future of work, EY is following in the footsteps of its competitors.

Two of the other so-called Big Four professional services firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG – have also said that their UK staff can split their time between the office and remote working. The final one, Deloitte, is yet to publicly declare its perspective on hybrid working.

In early May, KPMG announced that in the post-pandemic world its UK employees will work in the office four days every fortnight. In addition, if they complete their 35 contracted working hours, employees will be allowed to leave early one day a week to support mental wellbeing.

In addition, the Telegraph reported in February that KPMG has redesigned its UK office space to include fewer desks and more meeting and conference rooms.

KPMG UK CEO Jon said: “We trust our people. Our new way of working will empower them and enable them to design their own working week.

“The pandemic has proven it’s not about where you work, but how you work.

“We have listened to our people and designed this strategy around our staff and how they can best support our clients.”

While in March, PwC said that its UK staff will spend two or three days in the office after the pandemic ends.

They will also be entitled to half days on Fridays this summer and will have greater flexibility to choose their working hours.

PwC’s new policies will be phased in as UK lockdown restrictions ease.

PwC chief people officer Laura Hinton said: “Our people continue to go above and beyond to support their teams and meet the needs of their clients.

“While not everyone is able to work flexibly all of the time, we want to make it as easy as possible when they do. 

“From discussions with our people and clients, we believe these changes will make a real difference, helping support greater work life balance and giving our people more confidence to work flexibly.”

It is unclear at this point if any of the big consultancy firms will implement similar hybrid working policies beyond the UK.  

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