KPMG UK staff will only work in office two days a week after pandemic

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Accounting and consulting group KPMG has told its 16,000 UK employees they are only expected to work an average of two days in the office each week starting next month, as the company revealed plans for a hybrid working model post-pandemic.

Under the new initiative, which the company has called the “four-day fortnight,” staff will spend the remaining days working from home or at customer sites.

In addition, over the summer, staff will also be given an additional 2.5 hours off each week “to give people time away from work and recharge their batteries.”

All staff will be given an additional day off on June 21, when the government plans to end all social distancing restrictions – which many see as the end of the pandemic.

KPMG’s new working arrangements were unveiled as Google said it expected 20% of its staff to work from home permanently in the future. The search engine group said it expects 60% of employees will work in offices, 20% will work in new offices and 20% will stay at home.

These proposals contrast sharply with the approach taken by investment bank Goldman Sachs. On Tuesday, Goldman took the opposite direction, telling its US and UK bankers to prepare to return to its offices next month.

Jon Holt, Managing Director of KPMG UK, said: “We trust our people. Our new way of working will empower them and allow them to design their own work week. The pandemic has proven that it’s not about where you work, it’s about how you work. “

The company, from which UK President Bill Michael resigned in February after telling staff to ‘stop complaining’ about the pandemic, is also investing £ 44million this year to turn its offices into ‘collaborative spaces and invest in new home working technologies. for staff ”.

David Solomon, the managing director of Goldman Sachs, who described working from home as an “aberration”, told British workers to plan their return from June 21. U.S. staff will begin a return to the office starting June 14.

In other parts of the world where the pandemic is under control, such as Asia-Pacific, most Goldman Sachs employees are already back in their desks.

“We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and learning thrives when our people come together,” said Solomon, in a memo also signed by Chairman John Waldron and CFO Stephen Scherr.

“We look forward to more of our colleagues returning to the office so that they can experience it again on a regular basis.”

While the memo added that staff wishing to continue working from home should discuss this with their manager, such requests from the bank’s 6,000 employees in London are unlikely to be well received.

In February, Solomon said the bank needed to “correct” the practice of working from home “as soon as possible”, promising it would not become “a new normal.”

Goldman’s working conditions came under scrutiny during the pandemic after junior U.S. analysts wrote a report claiming they were subjected to 100-hour work weeks.

Last week, rival JPMorgan Chase told all of its U.S. bankers that they should prepare to return to work on a “consistent rotation schedule” by early July, in line with the lifting of pandemic restrictions in many American cities such as the main financial center of New York. .

CEO Jamie Dimon’s memo added with a bit of condescension that staff who have forgotten how an office works can start acclimating to a work environment again starting May 17.

However, Dimon also said that the largest bank in the United States is planning to “drastically” reduce its office space. “For 100 employees, we might need seats for just 60 on average,” he said.

Financial services companies are taking a variety of approaches to working in an office in a post-pandemic world.

HSBC, the UK’s largest bank, is moving to a hybrid model and plans to reduce its property footprint by up to 40% in the long term, and Lloyds Banking Group, the UK’s largest bank, said that ‘she would. bring home work as a permanent change in lifestyle, which allows it to reduce its office space by 20%.

In March, Nationwide, the UK’s largest construction company, said its 13,000 non-branch employees would be allowed to work wherever they wanted.

Jes Staley, the boss of Barclays, who hopes to keep a significant number of traders in Canary Wharf in the future, has previously said working from home was “not sustainable” for large financial institutions.

Staff at its corporate and investment banking operations in London and New York are expected to return to work from mid-June.

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