Deloitte tells its 20,000 UK employees they can work from home forever

Auditing giant to shift to fully flexible working post-pandemic

Kate Ng
Saturday 19 June 2021 12:20 BST
Deloitte’s employees in the UK will be able to ‘choose when, where and how they work in the future'
Deloitte’s employees in the UK will be able to ‘choose when, where and how they work in the future' (Getty Images)

Deloitte is giving all of its employees in the UK the ability to choose to work from home forever as it embraces flexible working permanently.

Chief executive Richard Houston confirmed on Friday that its 20,000-strong workforce will be able to choose when, where and how they work in the future.

The auditing giant, which is one of the “big four” accounting firms, said the pandemic had accelerated its hybrid working model. Deloitte has allowed extended flexible working since 2014, but less than half its UK workforce worked from home on a regular basis before Covid-19.

The move sets it apart from rivals Earnst & Young (EY), KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC),  who all want employees to work in their offices for at least two days a week.

A recent staff survey showed that while 81 per cent of respondents anticipated working from a Deloitte office for up to two days a week in the future, nearly all (96 per cent) of the firm’s employees wanted the freedom to choose how flexibly they will work.

Houston said in a statement:  “The impact of the pandemic has profoundly changed our way of life, not least in the way we work. The last year has really shown that one size does not fit all when it comes to balancing work and personal lives.

“It has also shown that we can trust our people to make the right choice in when, how and where they work.

“Once the Government has lifted all of the Covid-19 restrictions and we’re back up to full office capacity, we will let our people choose where they need to be to do their best work, in balance with their professional and personal responsibilities.

“I’m not going to announce any set number of days for people to be in the office or in specific locations. That means that our people can choose how often they come to the office, if they choose to do so at all, while focusing on how we can best serve our clients.”

Deloitte said its office buildings will be used mainly for team collaboration, training and client meetings once offices are allowed to return at full capacity. All the firm’s offices in the UK reopened on 17 May 2021 and remain accessible for people who cannot work from home.

Houston said the flexible working plans also linked closely to the firm’s “wider sustainability goals” and will “ultimately help us achieve our World Climate commitments”.

It comes after reports emerged earlier this week that millions of UK workers could be given the right to work at home if ministers approved plans to make working from home the default after the pandemic.

However, Downing Street denied the reports and said the government has “no plans” to make working from home permanent or introduce a legal right to do so.

The denial comes despite Boris Johnson’s promise in the 2019 Conservative manifesto to consult on making working from home “the default unless employers have good reasons not to”. A Flexible Working Taskforce is currently reviewing the issue.

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