KPMG tells more than 16,000 staff they can leave early one day a week after lockdown

KPMG building, London

KPMG building, London

Global accountancy firm KPMG has today told its 16,000-plus staff across the world, that they can leave early one day a week as part of a move towards more flexible working after the latest lockdown.

As part of the new plans, staff members will be in the office four days each fortnight, with the rest of the time at home, at remote sites, or with clients.

KPMG also announced that all employees would also get an extra two-and-a-half-hours off per week in the summer if they complete their normal 35 hours of work.

Jon Holt, CEO of KPMG UK, 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.”

In a staff survey conducted in March, 87% of respondents said they liked not having to commute – and a further 76% enjoyed the flexibility working from home offers.

In the same survey, 65% of KPMG employees in the UK felt they now had a better work-life balance as a result of the working from home situation millions employees are currently in. The firm stated that more than £40m will be spent to increase the productivity of home working.

Holt added:  “Our offices will become a place people go to collaborate and learn. The consequence of the pandemic means we have a whole cohort of people who have never been in the office and never been coached face-to-face - we need to get those connections back. Our new strategy for the future of work will enable our people to reconnect and test our new ways of hybrid working. This is all about flexibility.”

This is a dramatic turnaround for the accountancy giant, UK boss of KPMG Bill Michael left the firm following an investigation into apparent ‘offensive remarks’ that he made at a meeting with colleagues in February. Michael reportedly told employees to ‘stop moaning’ about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their lives and working conditions.

Industry reaction

Dominic Mensah, UK Sales Director at Sinequa, commented: “The decisions by Google and KPMG to embrace the hybrid working model demonstrate the irreversible changes Covid-19 has had on working patterns. To ensure employee productivity and collaboration are not hindered as a result of new working practices, it is vital organisations place innovation at the heart of their digital workplaces.

“The pandemic has demonstrated the clear value of investing in digital workplaces to achieve successful flexible working models. By providing employees with access to solutions that enable them to switch between applications seamlessly, organisations will benefit from productive and engaged employees, regardless of where they are working from.”