The second-largest accounting firm in the world announced it will let full-time employees in the Unites States work from anywhere.
PricewaterhouseCoopers announced Thursday that all of its 40,000 U.S. client services employees can live and work wherever they choose. Employees will have the option in perpetuity.
In an interview, Yolanda Seals-Coffield, PwC’s deputy people leader, said the company was the first in the industry to offer full-time virtual work. Human resources officers and other support staff already had the remote work option. Notably, employees would need to come to the office up to three times a month for in-person appointments or critical team meetings.
Seals-Coffield attributed the change to the company’s pandemic adaptations and said “working virtually, as we think about the evolution of flexibility, is a natural next step.”
“If you are an employee in good standing, are in client services, and want to work virtually, you can,” she said.
However, PwC will lower the pay of employees who work virtually full-time from lower-cost locations.
“PwC said in a memo to employees this week that it is offering the new policy to attract and retain talent and become more diverse. Partners at PwC whose team members choose to be in the office regularly will not be allowed to work completely remotely,” per Reuters.
PwC staff are still subject to a COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 to visit any PwC office or client location.
“We want our people to feel as safe as possible, and if that ultimately means they want to do their job 100% from home, we’re going to figure out how to make that work,” Shannon Schuyler, the firm’s chief purpose and inclusion officer, told Bloomberg. “I do hope it opens the door for more people to come to the firm and for more people to feel like that fits where they want to be now.”
The company’s policy could usher in a new attitude toward remote work. In April of 2021, a study from the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics found that remote workers often fare worse than their in-office counterparts.
“The survey sadly indicates that remote workers felt the pressure and stress to put in more hours while not reaping the rewards,” noted Forbes.
Employees who primarily worked from home “were less than half as likely to be promoted.” They also “put in 6 hours of unpaid overtime on average per week in 2020” and work later into the night.
Forbes added that “management may feel that the people who choose to go back to the headquarters are more dedicated to their jobs. The flip side of the coin is that some managers may feel remote workers don’t possess the same passion as in-office staff.”
Other major companies have extended a full-time remote option to workers in the wake of the pandemic. Computer software company Atlassian, cryptocurrency services Coinbase, file hosting service Dropbox, and social media giant Facebook changed their policies to allow for remote work permanently.