PricewaterhouseCoopers Says Most U.S. Staffers Can Now Live Anywhere

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The firm says thousands of consultants, auditors and others may choose to do their work largely from home, as the pandemic changes

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A PwC spokesperson said the pay would be determined based on the employee’s geographic location, and therefore those moving to a low-cost area could see their compensation affected. The company has dozens of offices across the US, with its main headquarters in New York City.

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PwC’s US chairman and senior partner Tim Ryan said during a spring 2021 interview that there is a compelling reason for companies to grow their workplaces, if only to remain attractive as an employer. “Talents have their own choice of where they are going,” he said.

PwC’s new policy is designed to give more flexibility to existing employees and help the firm attract new employees, but it also reflects the growing acceptance for remote working in the corporate sector, even among professionals. Also for those who interact with customers at large. Before the pandemic, consultants, auditors and tax professionals often spent most of their time on the road, traveling to clients’ offices.

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PwC employs approximately 55,000 people in the US, including support workers who work in human resources, marketing or other functions. Many of those employees had existing flexible and remote working arrangements. A spokesperson said it is unclear how many client-facing employees would prefer to work remotely, although PwC expects a clear idea later this month.

Many employers, especially those in technology, have announced more flexible workplace policies in recent months. Facebook Inc.

told its employees in June that it would expand remote-work eligibility to all levels of the company, including early-career employees and entry-level engineers. The social-media giant said at the time that people who did not get approval to stay away would be expected to come into office, at least 50% of the time.

Employers like online real estate company Zillow Group Inc.,

cloud-storage company dropbox Inc.

And others have said that most employees can work remotely. Alphabet Inc. NS

Google said earlier this year that it has allowed about a fifth of its employees to work remotely permanently, and a fifth to change office locations. Beyond technology, companies like insurer Allstate Corporation

has decided that most of its roles can be performed remotely or on a hybrid basis.

Employees have indicated they want more options on how they operate, although not all employees are ready to leave offices. In a survey of 1,000 American adults commissioned by insurer Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company this summer, 41% of respondents said they look forward to returning to the office again. But another 29% of respondents said that, while they looked forward to interacting with coworkers, they would prefer to work from home or from a hybrid approach. Ten percent of respondents said they were not comfortable returning to office in any capacity.

In major cities, office occupancy has increased slightly in recent weeks, although it remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Offices in 10 major U.S. cities were occupied by just 34.4% in the week ending Sept. 22, a security company that tracks access-card swipes in buildings across the U.S. Withdrawal dates have been extended till 2022. .

As more companies work remotely, at least for short periods of time, the role of the office is also changing. Workers who have returned to offices in recent weeks say they are often planning back-to-back meetings with coworkers, or using the spaces as an opportunity to catch up and socialize with peers , saving the concentrated work for home.

Intellum Inc., an Atlanta-based company that makes education software, said many of the firm’s employees worked remotely even before the pandemic, and the company continues to hire remote employees nationwide. Intelm chief executive Chip Ramsey said one key to making remote culture work is to bring all employees together individually once a year.

“It shouldn’t be a lot of time. When we’re together, we’re not even really working. We’re just getting together and hanging out, and just having fun,” Mr. Ramsey he said. “We talk about a little work stuff, but it just creates a different level of bond that can really get us through the whole year.”

Chip Cutter at [email protected]

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