KPMG's 16,000 UK staff to get more time off work

a man standing in front of a building © Reuters

KPMG has told its 16,000 staff they can leave early one day a week as part of a move towards more flexible working after lockdown.

The accountancy giant said staff will work in KPMG offices for four days each fortnight, with the rest of their working week at home and client sites.

Staff will also get an extra two-and-a-half-hours off per week over the summer "to promote wellbeing".

KPMG's move is another example of big firms overhauling home-office life.

Jon Holt, chief executive at 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."

KPMG UK head Bill Michael resigned in February after reports that he told staff to "stop moaning" about the impact of Covid-19 on their lives. He was replaced by Mr Holt.

KPMG said the plan is being introduced in response to feedback from staff who have said that they would feel comfortable spending most of their time at home.

In a staff survey conducted in March, 87% of respondents said they liked not having to commute, 76% enjoyed the greater flexibility working from home offers, and 65% felt they now had a better work-life balance. 

Employees who have to attend offices for work, meetings or training that need to be held in person, will not have to stay for the whole day.

KPMG said it would spend £44m during 2021 on new home-working technology and introducing more collaborative spaces at offices.

Mr 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."

Several big UK employers are introducing flexible working, including HSBC, British Airways and BP. In March, Nationwide building society said it would allow its 13,000 office staff to "choose where they work" - offices, homes or High Street branches.

Some 36% of employees in Britain did at least some work from home last year as the coronavirus outbreak closed many workplaces, a jump from around 26% in 2019, the Office for National Statistics said in April.

KPMG's 16,000 UK staff to get more time off work