KPMG delays hybrid working plans after ‘Freedom Day’ postponement

KPMG has pushed back plans to launch a new hybrid working regime for its UK staff following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Covid-19 restrictions would remain in place longer than originally planned.

Johnson said on 14 June that the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ scheduled for 21 June would be pushed back until 19 July in response to a rise in the number of cases of the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19.

The delay to the government’s roadmap for lifting restrictions from 21 June to 19 July means that the government’s advice to work from home where possible will be maintained.

KPMG’s plan for staff to spend four days every two weeks working out of the firm’s offices was due to take effect from 21 June, but has now been delayed.

READ Delay to lift lockdown means government’s advice to work from home remains

“Our ‘four-day fortnight’ hybrid working plans were due to commence from 21 June onwards, but this was always subject to government advice. We will now be looking to the UK government guidance ahead of 19 July before commencing with that, if it’s deemed safe to do so,” a KPMG UK spokesperson said.

The firm said staff would continue to work from home following Johnson’s announcement that the scheduled lifting of restrictions would be delayed.

“Following yesterday’s announcement, our people will continue to work from home where possible but colleagues are still able to request to return to the office or a client site for a business or wellbeing reason,” the spokesperson said.

READ KPMG staff to work from the office just two days a week

The firm’s previously announced day off for all of its staff on 21 June will still go ahead.

“Next Monday (21 June) is due to be a well-being day off work for our people, reflecting their hard work and dedication during the pandemic. This will still go ahead,” the spokesperson said.

Fellow Big Four firm EY said its staff would continue to work from home following Johnson’s announcement, with plans to roll out a new hybrid working approach from September.

“We are encouraging our people to work from home where they can, but EY offices remain open, on a reduced capacity basis, for those needing to work from an office location. We expect to begin transitioning to a hybrid working model from this September, once social distancing restrictions are lifted,” a spokesperson said.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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