In a potential blow to the recuperating office market, PriceWaterhouseCoopers is freeing the entirety of its U.S. workforce to work remotely full-time.
The accounting and consulting firm’s non-client-facing employees already had the option to work remotely full-time. But the latest decision will allow 40,000 client services to work remotely permanently, according to Reuters.
Employees who take the opportunity would be required to come into the office up to three times a month for in-person meetings. The company expects 30 to 35 percent of employees will take up the virtual work offer.
PwC employees who work virtually in a low-cost location may experience a hit to their paychecks. The firm plans to decrease pay for those working remotely from a low-cost place, a policy Google made headlines announcing earlier this summer.
One question the policy creates is the future of PwC’s real estate. The firm — headquartered at 300 Madison Avenue — told Reuters it does plan to change how its office space is used, but isn’t planning any other significant changes at this time.
In total, PwC has 55,000 employees in the U.S., a majority of whom can work remotely going forward. The company previously said its 20,000-person workforce in Britain could decide upon remote working full-time.
More and more companies are either moving towards full-time remote work plans or delaying office returns in light of the Covid Delta variant. Last month, Microsoft and American Express were among the companies delaying employees’ returns to the office.
Still, not everyone is feeling pessimistic about the future of offices in a post-pandemic world.
Google’s $2 billion purchase of an office building to expand its lower Manhattan campus boosted hopes for New York City’s office market and economic recovery.
Cushman & Wakefield is predicting that a return-to-office trend will emerge — both in the U.S. and abroad — during the first quarter of 2022. As of September 22, approximately a third of office workers in the top 10 U.S. markets were back at the office, according to Kastle Systems.
[Reuters] — Holden Walter-Warner