‘research shows potential economic hit caused by long-term home working’
PwC in Wales is committed to maintaining office life as part of its flexible working policy as workers begin to return after some Coronavirus lockdown measures were eased.
The professional services firm has an office at One Kingsway in Cardiff city centre, where 280 of its people worked before lockdown which subsequently saw them all work remotely. Capacity in the Cardiff office has now been increased to 50% over the last few weeks, with revised physical distancing measures in place to ensure the safety of all employees.
The move comes as PwC data shows how the UK’s economy overall will be affected by prolonged working from home (WFH), with the UK’s GDP projected to be £15.3bn lower per year.
PwC regional leader for West and Wales John-Paul Barker commented:
“The tools we invested in as a firm over recent years have allowed us to work flexibly, even before the impact of Covid, and our people have been equally productive using them for the last six months.
“The cost to the UK economy is significant if people are universally advised to continue to work from home and we have a duty to support local businesses reliant on our people being in the office at least some of the time.
“For us, there will always be elements to our work that are more effective and easier to do in person. Now we are in a position where we can safely accommodate more people in our One Kingsway office, we are encouraging people to come back in for part of the working week.”
The new PwC research shows how the office/home working balance that PwC is promoting could have benefits for the Welsh economy. It is one of the UK regions that has most to gain from WFH because it currently has low levels of clustering of economic activity in geographic areas, also known as agglomeration.
People spend money in local shops, collaborate with local businesses and attract investment and as such PwC will continue to promote flexible working for its people.
John-Paul Barker continued:
“We believe the future will be a blend of office, home and client-based working, and we are well equipped to do it.
“While we want to support the economies that are tied to our office location, we are also aware of the financial benefits that come from people being able to spend money near to where they live and work some of the time.
“This report recognises that Wales is one of the regions that could benefit from this activity and it should be in everyone’s interest to try to support it.”
Senior manager, Communications, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)7801 766188