PwC reopens six UK offices

18 June 2020 2 min. read
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As the Covid-19 lock-down measures ease across England, PwC has reopened its offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Reading and Bristol. PwC staff will not be rushed back to work, however, as PwC UK Chair Kevin Ellis clarified that the firm aims to reduce business travel.

The Big Four professional services firms acted quickly to close their respective offices across the UK in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, as the UK Government shifts its lock-down policy to allow non-essential businesses to open once more, PwC has announced that it is to reopen six of its British offices with “reduced occupancy” from mid-June.

According to a statement from PwC UK Chair Kevin Ellis, the firm’s locales in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Reading and Bristol can safely accommodate 15% of the firm’s staff, or around 3,300 of its 22,000 UK employees. That portion is not an immediate number either – PwC is keen not to rush its staff back into office, and a spokesperson from the Big Four firm has since stated that it will continually review and test before increasing its numbers in a location.

PwC reopens six UK offices

The consulting industry is one of the most travelled industries of all, with some studies suggesting the average Management Consultant spends up to 80% of their working life on the road. This has positioned the sector in a particularly difficult position – as it looks to retain profitability with international clients, while looking to avoid falling victim to the quickly spreading virus.

Ellis confirmed that the move for PwC staff to return to working in-house was motivated by the consulting sector’s need to work with clients face-to-face. He also confirmed that the accounting and advisory group has an entire team dedicated to working out how PwC employees will “return to the office in the safest, most practical way.”

Speaking to the press, Ellis added, “Just because we can work from home, I don’t think we should – at least not all the time. We’re a people business and the virtual world isn’t a substitute for human contact for a business like ours… Physical proximity helps with ideas, helps with teamwork, helps with mentoring and developing our staff, and is important for mental health. There’s also a multiplier effect – when we get back into the office, the local communities that support offices benefit, too.”