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BDO opts for flexible work model post-pandemic

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Leading accountancy firm BDO has confirmed their shift to flexible working after lockdown measures are eased.

18th May 2021
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As social distancing measures are eased and we emerge out of the third (and hopefully final) national lockdown, accountancy firm BDO has reportedly decided to take the flexible approach to work post-pandemic.

BDO will now allow employees the opportunity to choose a way of working that most suit them on any given day, depending on what work they are currently doing. This will likely result in an amalgamation of hybrid working, which more and more businesses are exploring in the run-up to our return to ‘normal’ office life.

“Teams will work out amongst themselves with clients when they should be together and when they won’t,” BDO UK managing partner told the Financial Times Paul Eagland.

Rather than setting out a strict schedule, this approach allows staff greater autonomy over their work and personal lives.

A survey from BDO found that 79% of their staff were in favour of a flexible working model once offices opened their doors once more.

Throughout the pandemic, BDO’s offices stayed entirely closed off to all staff. Ahead of the grand reopening, BDO has designated £10m to fund investments in technology throughout the next few years. This is in a bid to improve the quality of their remote working to support their new flexible approach.

Other accounting firms like Deloitte and KPMG have made the decision to close certain offices due to remote working, reducing the need for staff capacity. However, BDO has confirmed that they are not planning anything similar, and are actually looking to increase their team without the need for more space.

Big Four flexibility

This comes after an increasing number of firms are opting for a similar route, with big four firm PwC recently announcing their shift to flexible work.

Amongst other elements, PwC is now offering their employees:

  • overall flexibility to continue remote working post-pandemic, with the option to explore hybrid working
  • an ‘empowered day’ which allows employees to choose the working pattern that most suits them
  • a shorter working day every Friday during July and August.

These changes are in response to the disruption caused to regular working patterns influenced by Covid-19 and will work to support their new flexible approach.

“Without conscious planning now there’s a risk we lose the best bits of these new ways of working when the economy opens up again,” commented PwC chairman and senior partner Kevin Ellis.

“The future of work is changing at such a pace we have to evolve continually how we do things to meet the needs of our people and our clients.”

A sustainable strategy?

More and more firms are now looking to adopt a hybrid way of working as we emerge out of the pandemic. There has been an even greater emphasis on staff  wellbeing over the past year, 

Flexible working was sustainable in the pre-Covid world (we all did it at Hudson Business Accountants and Advisers which I sold in 2017), a necessity through the pandemic and, of course, will be sustainable post-Covid,” commented chartered accountant Della Hudson.

“What that actually looks like will be different for every firm and every employee too so employers will need to be flexible in their approach. A flexible mindset can be harder to achieve than the actual flexible working.”

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