In a firm-wide all-hands call yesterday, EY revealed its plan to return to some semblance of normal work at the same time state governments are considering lifting lockdown restrictions and allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen. Get excited, people, there is in fact a light at the end of this tunnel, dim as it may be.
Let’s take a look:
You’ll note the plan is to keep work-from-home active through Phase 3.
Movement through the phases will be evaluated by OMP and RMP on the local level and approved by the Crisis Response Team, with advancement to the next phase dependent on downward trends in new COVID-19 cases. As we understand it, the EY plan assumes no coronavirus vaccine anytime soon, which is certainly a cautious and probably reasonable assumption.
As we’re reading it, in order to consider Phase 1 the firm would like to see a 28-day downward trend in local cases before it considers a soft reopen of EY facilities. Additionally, the facility will need to have appropriate PPE on hand (that’s personal protective equipment, not the other kind of PPE we know they already have). Client sites will also have to have safety protocols in place before staff are allowed to their facilities.
So assuming conditions are met and things don’t get any worse, it’s possible EY staff could be functioning at close to normal by September, though that assumes ideal conditions and an as-yet unrealized downward trend in cases. Yesterday the United States saw 24,798 new reported COVID-19 cases. CDC new case data shows a flattening but no observable downward trend yet.
EY is the first Big 4 firm we’ve seen unveil a plan to get things back to normal, or at least as close to normal as we’re going to get for quite some time. That’s certainly not a criticism of other firms for dragging their heels, everyone is doing the best they can with the limited information we have that seems to change from day-to-day.