While none of us read HR Brew they interviewed Frank Giampietro, chief well-being officer for the Americas, about EY’s return-to-office expectations so guess we’re reading them today. Firms’ attitudes toward remote and hybrid work have changed quite a bit since PwC proudly announced all 40,000 U.S. client services employees can work virtually and live anywhere they want in perpetuity two years ago so it’s good to find out what the firms are doing with RTO from time to time.
Where’s EY on hybrid work these days? HR Brew:
Embracing “predictable flexibility.” Currently, EY expects most people to spend between 40% and 60% of their time working “together in person,” and the rest remotely, according to Giampietro.
In July 2022 Giampietro spoke to another HR rag we don’t read about how the firm was herding its people back under the fluorescent lights. At that point in time the firm said an employee survey showed a lot of people wanted to be in the office part-time (X) however the actual number of people showing up in the office didn’t reflect that.
HR Executive wrote:
Earlier this year, the firm instituted what it called the “EY way of working transition fund” that covered all commuting costs, all dependent care costs and all pet care costs for its U.S. workers so that those barriers would be removed for office visits. All of its 55,000-plus U.S. employees were able to ask for reimbursements on those costs an unlimited amount of times.
And here’s where we’re at today:
Last year, Giampietro and his team sought to understand “what else was holding people back from coming together,” besides upticks in Covid-19. They picked up on financial concerns related to commutes, as well as dependent and pet care, and decided to offer employees an $800-a-year “way of working” fund to alleviate some of these costs.
EY rolled out the fund in February 2022, and has since seen a 150% year over year uptick in time spent together in the office, Giampietro said. Due to the success of the stipend, EY will offer it annually going forward. The idea, he added, is to “ease the burden for you to kind of get back into new habits of coming together again.”
Reminder that the average cost per in-office day is $71 (assuming pet care is part of your costs) which means an $800/year stipend would cover approximately eleven days in office. Hybrid workers spend a more modest $36 per day, that breaks down to 22 days. Technically 22.22 so 22¼ days. The average American commuter spends $8,466 and about 19% of their annual income on their commute every year, if you live in Detroit, Atlanta, NYC, SoCal, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, or Washington, DC your average commute cost per year is closer to $10,000.
Back on topic. As with anything else Big 4, the in-office expectations are heavily dependent on your team. HR Brew says “certain parts of the business spend over 80% of their time in a hybrid environment” which could mean 80% in the office or 80% remote, who knows. Other teams are hybrid closer to half, they said.
EYers are welcome to chime in with their own anecdotal data.