October 20, 2020

EY, PwC Jumping On the Mandatory Work-From-Home Bandwagon Due to COVID-19

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Thanks to a tipster, here’s the email EY U.S. Chair Kelly Grier sent to all EYers Sunday evening regarding where they’ll be working for the foreseeable future:

I’m reaching out this evening to express my recognition and concern for the evolving situation involving COVID-19 and the complexity and uncertainty it’s causing across our daily lives. We are living through an unprecedented time. I know you are all concerned about how it will impact you and your loved ones, and you are rightfully asking for more specific guidance on the expectations of your work location in light of the developments over the weekend.

As I’ve said before, your personal well-being should continue to be your number one priority as it is ours. We continue to strongly recommend you take the guidance around social distancing very seriously—there’s no question that social distancing is the best way to combat this pandemic in our society.

With the dramatic actions taken by countless states and government authorities, we have determined that we must do our part to protect our people and our communities from the spread of the virus. As a result, we are issuing revised guidance as follows:

Mandatory work from home effective Tuesday until further notice.

We’ve previously strongly encouraged you to work from home, and many clients have issued similar guidance. Based on the escalation of the pandemic, increased cases in the US, and ensuing government guidance issuing restrictions in some states to close public gathering spaces, such as restaurants, we will close our offices across the US this week and move to a full work from home approach beginning Tuesday, March 17. This includes those of you currently working at an EY office as well as those of you working at a client location.

All US EY offices will be accessible through 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 to allow people to gather any necessary files or belongings.

If you are prepared to work from home for an extended period of time, you should begin that immediately on Monday morning. We are taking business continuity actions to prepare for office closures. In addition to those critical to facilitating business continuity processes, we know that a small number of you may need time to prepare for office closures, gather critical files, your belongings and make arrangements to work from home until further notice. For those people, we will keep our offices open through 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Again, if you feel uncomfortable entering our offices for any reason, talk to your team leader and we will make accommodations to support you.

Our technology will support you during this time; critical office staff will be available on a limited basis.

We are evaluating the level of support we need physically in our offices to support critical business related to the functioning of our business. We are extremely fortunate to have established flexible work practices with the vast majority of us able to work from home—both client serving and core business services.

There are a very small number of our people who may have a more absolute need to be in the office, and we are working on contingency planning with those groups. If you fall within that category, you should expect outreach from your business leader.

Our business enablement functions, including ESS and other support teams, will also be working remotely to support you.

After Wednesday, March 18 Region Managing Partner, Service Line Vice Chair or business unit leader approval is required to work in our offices.

Discontinue working at client locations within 48 hours.

For those of you who have been working at client locations, we ask you talk with your team leader to support client communication regarding our guidance to fully work from home. Region Managing Partner, Service Line Vice Chair or business unit leader approval is required to work onsite at client locations. Your first course of action should be to work through your team leader to communicate with clients and they will then seek approval in the extremely rare circumstance that it may be required to work onsite at a client location. Social distancing is the best course of action for our clients as well as our people to promote the health and safety of all.

Practice good remote working protocols and practices.

During this extraordinary time, we ask that you work closely with your engagement team members to remain productive and focused on meeting our clients’ needs and deadlines. Communication will be vitally important, and you are encouraged to communicate regularly with your team members and team leaders on how best to achieve your engagement objectives and deadlines in the most productive fashion. Supporting all of our EY family during these extraordinary times also means focusing on our business and mitigating the significant disruption that is presented by the pandemic such that we can continue to support and invest in our people and our future. We all need to do our part for each other and our future; our culture of teaming will sustain us through this historic and truly extraordinary period.

Continue to support each other during this time.

We are all facing unique and challenging situations in our personal lives. This includes shortages of supplies at grocery stores and extended closures of schools that today’s individuals and families have never faced before. Elevated communication, compassion and recognition of challenges among teams has never been more critical. Look for more information on resource and policies to support you, and please remember EY Assist is a valuable resource should you or your family members need support and is available 24 hours a day at +1 800 333 4119 or through www.eyassist.com.

We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates as the situation unfolds. In the meantime, please direct any questions about COVID-19 to coronavirussupport@ey.com.

Thank you, once again, for all you do and please take care.

Kelly Grier
US Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner

We’re seeing elsewhere that PwC has also gone 100% work from home for the next two weeks. It looks like Deloitte and KPMG haven’t made that announcement yet. We’ll keep you guys posted if/when Deloitte and KPMG go into full work-from-home mode.

UPDATE: Someone on r/accounting posted the message PwC U.S. Chairman Tim Ryan sent to PwCers, saying all PwC offices will be closed for two weeks starting tomorrow:

PwC closing all US offices tomorrow May 17th. from Accounting

Gotta get all them 1065s out the door first before EY and PwC closes their offices, I guess.

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