September 24, 2022

Things Are Getting Spicy Between PwC UK Employees and Lord Sugar

After being called “lazy gits” in a tweet last Friday by British businessman, entrepreneur, and TV show host Lord Alan Sugar, who reacted negatively to PwC UK announcing that it would allow employees to take Friday afternoons off from June to the end of August, we were curious to see if any PwCers across the pond would respond to Lord Sugar’s rant. While the firm hasn’t responded, a handful of PwC employees have on LinkedIn. And while many have taken the high road, some have called the former The Apprentice UK host “out of touch,” “old-fashioned,” and “childish.”

ICYMI, here’s Lord Sugar’s tweet regarding PwC’s summer Fridays policy:

And he doubled-down on his hatred of the current work-from-home culture, and PwC’s summer Fridays policy, in a column he wrote for The Daily Mail yesterday:

Covid has had many devastating consequences but — as far as business goes — the most damaging, in my view, is the secondary plague it has unleashed: Working From Home.

Last week, accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers offered their 22,000 UK staff Friday afternoons off during the summer months — assuming they have got their work done by lunchtime that day.

But what about their colleagues and clients around the world? Let’s hope they’re not trying to complete a project that involves PwC’s UK staff on Friday afternoons!

It smacks of an initiative dreamed up by some 30-something exec, who thinks they’re being modern and inclusive.

Well, it isn’t. It’s divisive. What about the security guards, post-room workers, canteen staff and others who have to come into work? They will lose their jobs if this carries on.

Yet an increasing number of large corporations are trying to ingratiate themselves with both their staff and new recruits by promising them ‘hybrid’ working’ — which allows them to work from home for part of the week — or full-on WFH.

It’s unfair towards small businesses who rely on people multi-tasking — filling in here and there — something that’s impossible to do from home. How can they compete?

A lot of old, white businessmen feel the same way about WFH as Lord Sugar. They just don’t rant about it on social media or in a well-known publication. There are old, white executives at my wife’s employer who hate WFH but have acquiesced through gritted teeth to a hybrid work policy because:

  1. They want to retain as many of their employees as possible. People have already left the company when it didn’t adopt a hybrid work policy fast enough for competitors that did.
  2. They know potential new hires are going to ask about it and want it.

Hell, even my dad who is a retired white guy in his 70s isn’t a fan of employees working from home. He spent most of his career at a company that makes specialty coatings, lubricants, and adhesives for the automobile, steel, and manufacturing industries. Just the other day he told me, “You can’t make adhesives and the other products we sell to customers at home; the employees have to come to work to do that. There’s no other way.” Well, obviously. There are exceptions, depending on the industry. But it has been proven since the start of the pandemic that accountants and other non-client-facing employees in other professions CAN do their jobs at home or remotely without having to go to an office. What Lord Sugar and my dad don’t get is that WFH and hybrid work policies are being done in the name of retention and recruiting. My dad had no idea what the Great Resignation was.

Anyhoo, back to the PwCers in the UK who fired back on LinkedIn this week at Lord Sugar calling them “lazy gits” and PwC’s summer Fridays policy “a bloody joke”:

We’ll update this post if PwC UK or Chairman Kevin Ellis throw shade at Lord Sugar too.

Related article:

QOTD: Back In My Day, Accountants Had to Walk Uphill Both Ways In the Hot Sun to Get to Work, Says Crotchety Old British Guy

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1 Comment

  1. It’s all going to change as soon as we have a recession. As someone who’s been through a couple recessions during my career, I can say this with certainty. The corporate overlords are chomping at the bit to re-assume the dominant position in the relationship between employer and employee.

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