Understanding the risks of returning to the physical office
As PwC and its clients begin the slow and uncertain return to physical offices, the firm has responded with solutions to help navigate business, health and safety concerns, while keeping a close eye on risks. With clients across the full spectrum of industries and geographies, the firm’s insights into factors challenging a return to workplace, opportunities presented by compelled changes, and risks both obvious and unexpected have become invaluable as the firm assists clients in what Risk leaders described as the mission to “help clients navigate massive disruptions and uncertainty.” Risk leaders shared that clients are reimagining the workplace and the workforce, questioning which roles are best performed in the traditional workplace; what kinds of physical offices meet business, health and safety needs; and how to mitigate the risks around a feared second wave of coronavirus.
While PwC has been active in assisting clients with immediate challenges, such as navigating the coronavirus relief bill, helping them organize for the massive change management related to Libor’s replacement, and addressing essential safety and productivity issues (see TBR’s special report on PwC’s “Check-in” solution), the firm has also accelerated efforts to pull together PwC-wide assets into newly configured platforms that specifically address the risks associated with returning to physical offices. The firm described its Workforce Planning for a Return to Workplace Dashboard as a technology-enabled tool designed to facilitate clients’ data-driven decisions around a wide range of risks. The tool creates a client-specific dashboard with data and analysis around health, safety and operational risks, as well as analysis around business considerations and employee sentiment and preferences.
In TBR’s view, zip code-specific healthcare (COVID-19) data paired with local regulations around return to work provide an immediately relevant operational view for clients evaluating risks around returning to the workplace, essentially providing a curated way to look at the complexities of all the locally specific issues when planning at the national or international level, knowing one size does not fit all in the COVID-19 world. The platform also provides clients with insight into employees’ remote working preferences, historical trends and risks broken down by region and by employee role. In PwC’s efforts to help clients operate with greater agility, gain better visibility into their business and risks, and anticipate what is next, these newly developed products should provide the firm sustained opportunities to engage with the full range of services.
During an hour-long analyst briefing session, PwC Risk leaders, including Tim Ryan, PwC US chairman and senior partner, shared with TBR recent developments around the firm’s response to COVID-19 as well as shifting client sentiments around the macroeconomic picture for 2020 and 2021. While the following special report contains information provided by PwC as well as TBR’s analysis, a more complete assessment of the firm can be found in TBR’s recently published semiannual Management Consulting Benchmark.
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