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EY has started monitoring UK employees’ office attendance, with swipe card entry data being circulated at senior levels of the firm as some of its staff flout its hybrid working guidelines.
Some partners at the Big Four firm have been shown anonymised “turnstile access” data in recent weeks showing how frequently staff are attending its offices, people at the firm told the Financial Times.
One person said the statistics would be used in parts of the business as a “carrot rather than a stick” to influence teams to comply with EY’s hybrid working guidelines. They added that at least 50 per cent of some teams were failing to meet its policy of being in the office at least two days a week.
The move highlights how large employers are contending with office attendance rates after shifting to hybrid working arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bank of America has sent “letters of education” to US employees who have been failing to show up at the office, while in the UK, Citigroup told its workers in recent months it would start checking that they attended the office at least three days a week. Lloyds Banking Group and HSBC UK have also announced tighter flexible working policies.
Some company bosses, including the UK head of EY’s rival PwC, have become increasingly vocal about the importance of staff coming to the office. More than 80 per cent of company bosses surveyed by KPMG in October said they were likely to reward employees who came in more regularly with better assignments, pay rises or promotions.
Some partners at EY, which employs around 21,000 people in the UK, were also shown analysis correlating office attendance and mid-year performance ratings, one person said.
In October, the firm made “material updates” to its personnel privacy notice, which details how it processed employees’ personal data, according to a message seen by the FT.
Staff were told that the updates would include “changes to the collection and further processing” of swipe card entry data at its offices, which would allow EY to oversee “flexible work arrangements, including awareness of . . . working location”.
EY declined to comment on the collection or use of swipe card data.
One person familiar with the matter said EY did not have a “firm-wide policy” around using swipe card data to influence workplace attendance rates.
Separately, EY is continuing to lay off staff in the UK, with at least 64 more employees told this month that they were at risk of redundancy, people familiar with the matter said. This comes on top of last year’s cuts which totalled 300 positions.
The firm launched a voluntary redundancy scheme for 40 staff in its customer consulting division and a compulsory scheme affecting 24 employees in its financial services legal advisory services team, they added.
EY said: “We continually assess the resourcing needs of our business and, in some parts of the organisation, we are consulting on proposals to align current resourcing requirements with market demand.”