A response to parents’ need for a more flexible return to work
An important part of our ongoing efforts at PwC Switzerland to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion is to give our people the flexibility to grow and develop their own way – which naturally includes finding a balance that enables them to best meet their professional and personal responsibilities. Getting the work-life balance right can be a challenge in the ambitious environment of the professional services industry, especially since the arrival of COVID-19, and no more so than when a new child is on the way.
For this reason we have come up with a new, flexible deal for the weeks and months after our employee’s initial parental leave. Once parents come back from their leave time (16 weeks for mothers and 2 weeks for fathers on full-time pay plus any additional vacation and/or unpaid leave they may also wish to take), both mothers and fathers can choose between two flexibility deals:
The option of coming back to work part-time for a certain period gives mums and dads the flexibility to choose how they go about finding their feet at work again while managing their changed role as parents. It’s also an opportunity for them to experience working part-time and gauging whether this might be an option for the longer term.
We arrived at this solution after a collaborative process of consultation with our parent community and network. To help our people optimally meet the needs of family and work, we asked working parents within our organisation about where the main challenges lie and how we could help them address them more easily. To do this we set up a series of workshops involving parents from all our lines of service. The idea was to better understand the needs of parents at PwC Switzerland and discuss ideas and suggestions for optimising the support they receive.
The feedback showed that the most challenging time is the period directly after coming back from leave. At this point it can be tricky to find an optimal balance between the different roles. Hence the decision to give parents a choice of flexible options for returning to work.
By establishing these new, flexible arrangements for new parents in a policy with the backing of top management, we’re paving the way for consistent adoption across the firm. Naturally this is only part of the story. The new flexibility benefits are one component of a broader onboarding process designed to support parents in our organisation as they make the best choices for themselves within their particular professional setting but also team leaders and coaches on how to best support them during these times. As part of this we are also working towards creating opportunities for peer coaching by parents. In an effort to build an even more supportive culture where ambitious, high-performing parents can reconcile their private needs with the demands of their job, we’ll be monitoring these new measures, and the process as a whole, on an ongoing basis.
Feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss any of these matters in more detail or share your own experience of reconciling the needs of work and family.
'Be Well, Work Well' is PwC’s effort to create an environment where our people are encouraged to bring their best selves to work and are supported in achieving greater well-being.
Michaela Christian Gartmann
Territory Human Capital Leader, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 44 91
Senior Manager, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland
Tel: +41 58 792 98 27