By Mark Fairlie.

The accountancy firm, PwC has introduced a new programme which lets its new staff members set their own working hours.

The Flexible Talent Network is PwC’s new scheme which aims to attract talented recruits who are looking for an alternative to working regular 9-to-5 patterns.

New recruits can list their skill set and preferred work hours which can be anything from only working mornings to working for a couple of months out throughout a whole year.

This new programme also aims to match new talent with particular projects instead of a rigid job role.

By doing this, PwC hopes to receive applications from a diverse range of skilled people who have other commitments, such as carers, those who also volunteer, and those who run their own business.

PwC, one of the Big Four accountancy giants in the UK, have launched this new scheme after deciding to embrace the so-called “gig economy”. The term describes an arrangement where companies contract independent workers for short-term work.

PwC had previously carried out research which revealed that flexible work hours and a good work-life balance were the most important factors when finding a job for roughly 46% of 2,000 respondents.

PwC programme success

After launching two weeks ago, The Flexible Talent Network programme has already had 2,000 people register with them.

PwC currently has another innovative scheme called “Back to Business” which is recruiting senior professionals wanting to restart their career after taking time out of the business. This programme is a six-month paid internship for seniors only.

Laura Hinton, who is the chief people officer at PwC, said:

“People assume that to work at a big firm they need to follow traditional working patterns – we want to make it clear that this isn’t the case. In order to recruit the best people, we recognise that we need to offer greater flexibility, different working options and a route back in for those looking to restart their careers.

“We’re likely to see a rise in people transitioning in and out of work throughout their careers and those organisations who responsibly support their people to do this will ultimately gain a competitive advantage”.

PwC lets new recruits choose their own working hours

The pros and cons

PwC’s move to flexible working hours could prove beneficial for both the employees and the accountancy firm themselves.

New recruits at PwC who choose their own work patterns can better fit work around other priorities in their life, such as family and hobbies. For example, if childcare is an issue, staff can schedule working hours which don’t interfere with dropping off and picking up kids from school.

Staff recruited under the new programme may also benefits from the lowering of costs associated with travelling to work if they choose to only work a couple times each week or month.

For many commuters, their journey to work takes them an hour each way which can cut a large chunk out of their day. Staff members with other important engagements can eliminate the stress of trying to beat the clock when commuting from work to another event, such as their side business.

By letting their employees set their own work hours, PwC could also prevent staff from experiencing a burnout.

The employer, PwC, may see their staff turnover, absenteeism and tardiness significantly lowered as staff will feel more valued and accomplished at their job role.

However, employers face potential setbacks when introducing flexible work hours. Staff members who work best in an office environment may experience difficulties working when their fellow colleagues don’t hold the same work schedule.

For now though, the long-term effects of introducing The Flexible Talent Network is unknown, however, the large amount of applications suggests that the programme is set to be a hit.