Laura Harvey is a Professional Standards Review (PSR) manager in the Newcastle office. Since joining the firm in 2015 she has worked on a part-time basis and comes into the office only three days a week so that she can spend more time with her children. She flexes her work hours to arrive and leave an hour earlier than standard office hours, working from 8am to 4.30pm instead of 9am to 5.30pm.
Laura says, “The Deloitte agile working approach allows me to maximise the amount of quality time I get to spend with my two young children, whilst maintaining the career I worked so hard to achieve. I really do believe that I have the best of both worlds and a healthy balance that works for both me and my family. I think it’s incredibly innovative to recognise and appreciate that a ‘one size fits all’ contract could mean missing out on some of the best talent in the market and ultimately impact upon staff morale.”
Since its introduction in June 2014, agile working has proven to be one of the most popular and innovative ways in which Deloitte has shaped its culture. From informally flexing working hours to formally changing contracted work days and hours, agile working covers a broad spectrum of options and can be tailored to fit all kinds of lifestyles. It is a concrete example of Deloitte’s commitment to an agile and inclusive working environment that benefits both the firm and its employees.
Agile working is based on the three core principles of trust & respect, focus on output and open two-way communication.
Trust & respect
The approach nurtures a relationship of trust and respect between Deloitte and its employees. It gives employees the freedom to tailor their working arrangements so they can enjoy non-work commitments and priorities, but also ensure they’re delivering the quality output the firm expects of them. Deloitte recognises that employees who feel trusted to manage their work deliverables flexibly are more inclined to perform at their best in the workplace.
Agile working allows flexibility and even reduced hours, but this is not driven by a lack of commitment or interest in the job. Before adopting an agile working arrangement, staff must carefully consider the impact of their proposed work arrangements on their respective teams and on their job performance.
Laura is of course not the only employee to grasp the opportunities afforded by agile working:
Carey Stuart from the Newcastle office works two full days a week in the office and two mornings at home to fit in with her children’s school and pre-school hours. She enjoys being able to do the school runs three days a week, to still have some quality time with her family, while enjoying the challenges and stimulation that work provides.
“For me, our agile working approach is key to ensuring we’re retaining a very talented and dedicated pool of people that, for one reason or another, don’t want to (or can’t) have the working hours of a full time role. The reduction in hours does not show less dedication to your job. It’s purely that you are sharing that dedication with another part of your life right now. Being able to maintain the balance of work life and home life, and not prioritising one over the other, is extremely valuable and I feel very fortunate that I’ve found a role at Deloitte that allows me to do that,” says Carey, a PSR senior manager.
Focus on output
Deloitte holds the view that performance should be based on the quality of work and not on the number of hours spent in the office. Although everyone has a contracted workplace, there is an option to work from any Deloitte office, from a client site, from home or even at a public location as long as this does not cause any conflict with the firm’s privacy and security policies.
“Giving people the freedom of agile working doesn’t automatically mean that everyone disappears from the office. Being given this option means that, when I do need to work away from the office, there is no stress or worry attached to not being sat my desk. I think our agile working culture also erodes the negative impact that presenteeism can have: lots of us aren’t at our desk all hours of the day and it is recognised that our teams can be equally or more productive when working in an agile way. What this has meant for me this year, during my wife’s pregnancy, is that I have been able to attend whatever medical appointments she had and make up for the time I missed later in the day” shares David Robinson, a PSR manager in Newcastle.
While agile working has helped a lot of working parents within the firm, the option is not limited to them. It is open to all employees who wish to achieve a good balance between their work and personal commitments.
Taisheen Anver Khan, a PSR manager from the London office, appreciated how agile working was beneficial during Ramadan: “Agile working was helpful, as my sleeping and eating patterns varied from normal.”
Open two-way communication
Having open two-way communication is key to making agile working a success. The firm encourages employees to discuss proposed changes in working arrangements openly with their manager to achieve a solution that works for everyone. Formal changes have trial periods and working arrangements are continuously under review to ensure the arrangement is working for all parties.
Suzanne Green, a Newcastle PSR manager, says “Agile working was a key factor in choosing my current job. At the moment I can easily flex my hours to fit in everything from fitness classes to visiting my family who live over 200 miles away, by keeping my team at work informed about my schedule.”
Over the two and a half years that agile working has been in place, early indications are that it has had a measurable positive impact on employee engagement. The firm is continuing to monitor the effectiveness of its flexible working strategy and is committed to improving the experience for all its people.
Read more of our agile working stories here.