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Positive impact of agile working in our Newcastle office

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.

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Posted on 26/01/2017 | 0 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #4

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Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, every month we post a new challenge created by the Forensic Technology team, focusing on logical, analytical and coding problems.


Analysing data for patterns/trends is an important part of what we do in Forensic Technology. With this in mind we have returned to our programming roots for this month’s challenge. Can you write a script to solve the below…?


i) What are the factors of 379065191139531?

ii) What connects 35432488 with these numbers: 806095675586097, 7405814774826 and 379065191139531

We’ll be posting our Python based solution next month at which point we will bid you farewell for the year. We hope to be back next year with more puzzles but in a different format so make sure you keep an eye out for our return!

Enjoyed this? Check out our other Forensic Technology blog posts


If you are someone who enjoys problem-solving, logical thinking and technology, check out our Forensic Technology graduate professional roles to see if they are the right fit.

 

What's the answer?

For the final time this year we present our solution to the challenge we have set you:

i) Below is the code we used in Python 3.5 to calculate the factors of 379065191139531:

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ii) As alluded to in part i) the first step to solving ii) is to get the factors of 806095675586097, 7405814774826 and 379065191139531. The next part is not so obvious. First we need the common factors of the 3 numbers we were just looking at. Then with some outside-the-box thinking we sum over these common factors to arrive at 35432488.

The code to do this is below:

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We hope to be back next year bigger and better so keep a look out for future posts.

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Posted on 27/10/2016 | 0 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #2

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Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, every month we post a new challenge created by the Forensic Technology team, focusing on logical, analytical and coding problems.


For this month’s challenge you need to put your spy hat on and decrypt a message.

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Posted on 09/08/2016 | 4 Comments

Golden opportunity for Impact Award winners

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On Saturday 16 July the winning four teams from the Impact Awards were given an opportunity to see-off the ParalympicsGB athletes in style at the Deloitte sponsored Team Launch. The Impact Awards celebrates employees that make an impact that matters—for clients, for our people, and for society.

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Posted on 08/08/2016 | 0 Comments

Forensic Technology Challenge – Bonus Question

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Already solved the #4TechChallenge for this month? Here’s a bonus question to keep your mind in challenge mode:

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Posted on 15/07/2016 | 2 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #1

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In Forensic Technology complex problem solving is a large part of our day-to-day work.

Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, we’re launching a monthly Forensic Technology Challenge - a new series of logical, analytical and coding problems that put into practice the STEM, finance and technology skills essential to our work.

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Posted on 08/07/2016 | 8 Comments

Weekend sailing with Forensic Technology

Here at Deloitte we have a really active sailing club and each year in April, we hold our annual spring regatta. We charter 20 boats for the weekend and encourage both experienced sailors and novices to get out onto the water.   On each boat we have an experienced skipper plus two experienced crew members who act as hosts. There’s room for eight people on each boat and the rest of the places are open to people with little or no experience of sailing. I’ve been one of the experienced crew members for several years now and always look forward to meeting new people and sharing my passion for sailing with them.

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Posted on 05/05/2016 | 0 Comments

Returning and flexible working with Deloitte

Victoria Pearce, Director at Deloitte in the Forensic Technology team shares her experience on returning to work with Deloitte.

Victoria said "I joined Deloitte Forensic in 2000 and in 2011 I started my maternity leave and subsequently took a 3 year career break following the birth of my daughter."

"Earlier this year I was contacted by Deloitte via the Women in Leadership initiative and asked if I was interested in returning to work at Deloitte. Following a number of discussions and interviews it became apparent the opportunity was too good to miss. Deloitte have implemented an agile working policy which enabled me to return to Deloitte Forensic Technology as a part time worker in their growing St Albans team. Flexible working allows me to work remotely to ease child care issues and to spend quality time with my daughter, here we are standing in muddy puddles – just before jumping!"

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Posted on 22/01/2016 | 2 Comments

What agile working means to me.

Being born and raised in the north of England, the grand plan was always to return from the capital to the fairer half of the country. Joining Deloitte in 2011, I then got engaged to a fellow northerner and we both knew we wanted to eventually journey back up north before raising a family.

As the time approached and we planned to begin a family, concern over working arrangements made its way to the top of our life agenda; however, in conjunction with that, an improved focus on agile working became a prominent Deloitte strategy.

Discussions began with my very niche London-based team. I didn’t want to leave and they didn’t want to lose me considering the significant progress we’d made in my three years with them, but the north was calling.

The team therefore broached discussions with the Leeds office around the possibility of a transfer to Leeds, while remaining within my team – something the team in Leeds were very willing to accommodate. Clearly every situation is unique and what I’ve been able to achieve could not be guaranteed for everyone. But the firm is committed to working closely with you to try to find a solution which works for everyone.

I live within a one hour commute of the Leeds office, as was the case in London, but now we’re near both our families. I’m also pleased to announce that we have a child on the way (due next month). Thanks to Deloitte’s flexibility and open communications between the London and Leeds offices, we were able to move in our own time with much less stress than is usually the case.

Taking into consideration the strides made by Deloitte in relation to technology, the implementation of Desktop Anywhere (allowing me to log in on my personal computer) and the accessibility of the internet from almost everywhere, working remotely is now a doddle. Coupled with secure methods of logging in and your own responsibilities surrounding data protection, the ease with which we can work from whenever, wherever (to coin a well-known Shakira phrase) means that I can meet both firm and client needs, without losing any quality or quantity in output.

As is the case with any role, it is considered important to maintain regular contact with your team, and although I am 200 miles away from them on a daily basis, we maintain regular contact via audio and/or video technology, shrinking the distance and maintaining the bonds that were present whilst I was physically in London.

One of my major clients has also benefitted from my relocation, reducing their journey time to visit me. (Plus, the lunch in the Leeds office received great informal client feedback!)

Finally, the Leeds team deserve thanks and appreciation for making me feel so welcome. Not only were senior management very accepting of my relocation and flexible around dates, but the wider team have made a real effort to get to know me and remind me of my inner-Yorkshireman (in most respects a good thing!) As we don’t work on the same clients, this may not have happened naturally and I appreciated them taking that time to make the transition easier for me.

As I say, everyone’s story will be different but I can vouch for how hard the business will work to support you.

Dan

Dan Conlon is a Manager in our Tax team based (now) in Leeds

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Posted on 11/03/2015 | 0 Comments

The importance of feedback.

Since joining Deloitte I have become aware of the prevalence of giving and receiving feedback and its importance. However, aside from being relevant to the formal appraisal process and promotion prospects why is feedback so pertinent?

First, it allows others to provide you with invaluable information about your performance, how you work with others, and how you can become better at what you do.

Second, whether it is positive or constructive, feedback triggers self-reflection and willingness to learn or change.

In Deloitte, feedback is given through a number of channels, both formal and informal. For example, feedback can be requested through an online performance management system or by email. Alternatively (and arguably more usefully) feedback can be gathered through ongoing informal chats where it is immediate, personal, and facilitates two-way communication.

You can and will get feedback from virtually anyone in the organisation, and even externally from clients. To prevent - or at least minimise - the rush of the year end process, I would recommend actively seeking out feedback over the course of the year, capturing everything whether it be an official feedback form, or a seemingly insignificant email from a client saying “great job – well presented”. This broad range of feedback from different viewpoints and perspectives will help to give you an overall picture of your strengths and weaknesses.

So far, I have been recognised for being proactive and managing my time well in challenging project situations. However, improvement points have also been raised including having a fuller understanding of my overall client project rather than just concentrating on the activities in my work stream. Taking this on board, I now actively go and speak to team members across the project team to ask questions and gain insights.

One of the most useful, and memorable pieces of feedback I received was actually delivered to me by a Partner during my final interview in the recruitment process. While he admitted that he was hesitant to bring it up, he pointed out that I quite often blush. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, but it is something to keep in mind as some may perceive it as a lack of confidence. Working in a client-facing role, you can begin to see its relevance. By highlighting this, I am now conscious of when it is happening and can work to keep what my manager calls ‘tomato mode’ to a minimum!

My top tips for feedback would be:

  1. Actively seek it out on an ongoing basis.
  2. Actually listen to and digest the feedback - ask questions or request examples if you don’t understand it.
  3. Put a plan and timescales in place to tap into strengths or work on development points identified.
  4. Ask your colleagues for support in implementing any changes identified.
  5. Finally, when delivering feedback, be honest (but sensitive), concentrate on the facts, and prepare what you want to say.

I hope something here is useful and helpful to you.

Callum.

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Posted on 10/10/2014 | 0 Comments