By Danny Taggart, Director, Deloitte
The close of one year, and the page turn to the next is often a time for reflection. The advent of a new decade even more so.
December 2019 saw a rail strike in the UK which became the catalyst to make me ponder how much the way in which I work has changed over the last ten years. In years’ past, a rail strike might have severely hampered my ability to do my job. This one however hardly saw me miss a beat as my home office has become a regular work hub. To be brutally honest, avoiding a four hour round-trip commute and the Christmas crowds during the strike was something of a relief!
Being part of an organisation who actively support agile working is a huge benefit - particularly with two teenage children frequently requiring ferrying to/from evening sporting events. Being able to work from home allows me the flexibility to share the taxi-servicing and other parental duties. In fact, during my daughter’s football training I typically take my laptop with me and work from the training centre, and I’m not the only ‘soccer-parent’ doing this. Remote working and work-life balance in perfect harmony!
Agile working enables me to manage my diary appropriately. Home days are focused on conference calls, typically with clients and colleagues across Europe and beyond, as well as solo review work, where the peace and solitude enables me to really focus. Days in the office are for client meetings, face-to-face internal meetings and team-working.
My current role is EMEA-wide and requires a fair amount of travel - typically at least one business trip a month. So lest you are thinking this all sounds a little too ‘cushy’, I am no stranger to a 4.00am workday start to get to Heathrow, and my family are used to me arriving back from a trip at gone ten o’clock at night. I see this as quid-pro-quo however for the wider flexibility I have, as I do the later evening or early morning calls I sometimes need to take.
So my ‘workplace’ has certainly evolved. What about the actual work I do, and how I go about it?
My role has morphed many times over the last decade, and is currently most easily described as ‘consultancy’. As I tell my clients, “I have the best job in the world” - I get to talk to them about their challenges, ambitions and objectives, and discuss how Deloitte can partner with them - using digital and data analytic capabilities as appropriate - to meet those challenges. In years past I’d have been talking about specific technologies, today the discussion is all about ‘the challenge’ and how we can deploy our services to support. Just as my workplace has become more agile, so have my client interactions; more collaborative, more fluid, more interesting for all!
The other key change is the technology I use to undertake my work. Yes, I still use a laptop at home and in the office (and in the airport lounge and on the train!), and I am writing this blog on my tablet device, but, like those reading, the device that has really revolutionised my life is my phone.
Ten years ago it would have been impossible to imagine just how critical these little packages of silicon, indium and lithium would become to every aspect of our lives. It tells me when to go to bed, wakes me up, and reports how ‘good’ my sleep was. It enables me to connect and converse with my friends, business contacts, and sports/school groups. I book, manage and track my travel and oversee my financial affairs on it. I listen to audio-books and podcasts on the walk to/from the station, and watch films and TV on the train (when I’m not reading and sending emails!). I make purchases - coffee, a sandwich, last minute gifts, a family holiday! Occasionally I even use it to talk to someone...
The phone has become central to our lives. So much of my communication and interaction is now carried out through this little device that we often take for granted, supporting our ‘work on the go’ world.
Perhaps the most visual indicator that we’re already in this ‘future of work’ era are the sartorial choices of the workers of the day. Ten years ago I wore a suit and tie to the office every day, but gone are the days of the workforce being dressed in the finest that Saville Row, Austin Reed or M&S could offer. Simply standing in line for your morning coffee fully illustrates the melting pot of cultures and generational influences that now make up the modern workforce. Traditional “suits” rub shoulders with those in conformist business casual attire, as well as those in urban t-shirts, jeans and trainers. Likewise, many clients with a dress-down culture will be aghast if you rock up ‘suited & booted’. In my experience, moving away from the traditional ‘uniforms’ of yore can often result in more relaxed, honest and personal interactions. The reality though is that what you wear, or what you look or sound like, is irrelevant. It’s the quality and value that you can offer as a human being, and as a business advisor, that is of paramount importance.
And that’s not a bad note upon which to start the new decade... here’s to the next one, and wherever it takes us!We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on how your work-life has changed over the last ten years. Is your organisation already feeling the impact of the Future of Work? (Changing employment models, agile work patterns etc.). Please leave any comments below… If you’d like to know more about the Future of Work check out the Deloitte Future of Work website or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org