Having inclusive conversations about Ways of Working

Having inclusive conversations about Ways of Working

Everyone at our firm has the opportunity to choose where, when and how we work. It’s up to each of us to make the right decisions for ourselves, our teams and our clients.

We've found that consistently and regularly having open conversations about what matters to us as individuals and how we’re most effective as a team is key to collaborating successfully with each other and with our clients.

That’s why we developed the Ways of Working Framework - a simple tool to help us all talk about our individual needs and how we can balance our preferences with those of our colleagues. It’s a starting point that helps create space to have those all-important conversations about inclusion, wellbeing, and preferred ways of working.

Lots of our colleagues also choose to complete the framework alongside their clients, working together to understand how we can deliver the best solutions in the most effective way.

What is the Ways of Working Framework?

There are two parts to the Framework, My Manual and My Team:

  • My Manual - Think of My Manual as your individual 'passport'. It's an outline of how you prefer to work and what you want others in your team to know about you. You can use it to help your team understand things about your background, your strengths, how you like to work on a day-to-day basis and what you need to look after your wellbeing. Your Manual might change over time as your own circumstances and preferences change so its important to revisit it regularly.
  • My Team - My Team brings that all together in a team context. It's a way for your team to come together to discuss shared ways of working and to collectively agree an inclusive approach that works for everyone. As individual needs change and the structure and membership of teams change over time, its also important to revisit your My Team.

The downloadable template contains prompts for you to consider, but you can also personalise these as required for you and your teams.

We’ve found that key to making hybrid working a success is creating spaces for inclusive ways of working conversations and ensuring that all voices are heard.

Jackie Henry, UK Managing Partner, People & Purpose

How do I use the Ways of Working Framework?

The Ways of Working Framework is here to help you start those inclusive conversations. Why not host a ways of working session for your team, using the framework as a tool to get you started.

Before your Ways of Working Framework session:

1. Decide whether you want your session to be virtual, hybrid or in person. Think about how you can create a safe, inclusive environment where everyone has a voice and feels comfortable to contribute.

2. Send out the My Manual template and ask everyone to complete their My Manual – of course reminding people that they should only share what they feel comfortable sharing.

During your Ways of Working Framework session:

3. Invite team members to share what’s important to them in their My Manual – this may be about their ways of working, what they want to get out of the role, or something about their background or homelife. If you have a larger group, you could break out in smaller groups for this activity.

4. Come together as a team to work through each section of the My Team – think about how you’ll capture everyone’s input. For virtual / hybrid sessions you’ll want to think about what tech you can use to make the session engaging and inclusive – whether that’s virtual whiteboards, word cloud / polling technology or chat functions. For in-person sessions you may want to use post-it notes or whiteboards.

After your Ways of Working Framework session:

5. Consolidate all the input into your My Team and share with your team – arrange a date to revisit your My Team and check in to see what’s working and what’s not.

Start using the framework today


Maria James

People Experience and Culture Lead, Deloitte UK