Life at Deloitte

Agile working stories

Let’s talk about agile working

At Deloitte, we value difference, with respect at the heart of our inclusive culture. We recognise that our people are juggling demanding careers with commitments and interests outside of work.

Before your interview, we are open to discussing with you the different ways in which we are able to support agile working arrangements. Please ask your recruiter about our agile working arrangements and feel free to discuss what’s important to you.

Hear from some of our people already working at Deloitte in agile ways.

And it’s not just Deloitte people who recognise our progress in making agile working a reality: we are proud to have received a special award for Best Innovation for our WorkAgility Time Out programme in the 2015 Top Employers for Working Families awards.

Eleanor O'Reilly, Consulting (Director) - Agility means things can change day to day and week to week

I flex my working patterns to be responsive to my children’s ever-changing needs – and those of my clients.

I have 3 children and have been working on an agile basis for the last 7 years since my first child was born. I work 4 days per week and have been able to continue through the career ladder even with (or despite!) having young children.

Agile working enables me to get the work done at a time and in a style that works around my family. As an example, I generally leave the office early enough to see the children for the bedtime routine. I then continue working later in the evening when I've had my "child fix". I'm naturally a night-owl and find that I focus better in the evening so this pattern suits me.

My children's demands continue to change as they get older and I am constantly needing to flex my working patterns to be responsive to their ever-changing needs. Being able to work from home sometimes enables me to attend school assemblies, sports days etc. in a way that many more structured professions don't.

In my experience clients and Deloitte respect and recognise my need to put family first but the one golden rule for making it work is to be open about it and manage expectations. As long as you meet client demands, they generally don't mind where or when you do it!
 

Carrie Isaac, Consulting (Senior Manager) - Arrangements don’t always need to be formal

We reached an agreement which gave me 8 weeks of the year to spend genuine time with the kids.

I joined Deloitte at the end of 2011 and after a year of travelling 4 days a week I decided that I needed to change my working hours as I just wasn't getting enough time with my children (then aged 5 and 8).

My Service Area Lead was fantastic and we sat down together to consider options right through from part time working to a more agile arrangement. We agreed an informal arrangement which allowed me to take unpaid leave in the summer holidays, which on top of my normal holiday plus my purchased options meant that I got 8 weeks of the year to spend genuine quality time with the kids.

My top tips:

  • Engage with your project lead up front if you have any travel or time restrictions - this way they can make an informed choice before you join the project and it saves any awkward conversations at a later date
  • If (like me) you need to do the school run occasionally, or take time out for sports day, book it in advance so that you don't miss out on important things
  • Use the flexible benefits on offer for holiday purchase - if you don't use the days, you get the money back!
     

Hannah Pop, Audit (Director) - I run my diary like a small military operation

Constantly looking ahead and building plans help me balance my family with client work

I have been with Deloitte for nearly 13 years and I currently work three days a week in a client facing role. The keys for me in making a success of my role are flexibility and planning ahead. I run my diary / childcare like a small military operation, constantly looking ahead to when I might need to stay late, who can cover, what I may need to reschedule etc.

My top tips:

  • Have a designated work space at home. I am lucky to have an office at the bottom of my garden which allows me to get away from the house (the mess of the kids’ toys, the washing machine etc.). It means that when I do work from home I can have a really focussed, effective working day and I don't have to pack up my laptop when I collect the kids.
  • Set your own boundaries - you can say 'no': I try to keep Monday/Friday as non-working days. When exceptions are made it is my choice to do so and I will usually say 'yes' to a client meeting which can't be rescheduled but 'no' to internal meetings where I am not essential (if I am essential it should be moved anyway!).
  • Decide what works best for you. I have never been good at working late so I would rather finish up early and complete my work on a Saturday whereas other people would rather work as late as needed on Friday to keep the weekend to themselves. It is important to establish how you work best in your role (at work and at home) and focus on achieving the most that you can when you are at work.

Alison Ross, Financial Services Scotland (Executive Assistant) - I’m amazed at how positive people are when you mention agile working.

People are very respectful of the arrangement and the fact they trust me to get on with my work means a lot

Agile working would never have crossed my mind until I returned to the office after a 6 month break having been diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2013. The suggestion came from my local HR contact who was very keen for me to give it a try to break up my working week. I'm amazed at how positive people are when you mention you are working from home and how common it actually is.

It does require a certain level of maturity in your approach and clear communication with my team and colleagues otherwise it wouldn't work. In my case I remind my partner/team in advance just in case they have any on site requirements that day e.g. client deadlines where they require me to be in the office, but on the whole people are very respectful of the arrangement and the fact that they can easily contact me throughout the day and trust me to get on with my work means a lot. 

Carolyn Arnold, Tax (Associate Director) - Moments too important to miss

I used Time Out to be with my children – and to settle my youngest in to school.

I took a Time Out in September to settle my youngest child in to school. It was great being able to share the experience of his first few days at school with him, but also get to know his teachers, his friends and other parents which I wouldn’t have been able to day had I only taken a few days of holiday.  It also meant I was able to spend some quality time at home with both children at the end of the school holidays and come back to work fully refreshed.

David Sharples, ICS (Manager)

I work from home one day a week as part of my volunteering role as a Community First Responder with the Ambulance Service. I can work just as effectively from home which allows me to be available if any 999 calls come in within my local area.

It’s a big responsibility and I take a lot from this role and being on hand to help a casualty while they are waiting for the paramedics to attend. My team – and the wider business – have been fully supportive of me undertaking this role.

David Cobb, Tax (Partner)

To me, work agility means using the office space in a more agile way so, while I am based predominately on the London campus, I regularly spend time working from various Deloitte regional offices to spend time with my team members based there. This includes the Reading office which is also nearer to my home.

Not only are the firm supportive of me working this way – but it makes me a more effective leader to be able to spend regular time with my colleagues.

Nick Stocker, ICS (Manager)

In June 2015 I led a team of six to row across the English Channel at the widest point for charity with zero rowing experience. Setting up this challenge alongside leading and coordinating the team meant a lot of logistical preparation!

I was able to flex where and when I got my work done to help me balance my professional life at Deloitte with this challenge. As an example, I was able to work remotely when travelling for training and team building activities - I knew that as long as I had my laptop and phone, I could continue a normal day's work.

Spurred on by this experience, I am taking on the World’s Hardest Iron Man 70.3 event in June 2016, with no previous experience in doing a Triathlon, so training will be upwards of 20 hours a week.

 

Helen Ashelby, CF (Manager) - Working smarter

Helped me raise my child and drive forward my career

My husband is in the Army and at one time was working away for a year. At that time, I was living in Liverpool, working in Manchester and was solely responsible for nursery pick-ups and drop-offs for our little boy.

During this time, on all my projects, I had discussions with the relevant Assistant Directors and Directors and was able to work from home or in the Liverpool office, meaning no commute. As a result I felt a lot less stressed and was not fearful of being stuck in traffic and being late collecting my little boy. I was also able to use the time I would have spent commuting on chargeable work. I received excellent feedback, completed the work on time and delivered it under budget.

I believe that being fully contactable and transparent on your whereabouts is a fundamental aspect of agile working, and this helps build and promote the trust element. It is such a great initiative and from speaking to peers in other firms, I believe we are leading the way.

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