Working from home one day a week. Leaving early to pick the kids up from school. Taking a month off in the summer to travel. Our people are embracing agile working – whether that’s to spend more time with family, volunteer in their communities or to play the sport they love. And this is down to the efforts we’ve made to ensure we always provide a working environment where our people are judged on the value they bring, not the hours spent in the office.
Where it all started
We started focusing on agile working in 2014 – this was a direct response to our people’s requests for a better work-life balance and to data that showed us that this was something that really mattered to them. Since then, we’ve focused on providing formal and informal ways of agile working that work for our people and the business, including annualised days contracts to allow people to work a reduced number of days each year, and Time Out, our award-winning programme which enables our people to take a four-week block of unpaid leave each year. We have a relentless focus on culture – ensuring that all our people feel able to make the most of these options without the perception that it may adversely impact their career.
Today, we have a reputation for providing our people with the means to balance a great career with commitments outside work. Since 2014, the number of formal flexible workers has risen by over a third – from around 850 people in 2014 to over 1,100 today. And, although we don’t track those who are working in an agile way informally (for example, working from home), our recent firm-wide survey showed that 70 per cent of respondents are taking advantage of informal working arrangements.
Agile working is now an accepted way of working in our firm. Our people are living the three principles that underpin our entire approach – trust and respect; open and honest communication and judging solely on output – and this is showing in our ability to attract and retain the best people.
But what do our people think? Let’s hear from Dave, Carol and Greg, who explain how agile working works for them.
I’m a manager in IT Services and I work from home every Wednesday, which means I can volunteer as a Community First Responder with the Ambulance Service. I live in quite a rural village and the nearest hospital is 15 to 20 minutes away so the First Responder group can often issue life-saving treatment to a patient nearby quicker than it might take for an ambulance to arrive. My manager and team have all shown an interest and know how important this is to me. Sometimes, I might be on a conference call and I'll get a call come through asking for me to support a patient. I simply type '999' in the chat window and people know what's happening. They're also really supportive when I've had a particularly difficult call out. My manager regularly checks in to see how things are - both in terms of my workload and the volunteer work. For us, work is what you do and not where you are.
I work in audit as a campaign strategist in the bid team, supporting major audit tenders. I love that agile working allows me to work a four day week, and also work from home when I need to. In 2008, I qualified as a Master Practitioner in neuro linguistic programming and business coaching and I enjoy using those skills to help others - both inside and outside of work. In my day to day role I use my coaching skills to prepare the audit teams for presenting big pitches. Outside of work I coach young golfers and cricketers in my local community on the mental side of their games. It’s great to see them start to believe in themselves, especially when they win matches. The four-day work week also means I get to hone my own golf skills - I’m currently a ten handicap but hopefully with sufficient practice and the right mental approach, I’ll get to single figures!
“The culture is built on two-way trust - you are judged by what you do, not when you do it.”
I’m a director in Deloitte Forensic, at the sharp end of the delivery of expert accounting witness services in multi-billion dollar court cases. My nine year old daughter has a genetic disorder with associated severe autism, which means frequent, sometimes unpredictable, demands on my time. Fully supported by my colleagues at all grades, agile working at Deloitte lets me manage my own time and responsibilities. Whether this means flexing my working hours to make daytime meetings with the multiple agencies involved in my daughter's welfare and working later into the evening, or taking extended leave during school holidays, the culture is built on two-way trust - you are judged by what you do, not when you do it. It’s great to know that 'face time' in the office is no longer important to how I am valued in the team.