Designed for the Way We Work
Next Generation Workplace: a dynamic, fresh, and increasingly collaborative space that strengthens our culture and brand.
The highly mobile, technology-driven work life of Deloitte professionals is demanding a new perspective on how our office spaces are designed and how they support a workforce that’s on the move. The Next Generation Workplace is Deloitte’s bold redesign strategy to create a vibrant new work environment focused on flexibility, technology, and collaboration.
“Next Generation Workplace helps Deloitte lead from the front and bring our brand to life by facilitating community and connectivity, and smart-sizing our real estate and environmental footprint,” says Mitch Scalf, leader, Real Estate Services. “It has also received an A-plus rating with recruits, which is giving us a competitive advantage in the talent marketplace.”
Before the redesign, Deloitte’s research indicated that nationally, on average, only 30 percent of the assigned headcount was accessing Deloitte offices daily. These office spaces were not only underutilized, but also represented missed opportunities for teaming and knowledge sharing. The new design creates an atmosphere that is increasingly collaborative and energy-charged and appeals to all levels of professionals, especially younger professionals who prefer more open and flexible work settings.
Of course, change can be challenging, and this is certainly the case when it comes to altering the established norms for how a workplace should look and operate. It’s an impact that’s especially felt if you’re in the office nearly every day based on the nature of your work, as is the case for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services associates Ian Keefe and Jay Patel.
“I’ve worked in various environments, but this one provides the best opportunity to collaborate with co-workers,” Keefe says. “There are more interactions with others in close proximity to you—including senior managers and partners. That helps lead to quicker solutions when I have questions, and I believe I’m more productive as a result.”
Keefe observes that the open design of the Next Generation Workplace workstation he shares with his team in San Francisco provides less perceived privacy and less room for “personal stuff.” It can also appear a bit noisier than was the case with the old cubical arrangement, but he understands the rationale behind the change, and feels that the positive impact on the way his team works together more than compensates for those trade-offs.
Patel agrees and finds value in the enhanced connectivity that happens both within and outside of his working group. “Our workspace facilitates lots of interaction, and so a sense of community just sort of happens,” he explains. “Deloitte is a big organization, but what matters most are the people who are right around you. The better you know them, the more you want to be in the office and interact with them. In that regard, the redesign is having a positive impact.”
More than halfway across the country, in the Detroit office, Kabina Bhari, a manager in Deloitte Tax, echoes Keefe’s sentiments: “The design of our workstation space makes us interact more regularly, which is good for our entire team, but it’s especially important for our staff and interns to be able to see everybody and know that we are accessible to them. The redesign is proof that Deloitte values collaboration and understands its importance in helping us provide the greatest value to our clients, the marketplace, and to one another.”
Bhari also points out that, after the redesign, all of the Tax professionals now work on the same floor. “That helps build your network and makes it much easier to approach each other and discuss things face-to-face,” she says.
The ability to interact regularly is also important to Deloitte Consulting senior manager Barry Tetrault and his team of Human Capital professionals in Deloitte’s 30 Rockefeller Center offices in New York who use the office’s team rooms or large conference rooms. These spaces can comfortably handle a group of five to eight people, and the technology offered provides convenience and the ability to engage virtually with others around the world. Large, flat panel monitors make connecting easy and provide a clear and easy-to-read solution when the need to share a computer screen arises. Modern telephony devices and wireless Internet access help ensure clarity on conference calls and seamless access to information and other professionals.
“It’s easy to work at 30 Rock,” says Tetrault. “We have a highly collaborative style in our work, and it’s important that we gather differing views to drive the best deliverables for our clients. The team rooms and conference rooms, as well as the technology they provide, are more conducive to our style of work than what was previously available.” According to Tetrault, the more open, informal workspaces “blur the line between office and home” by offering comfortable locations to work, refresh, or just catch up with others.
Comfortable, flexible, adaptable
Of course, not every moment of the workday requires the same degree of structure or collaboration. Small, “60-minute places,” offer access to a quiet spot for private telephone calls. Combined with the team rooms and conferences rooms, these private spaces offer resources for any kind of interaction.
They also ensure there are adequate locations for confidential client conversations, when necessary. In addition, lock-able storage, filing spaces, and lockers provide security for confidential information. As is the case in all Deloitte offices, Next Generation Workplace offices follow the Firm’s policy regarding the treatment and handling of confidential and private information, whether client-related or otherwise.
It’s this mixture of spaces that drives Malia DeBoer to come into the Detroit office. As an Audit senior assistant, DeBoer spends most of her time at client locations, but when she does work in the office, she appreciates the variety of workspaces available to her. “This is a modern view of the workplace,” notes DeBoer. “The open areas, such as the D.Cafés, are informal and comfortable. That’s key to my productivity. I can sit in a comfortable chair and have everything I need. I work better and I’m more creative.”
The flexibility found in the redesigned space at 30 Rock is also important to Kristin Chisesi. As chief of staff to the Northeast regional managing partner, she travels across the region meeting with people in many different offices. Although the 30 Rock project is a work in progress and space is at a premium, she can already note a difference. “You see people working together, you see conference rooms utilized for training programs and meetings, and there’s definitely a lot of energy,” she says. “The concept of how we work in an office is changing. We’re highly mobile and this redesign reflects the fact that Deloitte is well aware of the way its workforce operates.”
Tetrault agrees. “We should embrace the change, because it’s suitable for how we work today,” he says. “There are, of course, going to be challenges—there always are. But we’ll figure this out together and make it work. All in all, it’s an excellent thing.”