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Hybrid working: how to stay connected

The relationship between people and the workplace is always evolving. But over the last couple of years, it’s completely transformed.

For firms like ours, who’ve fully embraced hybrid working, it’s an exciting time. 

Hybrid offers us an opportunity to redesign our days. Even to reorganise our lives – if we want to.

It’s about greater flexibility and trust. And with them come questions about the new rules of engagement.

Like, how do we collaborate effectively when we’re not side by side? What are the rules around in-person meetings? How do we stay connected with our team mates when we spend less time face to face?

For the answers to these and more, there’s our Ways of Working framework – a free to use tool that’s open to anyone who, like us, is navigating a new future of work.

My Manual

Part of the Ways of Working tool helps us to organise the basics of how we work together in our teams in a way that includes everyone.

Another part – My Manual – is designed to help us share things our colleagues need to know about us. Since the members of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group began using My Manual they know more about each other than they did before.

“My Manual is a brilliant opportunity to check regularly that each person in the team is thriving,” says assistant director, Chris Hanson. “It’s especially useful for big team milestones – like the start of a new project – but circumstances change often, so we set up times to revisit it."

He and the team use it as a tool to:

Understand how to help each other

“It’s good for sharing the practical things, however big or small,” says Chris.

“We’ve spent time thinking about what helps us to perform at our best. For example, my team knows I find timely replies and feedback really helpful to keep up the pace of my work – and I commit to replying to them quickly too. They also know how important it is to me to take a walk at lunch time.”

Share skills and talents

“Think about the qualities, values and talents that define you – and remember we all have experience others don’t know about.

“What skills do you have that you feel are most valuable to your team? What are you really good at and want to do more of? You never know when someone might be looking for your know-how - and this can be your shop window.”

Open up

“Allowing people to know us better is the best way to help them understand us,” Chris continues. “When you see team mates less frequently, it can be difficult to ask for help.”

“After the pandemic I made my mental health and wellbeing a priority. My Manual has helped me share that with my team in a way that’s really improved my work – and my connections with the people I work with.”

Agree work patterns

“We all have different priorities to juggle as we balance work with our personal lives – and hybrid working means we often have more flexibility than before.

"My Manual is one of the tools we can use to share our routine working hours – for example if people prefer to work earlier in the day, or set boundaries around certain hours where we have work or personal commitments.”

Chloe: discussing dyslexia

Chloe Tonge is an analyst in Deloitte’s Consulting practice and joined the firm as part our Graduate Programme.“

“The framework provides a way to discuss my dyslexia more easily with colleagues, and how they can support my style of working,” says Chloe.

In practice, this means doing simple things like sharing slide decks and presentation notes ahead of meetings.

“My neurodivergence means that I see things differently from others. It’s my super-power,” Chloe continues.

“I’m a creative person who starts off with the wider picture and I often ask questions to understand how things work. This is valued at Deloitte. Creating the time and space to allow this helps to provide a base for me to think critically about a problem, and what value we can add.”

Culture and connections: supporting our wellbeing

Before Deloitte officially made the switch to hybrid in June 2021, we did a lot of thinking about the kind firm we want to be. And when we asked everyone what they’d prefer, the results were conclusive.

Over 90 per cent of our people in the UK said that choice and flexibility should be at the heart of how we work in the future.  And more than 80 per cent said they expected to work from a Deloitte office two days or fewer each.

“The kind of work we do means our people are pioneering, resourceful and adaptable,” says Deloitte’s managing partner for People and Purpose, Jackie Henry.

“So, for Deloitte, when there’s a choice between standing still and doing something new, the progressive option is usually the right one.”

As we navigate the future of work together, embedding wellbeing even more deeply into our working culture and staying connected to each other are big priorities.

“I hear a lot from colleagues about how hybrid working is having a positive impact on their wellbeing,” Jackie continues.

“It’s allowed me to see my family more often and save time and energy on the daily commute.  And this year, I was able to be more present for my daughter as she did her GCSE’s.”

“I want all of our people is to make wellbeing part of their daily routine, by creating a culture in which we keep talking about mental health and making use of resources we provide, like our bespoke wellbeing app or the mindfulness app ‘Headspace’.

“And importantly, staying connected in person too, making sure we get together regularly talk through new ideas or have a coffee face-to face.

“Ways of working been invaluable in helping us to talk about inclusion, mental health and the support that’s available to everyone,” Jackie concludes. 

“And it’s a conversation we’ll keep having frequently.”

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