LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Deloitte Africa has officially adopted a hybrid working model. All its staff members will be allowed to split their working time between any Deloitte offices, at their clients’ premises or any remote location of their choice.
This means someone who worked in the new Deloitte SA Midrand head office can move to any town in SA or even to Mauritius if they can service their clients from there.
“This will change how our work is done and where it is done,” said Deloitte Africa’s Managing Partner for ‘people and purpose’, Justine Mazzocco.
Deloitte said its approach is also driven by the desire to reduce carbon emissions by cutting down travel and commuting, including air travel for servicing clients and working across different locations.
Mazzocco said the auditing firm’s focus will be on supporting people as they transition and try to get the right balance between in-person and virtual work. This will be a particularly delicate balance given how the work of auditing firms has come under scrutiny in the past few years.
Deloitte has not yet clarified whether this will only affect client services and consulting staff or if auditing partners can also work from anywhere. But at least staff still has to spend some time in their clients’ premises which means they can still physically count and audit what they need to.
Deloitte said its hybrid working model will be client-focused. It will move with clients based on the nature of their business and their needs too.
Financial institutions are leading the way in taking a permanent stance on whether their staff will return to the office or now. Earlier this month, PwC offered all of its 40 000 US client services employees to work virtually and live anywhere they want.
In the banking sector, Nedbank and Absa previously told Fin24 that their approach is if any person’s work can be done from home, it should be done from home. Nedbank said its Property Portfolio division has made plans to accommodate a 60/40 split between people who work from the office and remotely at any given time.
Mazzocco said even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Deloitte’s views on the future of work were beginning to change.
“The pandemic has accelerated this transformation, forcing dramatic changes in how our people work and engage with the firm and each other. We believe Deloitte’s hybrid working approach and our wider efforts to transform work will benefit both our clients, our people and climate goals,” said Mazzocco.
The auditing firm said technology now allows workers to interface and collaborate from remote locations. So, adapting to these changes is critical for companies to attract and retain skilled professionals, as the pandemic has made workers seek more flexibility, higher job satisfaction and work-life balance.