Formal Flexible Work Arrangements
Deloitte & Touche formal flexible work arrangements were introduced in 1994, and in 1995 we began annual measurement of the success of these arrangements and the satisfaction of professionals who utilize them. Now conducted bi-annually, our Flexible Work Arrangements Survey allows us to obtain feedback about our programs so that we may focus on areas of concern and continue to enhance our programs. Survey questions in our most recent survey centered on:
- Overall satisfaction with the flexible work arrangement;
- Perception of support of flexible work arrangements;
- Information, resources, and tools available;
- Influences of the flexible work arrangement on professional and personal life;
- Enablers and barriers to flexibility;
- Client satisfaction; and
- Professional development.
As we know that one of the key drivers of satisfaction with and success of our flexible work arrangements is the support of the supervisor or manager, we also seek input from the supervisors and managers of our flexible work arrangements professionals. With this additional survey, we attempt to better understand the point of view of the manager, his or her perceptions of flexible work arrangements, the business benefit of these arrangements, and their impact on the manager's responsibilities.
Findings from our surveys have led to the development of new resources and information, management workshops and self-study modules, and flexibility tools, as well as an increased focus on advancement and client service.
Informal Flexibility and Virtual Work
Though formal flexible work arrangements will always be important to Deloitte & Touche, our focus has recently shifted to informal flexibility and the ability of our people to serve clients and get their work done without regard to the where, when, or how. To better understand how our people were using informal flexibility and what their overall needs for flexibility were, we initially surveyed a sample of our population. Questions in that survey covered topics such as:
- The forms of informal flexibility;
- The support for informal flexibility;
- The importance of informal flexibility;
- The influence of informal flexibility on personal and professional life;
- Enablers and barriers to informal flexibility; and
- Managing a flexible workforce.
Findings from that survey highlighted the prevalence and importance of working virtually, and those findings, as well as the events of September 11, led us to further study of working and managing in a virtual work environment. We surveyed our people located in our Tri-State region ( New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut ) to learn from their experiences of working virtually during the aftermath of September 11 when thousands of our professionals in the region were forced to work from locations other than their traditional work sites, without face-to-face contact with colleagues, supervisors and staff. The goal of the survey was to find out where and how they worked; how the virtual work impacted productivity, communication, client relationships, and morale; the benefits and challenges of virtual work; and recommendations for creating a more effective virtual work environment.
In response to findings from the survey, we chartered a cross-functional task force of client service and administrative professionals. The task force evaluated the results of the survey, identified success factors and operational best practices, and developed tools to help create a more effective virtual work environment.