Deloitte Canada unveils ‘Next Normal’ hybrid work model

03 August 2021 2 min. read

Deloitte Canada has launched its “Next Normal” hybrid working model, which it says will give employees the flexibility to choose when they work at the office, client site, or from home.

“We will not be using prescriptive targets – like how many days a week we need to be in one place or another,” the consulting firm noted in an article on its website. “This is because our people and clients need both flexibility and choice to do their best work, each and every day.”

Employees will not have a guaranteed two days of remote work per week, for example. This opens up the possibility to work the entire week at a client site or Deloitte office. The omission of any prescribed targets also allows for cultural or management-level pressure to functionally work on-premises. Working remotely two days out of 20 in a standard month would still qualify as a “flexible, hybrid model” when there are no hard guidelines.

“This is not a rigid model; it’s a framework for us to explore and apply to our business. We expect these choices to be an ongoing conversation between our teams and clients,” Deloitte added.

Deloitte Canada unveils ‘Next Normal’ hybrid work model

What’s left to determine is how many days on average Deloitte staff will work from home in a model that makes no promises. The “flexibility” in the model will be shaped by what staff and potential candidates will tolerate, and what measures its competitors put in place.

Deloitte ultimately has to fight it out with other consultancies, as well as finance and tech firms, to hire the MBA-graduate client fodder that forms the bulk of its boots-on-the-ground forces. With nearly 2-in-3 consultancies saying they’re short-staffed, Deloitte can’t swing too hard to the on-premises column and push potential recruits to a competitor with “real” hybrid working. Younger talent, after all, favours remote work, with 57% of Gen Z and 61% of millennials preferring videoconferencing over commuting, according to a 2020 Deloitte study.

Deloitte Canada says it is currently undertaking a full review of its processes, guidelines, and workplace physical and digital experiences to make sure they align with its Next Normal hybrid work model. The firm will introduce new routines and collaboration tools to facilitate hybrid meetings and events, provide tooling and financial support for employees to improve their home offices, and consider the format and technologies for Deloitte office spaces in a hybrid model.

The pandemic provided a forced pilot program for remote work throughout the knowledge sector, and it didn't result in a disaster for productivity. In a Deloitte employee survey from 2021, 55% of partners and 36% of employees felt more productive working virtually.

Of course, consultancies still prefer in-person working for a number of reasons, including culture shaping, easier onboarding of new talent, and better relationship management with clients.

What hybrid work will look like for Deloitte Canada’s 11,000 employees remains to be determined.