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Deloitte tells staff they can work from home forever (cityam.com)
220 points by rchaudhary 35 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 99 comments

Can't imagine working in an office again. The bathrooms, the bad food you inevitably end up eating, the hour a day lost to commute, the interruptions, having to shower and wear pants. Yuck.

On the other hand I can’t wait to get back to the office. Less work cleaning my own bathrooms or worrying about loo roll, getting reasonably nutritious good food for lunch and breakfast without needing to plan for it, 20m of exercise twice a day walking to/from work, the social interactions, being able to wear pants because the office has AC.

The above is a little tongue in cheek but also true. I think it is important to acknowledge that different people have different lives and want different things. I can certainly imagine being in a situation where I would want to work remotely.

Fortunately, organisations can cater to both sets of people. Take the money you would spend on an office and provide a co-working stipend to your employees instead. The people who like working from home can continue to do so and the people who like to work from an office can do so too.

People have varying needs. Some people are suited to office life and some people are suited to working from home. And some people like a mixture. Until relatively recently, organisations have had to put everybody in the same environment. Remote working isn’t good because you can work from home per se, it’s good because now the working environment can be tailored to the individual instead of forcing everybody into the same environment that is undoubtedly sub-optimal for a large proportion of the workforce.

a co-working stipend does not help me work with my co-workers who I need to collaborate with and who's back and forth decrease iteration times far below what they are remotely. Instead a co-working stipend just lets me hang out with strangers who are irrelevant to my actual job.

I get that not everyone needs to collaborate a way that requires face to face to be efficient but many do. As a simple example I'd expect a UX designer to be far more efficient to hand their phone to their co-worker and say "try this" instead of on slack "hey, sync to the latest version, oh you're in the middle of something? Okay, stash that, now grab my version, build....several minutes later....okay now navigate to this menu. no not that one. Pick Foo->Bar then scroll down and click the Moo button. Okay now, try it"

Someone will now pipe-in that Figma solves this. Fine, I chose a bad example. In my case it would be passing a game so Figma would not solve it.

> Instead a co-working stipend just lets me hang out with strangers who are irrelevant to my actual job.

doesn’t sound like a good use of your time, but for many people, it’s a third option that definitely has it’s pros/cons

I can see what you're getting at, but everything you described can be achieved by joining a coworking space.

It boils down to this: a 100% remote policy doesn't rob you of what you need, but a 0% remote policy robs those of us who prefer WFH from what we need.

The co-working workspace has security implications.

Also I think the current setup is working to a large extent because everyone is remote and playing field is even. It will be somewhat complicated after half the team is on-site and other half is not.

i’ll just continue to work for a company with the ability and desire to deal with those security issues, and whatever other problems my preferred way of working causes, since it makes me a happier and more productive employee. plus, in my experience, when you work from home, you don’t have to deal with an asshole control freak boss, since almost all of those don’t allow work from home in the first place, given a choice. ipso facto, one of the benefits of working from home is the opportunity to work under “better” management.

This just isn't true. Office culture requires people and regularity. The ability to go and tap someone on the shoulder is priceless.

WFH makes businesses less effective.

> The ability to go and tap someone on the shoulder is priceless

Indeed and the annoyance I feel from that while I'm trying to concentrate is matchless.

Tapping on the shoulder can mean two things: "riddle me this" and "drop everything because I'm more important". The former can be replaced by a chat app. The latter is a stopgap for a failure to plan and goes with an adhocracy.

If a company became less efficient due to a lack of "drop everything" taps on the shoulder, it wasn't efficient in the first place.

Nothing "robs" you. Companies make choices, employees do too. There will be a mix of companies offering everything from on-site only to remote-only and if you're skilled enough you will be able to dictate the terms of your employment.

If you’re good enough relative to what test?

I simply do not believe meritocracy can exist.

Our biological sensibilities are too easily confused by concepts we don’t fully grasp, and come on; there is so much rubber stamping and favoritism (even now I know the founder of my company is invited to private sessions in DC to hammer out rules that favor us and we’ve proven nothing).

This forum seems to have too much of a naive and weirdly trusting belief in such subjective and hand wavy ideas when literal reality is offering plenty of evidence to the contrary in the political sections of a newspaper.

> I think it is important to acknowledge that different people have different lives and want different things.

Absolutely. I've found mostly-remote with some office days works very well for me, personally, and this seems to be new normal in the bank that I work for. There are also times where we want large gatherings, too.

One thing that I feel gets missed around the idea that being in the same building builds collaboration: I personally find the opposite a lot of time. It might make for easy catchups for people in proximity in the building or campus, but it often leads to implicit decision-making by proximity, where people aren't included, even when they should be, if they happen to be on another floor or another building in the same campus.

> The bathrooms

At my first job they were so crunched for space my desk in the open office was about ten feet from the entrance to the men’s bathroom. I got to quickly know everyone’s schedule, and knew I just had to leave my desk at certain times during the day due to certain coworkers… my manager was not happy when I cited that as my reason for quitting a few months in!

I had a similar setup where the bathrooms were in the office area (not in the hallway like normal) and the ladies had a double-door system but the mens was just door -> urinals (minimal walls/splash guards) so it was an all-day wang-fest for my whole row!

> my manager was not happy when I cited that as my reason for quitting a few months in!

If your manager was so unhappy I'm sure they would have been willing to swap desks with you and experience the - uh - ambience ...

Was your manager unhappy with you or the company?

Plot twist: unhappy with them for criticizing the manager's private matter

Finally, validation! I hate the bathrooms at my work but everyone thinks I’m crazy when I complain.

One of the downsides to Asia is that there’s a small minority of people who use sitting toilets are squatting toilets.

About 7 years ago I worked in a building where the offices all shared a bathroom with several other companies. We would always need to go to the 2nd or 4th floor if we needed to go #2 due to someone on the 3rd floor using the toilet to squat, which resulted in foot prints on the seat and $#!+ on the back of the toilet seat…

Luckily they decided to tear down the building so we were forced to move. But that is the worst experience I’ve had.

So you’re definitely not crazy haha

Edit: nothing wrong with squatting toilets, just using a sitting toilet as a squatting toilet is the issue.

Ah, squatting toilets...reminds me of my first time in Japan. Was waiting to land so I could uh, unload. Finally deplaned, and hurried to the restroom. Saw what looked like a urinal buried sideways into the floor. As a tall person with bad knees, I cried inside and scurried away. It's just not something a person thinks about or assumes, does this country have toilets like mine?

Oddly enough, by my second trip, that same bathroom(I assume, but can't be positive) had at least 2 functional western toilets, bidets and all. First time using one of those, and not what I'd describe as pleasant, but story for another time :).

On another note... in my wife's country many people actually do use western toilets as squatting toilets. People typically have just a typical western bowl, with no tank or seat.

I have a bidet. When I eventually move back to NZ I’m gonna make sure my house has one!

So...gross question. Let's just say I expected a drinking water fountain type thing, and got what felt like an enraged eel trying to find warmth inside me. Is that uh...typical? I've never tried one since.

It really depends on the Toilet or Bidet. The house I'm in at the moment has a bidet hose, depending on how much you press the button dictates the pressure of the water.

The Japanese style toilets have a little button, there's 2 versions. The first uses the water pressure to function, so when you press it, the water causes it to come out and spray, these don't have any control, it's dictated by your taps water pressure.

The other is the fancy eletric ones that can go from very basic, to multi adjustment, temperature, self-cleaning, etc.

When I first saw these in Asia I thought they were absolutely stupid and pointless.

But one night I got food poisoning and ended up on the toilet, a bit messy, and i used the bidet to clean myself and...

Ok when I got gastro living in australia, I went to the toilet so many times i made my bum raw with toilet paper that it hurt.

After having food poisoning in Asia and cleaning with the Bidet then just drying off, even tho I went to the toilet many times, I didn't get a sore butt. This convinced me that they are awesome, and I've used ever since.

The water pressure isn't the same for all the models so some are gentle cleansers and other could be.. enraged eels. The trick is to start with a light press on the button to gauge the pressure and calibrate from there.

What??? Do you think of "enraged eels" when you whash your hands?

No, of course not. This was much more invasive than a tap.

many have configurable water pressure if they do that

This sort of thing is why I like to explore the areas around where I work. Health and safety says to go for a short walk every hour or two, anyways.

Sometimes you find a relaxing park. Sometimes you find a stairwell with a pointless top landing where you can hide and do frustration pushups. Sometimes you find a cheap hole-in-the-wall.

And sometimes...sometimes, you find a hidden bathroom.

It's easier with big companies in urban centers, because your badge often lets you wander into a bunch of random downtown buildings.

It's certainly telling when there's a reorg and after a team moves, it no longer looks like someone let off a shit-bomb in the toilets every day.

Imagine asking all the nicely dressed people on video zoom/webex call to stand up!


Don't forget having friends and a social life. Life is so much better now that I can sit in my house all day browsing 4chan.

I wear khakis and a dress shirt just to put me in the working mood.

No shoes or socks though.

Remove the commute and all is solved. I pay 4000 USD a month in rent in Hong Kong to sleep near my bank lol

There is something glorious about walking five minutes to work and knowing your co-worker spent an hour in traffic. It's like cheating death on a small scale.

When I had this situation I was expected to show up any time, like if the alarm went off or to let a contractor in, etc. I was unofficially on-call for all things office. And blamed if something odd happened after hours.

Walking to work was glorious.

It's literally cheating death, only spread out over a long period of time.

And by not driving, you cheat death a little bit more on behalf of other people. Less air pollution is good for literally everyone.

Yea, after dealing with the accidents and traffic seemingly every day on 101, having a short walk to work is just incredibly glorious and results in so much less stress. A nice couple block walk on water to an office in the morning is a pretty great way to start the day.

My foot commute is 20min, but involves dropping the kids at school on the way. #Winning

I was renting an apartment in SF to be near the office and avoid the commute, but it just wasn’t the same. I missed my home and family. Eventually I decided I would arrive to the office at lunch time to avoid rush hour and leave at 8pm. That worked out much better for me.

Now that I am fully remote, nothing will convince to ever set foot in an office again. I just rejected a position worth a raise in the six figures because management couldn’t commit to allow me working full time remote. I make that much extra just working on side projects with the free time I gain by staying at home.

I'm curious how you monetize your side projects.

I have a friend who has a huge contract with a manufacturing company that is publicly traded. Whenever I have the time I pick up some tasks from him. It allows me to work on WebGL which is a nice break from the data engineering/systems design work I do for my regular full time employer.

I also have a crypto trading bot, but honestly, I stopped it recently due to the fact I wasn’t ready to deal with the volatility of the last few weeks.

Not really. I've lived near where I've worked my entire life. The furthest I've lived is about 4 miles, and even then I'd bike 6, just so I could bike along the beach.

I still prefer remote.

I paid $4800 in SF to be 40 min. away

boom got'em!

I bet people told you that you had a short "reverse" commute and therefore lucky that it was only 40 minutes each direction!

For context: consulting firms like Deloitte were typically remote-first for front office staff, even before the pandemic. They will still be traveling to client sites. And when not traveling, most managers like to be in person anyway.

For a lot of people, this change is… literally and exactly nothing.

The article says nothing about this not also applying to their consultants. Did I miss it, or are you getting this information from another source?

Can't imagine the policy to have control over how client wants to be engaged.

This is only the Deloitte UK firm, and does not apply to any other Deloitte country firm, such as the US.

Since most of Deloitte employees are travelling consultants who travel to client sites Monday to Thursday and only go to the Deloitte office on Friday, I don't think it would make much of a difference. If you are a client of Deloitte and the client wants you in their office, you would still have to travel to the client site.

That may be true but now Deloitte can liquidate any commercial property or not renew a lease.

One the advisory side, sure but the audit and tax groups are more of a mixed bag and somewhat seasonal/cyclical.

So I interviewed at Facebook, multiple banks, along with my current gig at ”nyc company”, and they are all heavily enforcing returning to the office. This news seems contradictory to the reality I’ve witnessed

While the media has been reporting that Facebook has embraced wfh, the reality on the ground seems different. When I spoke to their recruiter, they seem to decide based on team, manager…etc. Even then they still expect you to be in office a few days a week. A non-starter for me.

I had a similar experience. Interviewed, did tech screen (and did well) and then was told they weren’t hiring remote for that position anymore, which sucked because I really aced that tech screen.

I can't imagine a bank ever being at the forefront of anything and I used to work in the innovation department of one.

But yes, the remote fervor does not seem to be matched even by a quick skimming of job postings on LinkedIn.

>I can't imagine a bank ever being at the forefront of anything and I used to work in the innovation department of one.

It was imaginable in the mid 90s to early 2000s, distant history at this point.

Didn't Facebook announce they were making permanently remote an option? https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/09/facebook-says-all-employees-...

I have a feeling things vary greatly based on the team and senior leadership. The sad reality is if you're the only remote person on a team you're going to have to really struggle to be seen and recognized as much as your peers.

How recent were these interviews? Some of these companies only just started allowing fully remote hires.

Am I wrong or does PCI DSS require work from office for some software engineers?

Not really. It does put a lot of rules around when something might become a tainted environment, so I would imagine it could be too easy to end up with your home network accidentally becoming part of the PCI scope if you weren't careful.

That doesn’t sound right for Facebook unless you happened to apply for some specific positions that require being in the office.

I’m pretty sure that FB is quite the opposite.

It would be great if there was a way for these articles to clearly differentiate many things companies allow.

1. Work from home in your primary geo, commutable distance, but be ready to come to work x times a week / on demand

2. Work from anywhere, but restricted to states where company has a presence.

3. Work from anywhere within primary country.

4. Work from anywhere in whatever time zone and country.

May be different terms?? Right now WFH is a big bucket

May be label them like we call self-driving car levels :)

Surprising, as I thought the big consulting firms favored a stockbroker lifestyle: the offices are in a high-rent area, and your digs are expected to be high-rent and near the office. Both to make you more accessible and to inflate your cost of living so you're more dependent on the company.

Or is it a thing like "unlimited time off" where if you actually take advantage of it, you're considered last for promotions and first for pink slips?

>Or is it a thing like "unlimited time off" where if you actually take advantage of it, you're considered last for promotions and first for pink slips?

consulting ranks/promotes you by what you bill (or sell once in management), so if you start taking too much PTO, your year-end bonuses start to go down and you get put into the firing line

Most firms don't care where you live because you're 99% traveling to a client site anyway

I think your understanding of consulting is way off. Consulting is mostly on-site with clients, and consultants live worldwide.

This is the smart choice - carrots over sticks. Companies can always find other levers to get people into the office if desired - ie, promotion track traditionally favors those who work in office.

We are back in the office and I love it. I can talk to my colleagues again, have in person social time instead of awkwardly staring at someone’s head looking at my chest. I’m very glad to be going back to the office now.

I was involuntary retired due to Covid - best thing to ever happen - why waste my time left on earth doing meaningless soul crushing "work".

Glad you made it through, wishing you the best on your new life.

Better than being involuntary homeless due to Covid I guess.

Also better than beating death just to go back to a job that makes you wish you were.

Hopefully not due to long-term disability from it!

This is a misleading title at best.

Deloitte US (article is about Deloitte UK) has announced a hybrid model.

Most US employees will fall in a 30-50% "co-location" range. Co-location is defined as any time 2 or more employees (or clients + employees) are in the same room at the same time. Deloitte does a lot of on-site work with both corp and gov, so if they want the Deloitte consultant on-site, that's still going to happen.

From inside the company, it's feeling like a lot of the back-office stuff is going to be remote first.

Leadership has been explicit about NOT ALLOWING employees to move outside of commuting range of a Deloitte office.

I'm personally in the lower co-location model, less than 10% "co-location". Given most of my team is in the north-east, and I'm located in south-east, I may fly in twice a year to have a few days of lunches and "planning" sessions with my team.

Been thinking wfh will be axed once things really go back to normal and the pandemic is history.

There will be a larger set of remote first or hybrid companies for sure though.

Commute time is really the main issue here and people including myself will hopefully consider shortening that for the betterment of our overall health and wellness.

I've been working from home for most of my life. I honestly love the freedom it gives me to manage my own time.

Isn't this with the caveat when they are not on a client project? My impression with Big 4 was that they spent a lot of time in client offices.

Yes. Even before the pandemic I (and most of my Big4 colleagues) worked from home when possible (my firm didn't care at all if you came to the office), but 80%+ of the time we were at the whims of our client and were traveling to their offices, anyway.

This announcement probably means a lot more for the internal services staff and the accounting teams that don't go to clients often, but for almost all of the client-facing staff I doubt this makes much of a difference.

that's what i was thinking too. most consultants are on site 4 days a week

Nope. I haven’t been into the offices for the majority of my clients, and when I have, it’s only been to pick up a secured laptop and physically sign papers.

If the clients are also working from home where are you going to go?

The Pub?

Some people prefer to go back to the office. Some other people prefer to keep working from home. That's fine, everyone has his preferences and his own situation (commute time, friends at work vs just coworkers, making your own food vs catered food, etc).

Luckily, we can switch jobs easily in this industry. Just go and join a company that suits your preference.

I'm already remote, but I'd definitely switch if my company forced me to go back. There's plenty of opportunities out there and life is too short.

If your company wants you to go back, fuck them. Go and look for something else. If your company goes full remote and you miss your coworkers, fuck them, go and look for something else. Meet your ex-coworkers after work at a pub.

I hope enough of these big organizations can make this change that we surpass a critical point and trigger a cascade where it becomes a major competitive disadvantage to require an office presence.

2030s: work from anywhere, get paid in non-nation-state currency

This will be interesting to watch, as people jump ship from the other Big Four, especially when some of the others have forced staff back into the office.

The Economist has had a lot of interesting articles on this. In one, they said that office building owners are going to have to make their office spaces so cool that people will want to return. I've worked at home for years, but I'm curious what the larger tech worker opinion is on this. Will fancy new offices with that perks that SV workers have long had convince you to return to the office?

> Will fancy new offices with that perks that SV workers have long had convince you to return to the office?

If "fancy" means open plan and "perks" means sitting next to a foosball table that will further entrench my WFH preference. Things like free drinks and food might make a difference to whether to work for company A or company B, but there's nothing I care about enough to give up the extra time I have each day.

Assuming they are mostly consultants, this isn't terribly meaningful, is it? Whether they can work from home will be determined by the client most of the time.

I wonder if Deloitte management working in the commercial office sector will put some behind the scenes pressure on staff to spend time in the office.

I wonder how much Deloitte will save in expenses by doing this. I imagine that played into the decision

I can't speak for Deloitte, but having seen some of the numbers of a bunch of large companies, it doesn't matter a whole lot. Like yeah, in absolute its a big number, but relatively, for most companies its nearly a rounding error.

It's much more about talent acquisition/retention vs perceived output, etc.

For a lot of companies that did go all in, they generally give the money they would save in some other form (eg: food cards, paid home work setup, etc). The real estate itself is often also locked in for 10+ years anyhow so they can't easily get rid of that, and at best saves them from locking down extra locations.

Yeah this is true. Apple's brand new state of the art campus cost $5 billion. That's a lot of money, but Apple printed ~$60 billion in profit last year alone, and will do a bigger number this year and the next and so on.

$5 billion one time really is just a rounding error in that context.

is actually forever or is it google “free photo storage for life”-forever?

I'm not a doomer who thinks the commercial real estate market is going to crash the economy, but I can't help but wonder what its going to look like in 10 years.

That's 350k people who can work remotely now. Then you'll have the other Big 3 trying to stay competitive. That's 1 million employees who are going to be doing... something? Sure, not all will be remote, but still. That's a dramatic shift.

> That's 350k people who can work remotely now.

Did you even read the article?

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