Devinder specialises in implementing new ways of working, which both inform and challenge property decisions, while aligning the firm’s evolving workplace requirements.
What has been the best thing about the 1 New Street Square project?
The best thing about the 1New Street Square project was getting the opportunity to work with over 100 Deloitte colleagues, all working across a variety of different teams to deliver this project, from real estate consulting to our sustainability team. Seeing our collaborative effort come together when over 5,000 people moved into the building in Summer 2018 was a particular highlight.
What, if anything, would you change in retrospect?
I would have increased the level of engagement with the business, in order to build more awareness of the need for behavioural change. Understanding and adapting to change was vital to implementing our new ways of working and is still required for continued success.
What is your role at Deloitte?
I am the Head of Workplace Strategy for Deloitte, managing the UK and Swiss portfolio – so my role involves overseeing a team of strategic workplace consultants who work on a number of Deloitte’s workplace projects. This involves defining space requirements, understanding the business needs, designing the spaces to accommodate these aspirations and managing the adoption of new ways of working through our change management team. Most recently this was the ‘Creating Spaces’ programme which saw the creation of 1 New Street Square, but we manage a vast number of projects across our estate.
What is the biggest challenge for you and your team?
The biggest challenge we face is accommodating Deloitte’s growing headcount in our current London campus. We work to promote and support the firm’s agile working strategy and we have increased the provision of flexible working positions to maximise the efficiency of our space.
In your experience, what is the biggest change in workplace transformation?
The biggest change is the decrease in the need for ‘traditional’ work settings, namely desks. In 1 New Street Square we have provided 2,000 core and 1,500 flexible working positions, to suit our agile workforce. This has created a shift in having minimal options on the working floors to provide our people with the choice of 10 different work settings, including individual focus booths, touchdowns and sit/stand desks. With a growing headcount, our staff working in an agile way was vital to the way our building was designed. As well as traditional and flexible positions on the working floors, unassigned work spaces can be found in ‘The Mix’ on Level 12 and ‘The Landing’ on Level 7, promoting collaboration between service lines and flexibility among our workforce.
Hypothetically, what piece of technology would make your life easier and more efficient (real or not)?
An app to help occupiers of our buildings identify where available work settings are. As our people hot desk, users sit in different types of work settings and in different locations every day. We have this facility in the building, but an app that staff could use whilst they are on their way up to the working floor, to help identify a free desk for the day, would be really valuable.
What is the one thing you would change when working with architects and designers?
Physical distance between teams can often be a challenge. Projects would run more smoothly if we could all work together from the same location but, in reality, for 1 New Street Square, teams were dispersed across the UK. We find Skype calls and video conferencing invaluable in helping to overcome these barriers and to work together efficiently as a team.
Can you share with us a lesson learned and, hopefully, never repeated?
Bring the business implementation leads into the project earlier – their input was invaluable and they were vital in promoting and embedding change within the business.
Who is the most inspirational person you have worked with (in any role)?
A service line representative who challenged us as a project team, significantly pushing us to deliver an enhanced working environment.
In terms of workplace, what do you think others get wrong – and Deloitte gets right?
Deloitte has put sustainability at the top of our agenda with 1 New Street Square. We’re the first corporate occupier in London to achieve both BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Gold, leading the way in workplace sustainability for the environment and our people. On moving into 1 New Street Square we provided 6,000 KeepCups to staff and removed all paper and plastic cups, and the building provides cleaner air, fresher water and better light for our people. Deloitte has put wellness at the heart of the building’s design; we created a tech-free haven on the 12th floor called The Retreat, where employees can go to take a break and switch off, along with a Mental Health and Occupational Health Suite.
Where do you like to work within 1 New Street Square?
If I’m working alone for the afternoon and need time to focus, I like to work from one of our flexible work settings on the 12th floor. This might be an individual workspace or even a beanbag! From the 12th floor we have a fantastic view of the London skyline, from St Paul’s to the Shard, and the terrace provides a break for fresh air. If I know I’ll be collaborating with my team for most of the day, we might choose one of the working areas surrounding a Microsoft Surface Hub, allowing us to collaborate effectively with those in the room but also those beyond our physical environment.