At Deloitte, our purpose is to make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our community and our planet. During these unprecedented times, we have really considered each element of our purpose in more detail than ever before. In such an environment, prudence in planning is critical, however, together we will find our way through these changes by living our purpose and supporting our clients, our people, our community and our planet in a whole new way. Though our people are now further away, we are more connected than ever and are committed to activating our purpose throughout this pandemic, achieving a ‘new normal’ and emerging more resilient.
Throughout this pandemic, Deloitte is supporting our clients across Ireland to manage and mitigate the risks associated with Covid-19, examining how companies will be affected and supporting them on next steps. There will be a recovery period, but now is the time for clarity of thinking, strong communication and decision making. Whilst leading from the heart and the head, we continue to inspire organisations to persevere through this crisis – equipping our clients for a step change that creates more value, not just for shareholders but for society as a whole. Deloitte has a resilience and business continuity plan in place which will ensure we will continue to work effectively with our clients.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland, Deloitte has been providing webinars for our clients, covering topics such as employment tax, economics as well as phased return to work. These webinars are designed to share our insights relating to combatting Covid-19 with resilience. Understanding our responsibility as a key stakeholder to help maintain and sustain the economy is a crucial pillar in our strategy of supporting our clients and the wider business community as we navigate our way through this pandemic.
Our clients have been asking us where to get up-to-date information on travel restrictions, quarantine and immigration considerations in relation to Covid-19. In response to these recurring requests, the Deloitte Global Employer Services team engaged with a pro-bono project enabling companies to see the travel implications around the world. Titled the Go-Work – Covid-19 Digital Map enables companies to manage their employees’ global mobility and business travel over the coming months. With such a unique development, we continue to help our communities and clients stay connected to the rapidly-changing global picture.
In response to building closures due to Covid-19, our Government & Public Services team worked within reduced timeframes to implement a new online form process for the Department of Justice & Equality. By adopting a more agile approach, the team mapped and signed off the renewals process, which usually takes weeks, in a matter of days, showing our commitment to serving our clients through the hardest of times, while also supporting society at large.
At Deloitte, we believe our people are our best asset and so keeping our people connected throughout this crisis has taken priority in Deloitte. As we face these uncertain times, we have kept the wellbeing of our people at the heart of our planning and decision making.
Our teams have been working remotely since March and will continue to do so in line with the Government recommendations. As we start to plan for a phased return to the office, our people’s health and safety will continue to be the number one priority.
As we all adjust to a new way of working and living, we face new challenges and we have made sure to equip our people with effective ways to deal with these challenges. With all of our business activity now taking place virtually, we have rolled out new software and applications to ensure our teams stay connected, encouraging participation, collaboration and conversation. This ensures we are able to deliver the high quality solutions and advice that our clients expect.
Throughout this pandemic, we have asked our people to prioritise their wellbeing and have launched a ‘Working from Home Hub’ to support them in doing this. Central to our Covid-19 response is keeping our Deloitte culture alive. Many of our people have set up virtual social groups, and are sharing their personal skill sets. We now have lunchtime Yoga and Pilates sessions offered via zoom and a daily 10 minute wellbeing webinar hosted by one of our Directors who is a mindfulness instructor. Deloitte Ireland’s CEO Harry Goddard took part in the Business of Wellbeing Podcast which gives an insight into his view on how to prioritise a plan for wellness and the steps to achieving personal goals. Our Inclusion team have also launched Find Your Peace, a wellbeing programme in collaboration with Dr Maria Quinlan. This aims to help our people to ‘Find Their Peace’ and feel calmer by using guided meditation and freewriting before taking photos to capture their thoughts at this time to help articulate their feelings and find their inner calm.
As we navigate our way through this crisis, we have identified that working parents/carers in particular may be facing additional challenges. In response to this, we have launched a Working Parent Hub which provides support lines and resources for our people with children at home. In addition to this, we are also supporting flexible working hours, empowering our people to find what works for them and their family. To support our people in doing this, we introduced a Covid-19 Sabbatical which recognises that there may be people across our business who are finding it difficult to work remotely and/or manage additional caring responsibilities alongside work, we also had people interested in pursuing Covid-19 crisis volunteer opportunities within their communities, which we also wanted to support. The firm offered a voluntary partially paid Sabbatical whereby people could apply for a six-week block of leave, allowing flexibility for our people when they needed it most.
Since the beginning of this pandemic we have looked at new ways in which we can support our community. Our usual face-to-face volunteering programmes have come to a halt for now, however, we understand the need for support in the community has grown significantly since the outbreak in Ireland.
With this in mind, we have identified the elderly and those who are homeless as being particularly vulnerable during this pandemic. We already have long established charity partners who work in this space which meant that we were able to activate our response and our people to support the charities at this time. To support the elderly, we have contributed to Age Action’s Hardship Fund, which will support the requirements of their clients for any practical needs that they may have. We have also connected with our Christmas charity partners: Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland and Sophia Housing to see how we can best support them through this crisis. In connecting with these charities, we have been directing our people to wish lists for items to keep children living in emergency accommodation entertained during their time in isolation. These wish lists have enabled our people to send activity packs to those living in emergency accommodation, a small gesture with a big impact on someone’s daily life. Our Consulting department held a virtual ‘Away Day’ recently and also took the opportunity to support some of the most vulnerable in society during Covid-19, donating to the three homeless charities listed above.
Our work with the Dublin Simon Community has also recently developed in response to Covid-19. Our Recruitment team have been working closely with the Dublin Simon Community’s Community Employment Programme Team and their clients to provide virtual CV workshops as well as conducting mock interviews. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, industries such as retail have begun hiring to meet demand, and so this type of support ensures jobseekers are in the best possible position to secure employment.
We have also continued to work with our WorldClass educational charity partners, albeit, in reimagined ways.
Our volunteering programmes with the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) may have come to a pause during the pandemic, but our people have been looking at new ways to support them. Our people have been sharing virtual ‘day in the life’ videos of themselves, outlining their career paths to date and what a typical day in work might look like. These videos have been shared with the students to keep them engaged, focused and inspired, continuing the mentoring support that would normally be in place through our in-person volunteer programmes. Some of our Risk team also took time out of their working day to do some research into Irish educational platforms on behalf of ELI, with their aim to keep students actively involved in school work during the pandemic. These educational platforms were included in educational packs for students who are now out of school to make home learning more accessible.
Junior Achievement Ireland, another of Deloitte Ireland’s key educational partners have also faced challenges due to Covid-19. With all of their face-to-face volunteering programmes cancelled, we wanted to see how we could support them in moving some of these programmes to the virtual world. Our Central Learning team in Deloitte have supported JAI in successfully moving one of their programmes online by facilitating ‘train the trainer’ sessions and providing virtual platform best practice to JAI staff. They have also looked how other programmes and training sessions could be delivered virtually. These sessions have enabled JAI to proceed with the launch of one of their key programmes despite Covid-19 implications. In addition our Cyber Security team is also providing a pro bono piece of work to the Junior Achievement team.
Our volunteering with Age Action, through the Getting Started computer literacy programme, has also moved to the virtual classroom. Our people have signed up to re-connect with their previous learners through letters, while volunteers who were due to start the face-to-face sessions have opted to go virtual. Continuing our work with the elderly throughout Covid-19 is incredibly important to Deloitte and our people as the digital divide threatens to further isolate those who are vulnerable.
In addition, we are proud to have donated a number of iPads and laptops to a variety of organisations and initiatives to ensure people stay connected throughout this time including the Tech2Students campaign, CBS James Street School as well as to nursing homes, hospices and hospitals around the country.
Our dedication to our planet is embedded in our long-established Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability programme. Our environmental management system, which is certified to ISO14001:2015, promotes best practice to our key stakeholders, including our clients, supply chain, partners, people and the communities within which we work. Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed the way in which we operate, resulting in immediate changes to our environmental footprint. Since mid-March, our people have been working from home leading to a marked decrease in travel, electricity, gas, waste and printing as our offices began to shut down.
In an effort to keep our people engaged our green efforts, even while working remotely, we held a virtual Environmental Week in April to celebrate Earth Day. This year’s Earth Day theme was climate action, which is embedded in our Green Agenda. To highlight this day amongst our people and celebrate it with them, we invited Hugh Weldon from the Cool Planet experience to facilitate a session via Zoom. This truly inspiring and educational talk provided our people with insights into simple solutions on how to take real climate action in their daily lives. Throughout the week, we also had daily posts on our internal intranet with tips on how to live more sustainably as well interactive quizzes aimed at improving our people’s knowledge on sustainability.
At Deloitte, we are continuing to meet our auditing and reporting requirements during the office closures, for example, our most recent ISO14001 surveillance audit was held virtually, for the first time ever.