25 October 2016
A giant electronic billboard dominates the atrium of the new Deloitte offices but you have to book a seat, just like going to the theater. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/Deloitte China
A giant electronic billboard dominates the atrium of the new Deloitte offices but you have to book a seat, just like going to the theater. Photos: HKEJ, Facebook/Deloitte China

Deloitte puts a new face on next-gen office

Not every company is Google or Facebook, but increasingly, more of them are turning into social media workstations.

Gone are the days when you worked at a fixed desk in the financial district.

Thanks to the convenience of mobile data, many people work from home, or outside the office.

For some, they spend more time on the road than in the office.

That is why the next generation of the working population would extend their campus life where they were only given a locker — and turn in their assignments from a library or cafeteria with no fixed location.

Consider Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, which opened its new offices to the media this week.

The company showed how it put together modern office design concepts to attract young employees.

First, just like going to the theater, they have to book their seats.

This is similar to the “hot desk” system some media outlets such as wire agencies have already adopted.

Some technology firms in the United States are also pioneer employers who give lockers to staff just iike in a gym.

The hot desks at Deloitte make up most of the areas in the office. No partition, no division, and the open space can be turned into a big conference room for 400 people.

The cool thing is this open area is in the best location, sometimes with a splendid sea view, which previously was enjoyed only by old and rich partners.

Senior partners still have their own room but much smaller and without sea views.

They cannot complain too much because they already enjoy fat yearly bonuses.

To cater to the new generation, a Starbucks or a Pacific Coffee is needed.

A massage room is possible and karaoke is not out of reach because accounting firms like Deloitte often arrange speed dating for its staff if it wants its best people to have a life.

(I wonder what they would say to young lawmaker Yau Wai-ching who complained about the lack of space for “banging”.)

Now after all these exercises, Deloitte has successfully cut 20 per cent of its leased floor and now occupies just six floors covering 200,000 square feet in Pacific Place.

Despite the eight-digit electronic billboard that crosses four floors in the office, Deloitte said it has heard both good and bad comments regarding the renovation.

Given that it is the top accounting firm, we have no doubt that cost-saving was the main driver of this facelift.

Likewise, corporates have no way to think outside the box how to sustain escalating rental costs in Central or the golden triangle district that charges as much as HK$200 per square foot.

While many corporates are relocating to smaller offices, many Chinese companies are looking for more.

Last month, Deloitte announced 9.5 per cent growth in global revenue to US$36.8 billion, up for a seventh consecutive year.

Deloitte has 244,400 employees, nearly 30 per cent of whom are newly hired.

All told, Deloitte, together with the other big three accounting firms, annually take hundreds of accounting or finance graduates from Hong Kong.

It is said that more than 80 per cent of local accounting graduates went to auditing. Many ended up in China where they work around the clock.

That figures.

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EJ Insight writer

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