KMPG Law partner chief Kate Marshall broke lockdown with mid-year hiatus in Northern Territory


“We could have left the car in Alice Springs and flown back, but we were like, ‘Why don’t we go to Darwin? It will take a week and everything will be fine – we can go home and have the car transported.

Ms Marshall went to the KPMG office in Darwin and found that she really missed working side by side with people.

“We had a great apartment. We continued to expand and came back only two weeks ago.

Grand final motivation

There was another important factor.

“One thing I didn’t announce at the time is that our whole family are passionate supporters of Melbourne Football Club.

“Part of the reason we kept expanding was that, well, Melbourne Football Club could get into the Grand Final and the only people who could make it to the Grand Final were in Perth, South Australia and may -be in the Northern Territory.

“But I was really aware that my family, my community, my team in Melbourne were going through a very difficult time. I missed it. [lockdowns] five and six, and they were really tough on people.

Benefits of the office

Ms Marshall said she had been “so much more efficient in the second semester than if I had been sitting in my home office”.

She attributes this to being around people and being exposed to “new things and new challenges,” like hiking and settling in a new city very different from her home.

“For those of us who have spent a lot of time in confinement, there is no difference. It’s the same thing.

“Listen, I am privileged. I’m lucky. I have a nice place to be locked up, but it’s the same.

The couple advanced to the preliminary and grand final, both contested in Perth, and rejoiced when the Demons won the flag for the first time in 57 years.

“It was so cool. We actually spent three weeks in Perth which was wonderful. I was able to work side by side with members of my transaction and tax teams.

Ms Marshall said the pandemic has proven that “great work doesn’t just come when you work in the office, in the same geography.”

“The ability to choose the best team is now much less limited by the assumption that we have to be in the same office to deliver effectively.”

“I found that I appreciated the functionality and the energy I got from having people around me. Darwin is a very busy office.

“Still, for some people who need quiet time to work on a board or just help manage another engagement, it may be easier to work more from home.

“We also have many team members who took the opportunity to move regionally, whether to Newcastle, Geelong or other parts of Australia. They can spend more time in their local office than in their original home office.

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