POSTED: June 10 2021
Hybrid working here to stay, say insurers

Hybrid working here to stay, say insurers

Insurers are expected to reject the five day week and continue with a hybrid approach to work as the country begins to emerge from the pandemic.

This contradicts the recent predictions from the Centre for Cities which expects the five-day working week to return within two years. The think tank’s director of policy and research Paul Swinney, has said he is hopeful people would return to five days a week at the office.

But it does not appear that insurers will be following this trend.

Zurich UK Chief Operating Officer John Keppel told Health & Protection that in future he expects the firm will continue with a hybrid approach – blending office and home working to meet the needs of customers, the business and employees.

“We anticipate a number of people will use the offices again when it’s appropriate and in line with government guidance,” he said. “We are currently finalising our approach and policy for the return to the office, but this will take into account government guidance, health and safety best practice and consultation with our employees.”

Dan Crook, protection sales director at Canada Life told Health & Protection the insurer invested heavily to increase its digital capacity to ensure the majority of employees could work at home at the start of the pandemic. Crook added that the firm’s own regular polling has shown most employees are not looking for a return to a five-day week and actually prefer a blended approach to working.

“Our team is keen and eager to meet once restrictions lift and will take ownership for their working days, whether that be at home, in the physical office, or a mix of both, depending on business need,” Crook continued. “We are mindful that a return to the office full-time won’t be for all, balancing that with the need to accommodate colleagues who for many reasons might prefer to return to a physical office full time. But it is clear that for Canada Life a blended approach to the working week is here to stay.”

And this approach is being adopted by smaller insurers as well.

Lorraine Donald, head of operations at British Friendly, told Health & Protection that while the insurer expects to see a gradual return to the office for more employees, it does not anticipate a return to a five-day office week for all staff. Donald said this was due to a combination of office capacity, location of employees and the positive impact of flexible working on productivity and work-life balance.

“Hopefully, we will see other businesses adopt a similar approach towards hybrid working which will ultimately have a very positive impact on the working culture in the UK,” she added.

Ian Talbot, general manager Healix Health Services, told Health & Protection the healthcare and risk management solutions provider is planning a staged return to the office for its workers which will be kept under review to develop a solution which works for the business and employees.

“We understand that some employees benefit from the support network and social aspect of being in an office, which is why we are planning for employees to be back in the office, rather than everyone working remotely. We believe that this flexible approach will deliver a more productive, engaged and happier team, as well as allow us to deliver a more rounded and flexible service to our clients.”

advo echo the comments made by the insurers. As a company with a great culture which has been built in an office environment, but also recognising the obvious benefits of remote working, we intend to adopt a blended approach of both office and home working as the country emerges from the pandemic.

Original article here.