Health insurer nib announces flexible workplace model

Australian health insurer nib Group (nib) is the latest company to embrace a flexible workplace model, a move they said reflected their employees’ requests.

“Our policy is a direct reflection of what our people have asked for, providing the flexibility they need to be their best selves at home and at work based on their personal preferences,” said Martin Adlington, nib’s chief people officer.

The company’s flexible workplace scheme will allow 1,200 employees work from home for at least four days a week, where they will also be given an annual $1,200 allowance to cover the costs of remote work. New employees of the company will also be given a one-off reimbursement of $300 to help them set up their remote workstations.

“We also intend to maintain a physical preference, with office ‘hubs’ across our core locations where our people can attend for a designated purpose, like work, training, team meetings or social events,” added Adlington.

According to the nib official, employees can coordinate with their managers to find a schedule and location which works for them.

“By doing this, we hope to tap into much larger talent recruitment pools with the idea that our flexible working approach will become a drawcard for potential candidates,” said Adlington. “Our teams are starting to be made up of a mix of people from all different locations which is great for encouraging diversity of thought.”

The new flexible workplace was attributed to the changes brought about by the pandemic, but the nib official said tweaks will be made to ensure that the working arrangement remains smooth even after restrictions ease.

“While nobody celebrates the misery and disruption caused by COVID-19, it has presented a unique opportunity to us to re-think old work practices and design principles and ultimately redefine work at nib,” said Adlington. “We moved quickly to transition our people to remote working at the start of the pandemic, but since then we’ve spent months planning and consulting with our people to better understand how they like to work and how we can best support them to do this in a safe, effective and productive manner.”

The Australian health insurer is one of many companies looking to upend workplace arrangements after the pandemic. Graphic design platform Canva announced that it is also looking into a hybrid workplace model that focuses on “Flexibility and Connection.”

“We won’t be setting any strict requirements for balancing working from home versus working from an office,” the company wrote in a blog post. “However, we’d like to see everyone able to visit their nearest Canva Hub at least twice a season.”

In the United States, PwC has announced that they’ll be providing US employees with a permanent remote work option. CNBC reported that 40,000 out of the company’s 55,000 US workers are affected by this shift, with the remaining members of workforce belonging to a group whose duties require them to report to offices.

Employees need to inform their managers two weeks prior if they want to try the new work set-up, which can be revisited and modified to suit the workers’ needs, CNBC reported. According to the company, compensation will still be based on where the employee lives.

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