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Life at nib redefined to achieve greater work flexibility

Three employees at a table chatting

nib Group (nib) has introduced a new flexible way of working, which encourages its 1,200 strong workforce to work from home at least four days a week and only come together in person at local office ‘hubs’ for a purpose, such as meetings or social events. nib employees are supported by a $1,200 annual distributed work allowance to contribute to the reasonable ongoing costs of working remotely.  

Dubbed Life at nib, nib Chief People Officer, Martin Adlington, said the distributed working policy reflected the health insurer’s approach to the future of work following the upheaval of the pandemic.  

“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,” Mr Adlington said. 

“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,” he said.  

A survey* of nib’s workforce showed that 79% of employees agreed that working from home enabled them to do their best work. 

“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. 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,” Mr Adlington said. 

“We are very conscious however that the past 18 months is not reflective of the “norm” with varying lockdowns and restrictions across the country impacting our employees’ ability to come together regularly, and we will be constantly tweaking our approach to ensure its fit for purpose once restrictions ease,” he added.  

To help provide the best at-home workplace set up, nib has also introduced an annual allowance for all employees.  

“In addition, our $1,200 annual allowance will help cover some of the costs of working in a remote environment while new employees will also receive a one-off reimbursement of $300 to help them set up their workstation at home, in addition to the tech kit we supply them,” he added. The new policy also provides nib’s employees with flexibility and choice about when and where they perform their work which has helped the insurer attract new talent to the business.   

“Each employee can come to an agreement with their leader on what works best for them in terms of hours and location. For example, one person might start work earlier, so they can do the school pick up. For another, it may suit them to start work later, so they can be active in the morning,” Mr Adlington said.  

“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. 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,” Mr Adlington said.  

nib has also implemented various health and wellbeing initiatives to ensure nib employees continue to keep on top of their health at home.  

“We are very conscious of employees’ continuing to experience those informal workplace connections with their colleagues and we’re constantly looking for new ways to support this, particularly during lockdown,” Mr Adlington said. 

“In the past 12 months, we’ve learnt that just having mental health resources available is not enough and creating proactive internal marketing campaigns that leverage a range of communications channels and formats, has the most impact. It’s why we’ve focused on delivering experiences that foster connections and camaraderie across nib like physical challenges, panel discussions and buddy programs.  

“Creating a safe space for our people to start important conversations and maintain connections is an extremely important part of our remote working policy and we’ll continue to seek new opportunities to help foster a mentally healthy workplace,” he added. 

*nib Survey completed in November 2020.

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