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nib, a first-mover in flexible work, finds it is here to stay

Three female colleagues gathered around a coffee table at nib's office
  • nib’s work from home model overwhelmingly supported: employee survey reveals

  • first-mover in supporting flexible work confirms model will continue

  • 50% of employees currently work from home 4 days a week

  • 85% of survey participants said hybrid work is good for their mental health and wellbeing

  • 88% of respondents said hybrid work helps them achieve a good work/life balance

  • 92% said hybrid work is a positive benefit of working for nib

More than two years on from the introduction of flexible work, nib Group (ASX: NHF) has found overwhelming employee support for its work from home model, and wellbeing benchmarks and diversity measures have risen.

An employee survey, of more than 1,200 employees, found very strong support for flexible work.

“Our employee engagement survey found that no matter what stage of life our employees are at, there are real benefits in an approach that allows them to be more in control of when and where they work,” said Lauren Daniels, nib Chief People Officer. “They may have children who need to be picked up from school, or elderly parents who need to be taken to appointments. There are clear wellbeing benefits for all employees in being able to decide to take time out, look after themselves, and work at a time that suits them.”

Benefits for nib include low employee turnover, Ms Daniels said, along with a more diversified workforce. nib was formed by a group of steelworkers in the heart of Newcastle 70 years ago. Its head office remains in Newcastle.

“At one time, it would have been crucial to live in Newcastle to be employed at nib,” Ms Daniels said. “That’s no longer the case. You can work from anywhere, which means we have a bigger pool of potential employees and a greater opportunity to employ a more diverse workforce, which is highly advantageous in a competitive talent market.”

nib Group now has more than 1.7 million members enrolled in private health insurance across Australia and New Zealand; it is a leading global brand for travel insurance, and it insures more than 180,000 overseas students and workers. It has a revenue base of $2.8 billion.

The survey, conducted in November, found almost 50% of employees visit an office ‘hub’ one day a week or less, with less than a third going to a hub four days a week or more. nib has offices in Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Oakland (California), Cork (Ireland) and New Zealand.

Hybrid work is seen as a positive benefit by 92% of employees and 91% said they feel able to work anywhere and have the tools and technology to do their jobs effectively.

When nib formalised flexible work, and “Life at nib” was launched in July 2021, Chief Executive Officer Mark Fitzgibbon said the days of full-time office work were long gone and the new way of working would help attract talent and increase productivity.

nib introduced a $1,200 annual allowance to cover some of the costs of working in a remote environment. New employees receive a one-off reimbursement of $300 to help set up a home-based work station in addition to the technical equipment supplied by nib.

nib also introduced international remote work this year, which enables employees to work for up to six weeks in various countries, including Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Ms Daniels said nib recognises that working remotely doesn’t suit everyone, and nib provides support and resources to accommodate various ways of working for different needs.

“Life at nib is evolving, and we encourage our employees to provide ongoing feedback, to ensure we are creating a world class employee experience,” Ms Daniels said.

“In that transition period following strict COVID lockdowns, people looked forward to social interaction, including face to face events.

“We have built that into the way we work. We come together with a purpose, regularly. But we don’t do it just because we expect people to make their presence known in an office.”

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