Future of Work:
We're reimagining our world of work for all colleagues, not just those who were office based. Instilling a Work, Meet, Recruit, Live Anywhere ethos to allow colleagues to ‘locate for their day’.
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"The last year has taught many of us that ‘how’ we do our jobs is much more important than ‘where’ we do them from. We have listened and learned, and we are now deciding to move forward, not back. We are putting our employees in control of where they work from, inviting them to ‘locate for their day’ depending on what they need to achieve."
Work is what we do, not a place that we go
One year on from the first lockdown, as the UK starts to ease its way out of the pandemic, it feels appropriate to look forward to what the future will mean for our world of work at Nationwide.
Working with other leading organisations, we've published our Future of Work Report, covering a range of topics on how the UK might respond to the challenges – and opportunities - presented by the pandemic. From how we work, how we live, how we look after our financial wellbeing and how we thrive as communities. This included surveying our own employee’s views and experiences.
As a result, we've introduced a ‘work anywhere’ approach focussed on how our people can do their best work rather than where they are based. Empowering them to make their own choices, while balancing the many demands of life and respecting the choices that others may make. To read more about our commitments, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Recognising that flexible working is more difficult for branch colleagues, we're working with colleagues to understand what would help them better manage their working day around their home lives. The Society is currently trialling an initiative across select branches where employees traditionally based in offices work alongside branch colleagues – breathing new life into branches and their respective communities.
In this short film, CEO Joe Garner explains our way forward.
Jane Hanson, Chief People Officer
"As we go forward to build our future of work, we’ll achieve even greater things because we’ll do it together. I have every confidence that Nationwide will prove work is no longer a place we go, but something we do with passion and dedication."
Implementing a more adaptable and flexible approach
We've gathered input and feedback from thousands of colleagues to build a picture of how they imagine working in the future. From this we've made six commitments which define the key characteristics of our new world of work. And being commitments, they represent the journey we're on, recognising there is always progress to be made.
Empowered, in conjunction with our colleagues and managers, to look at the work we need to do, and decide how and where we work to best achieve it. It could be a branch, an office, at home, a library… or a combination of those things – the flexibility will be there, as long as the location is in the UK on an enduring basis. We won't implement a required amount of time to be spent in a Nationwide building.
2. Inclusive meetings
Meetings will be inclusive first so if someone needs to be virtual, then we all need to be. Teams will be empowered to decide how, when and where they'll come together face to face – democratically and based on the work that needs to be achieved.
3. Recruit talent where they are, not where an office is
We've proved we can do our roles from anywhere, so new roles will be advertised UK-wide so we can hire the best people for the role.
4. Continued investment in our workplaces, tools and technology
Our new world of work will have to evolve, bringing together workplaces, tools and technology – with more space for collaboration and social contact. Anyone who needs a desk, for whatever reason, will have access to one – whether that's for wellbeing, for specific roles or those who don't have suitable environments elsewhere.
5. Wellbeing is the norm
In the last year we've learned a lot about human connections, staying healthy, exercise, the work life balance. We want to learn from the positives but also lean into the impact we've seen on different groups and make sure the right support is available.
6. The more we listen, the more we learn
Colleague listening over the last twelve months has really helped us tune into what's important and we're bringing in new ways of being able to listen to colleagues in real time. There'll also be a focus on learning so we can be ready as roles need to adapt.
Each year we run a highly-coveted programme of awards to recognise excellent work from our colleagues. Nick, a Senior Counsel and our Employee of the Year 2020 winner, was nominated for his work driving forward two really high profile and quite diverse projects as part of his wider role. One is Nationwide's commitment to building new homes in Swindon, the Oakfield Project, and the other is supporting Nationwide's Venturing Programme, investing in fintech start-ups.
We caught up with him to find out how it felt to be recognised remotely and his thoughts on the future of work.
The Annual Awards ceremony is usually a lavish event. How did it feel to take part from home?
“I was lucky to attend the Annual Awards in 2016 and it was a special experience. This time they were held virtually, but I have to say it was just as amazing. The team did a phenomenal job in organising everything. Whilst I wasn’t there in person when my name was announced, I was with my wife and sons, and that was really special. My team celebrated the win virtually, but I think the plan is to celebrate again when we can all be together.”
What was the biggest challenge for you switching to remote working?
“Printing – lawyers have to review pages and pages of documents and the default was to print out hard copies and mark up by pen. It was a challenge shifting to doing everything on screen but it’s definitely the better, greener option. Like most people, I’ve come to really miss being around colleagues. That, and trying to buy loo roll in the first lockdown, have been the biggest challenges!”
What are your thoughts on the Future of Work Commitments?
"I’m pleased that there is a focus on well-being because this past year has shown the importance of looking after our physical and mental health.
I think remote working is great as an option, but when its enforced, not so much! Before COVID I would tend to work from home one day a week but going forwards, I think I’ll be in the office one or two days a week. What is important though is that we make sure we make the best use of the opportunities the Future of Work offers. We can keep doing things in new and better ways.
As part of our Future of Work research, half of Gen Z and a quarter of Millennials interviewed said that working from home five days a week for a sustained period has put extra pressure on their health and wellbeing and more than half of Millennials said their overall mental health has worsened during the pandemic. We caught up with Alex, who joined the Society last year as part of Nationwide's Graduate Scheme, to find out how he's found lockdown and working remotely
"I'm just come to the end of my first placement and it's strange to think I've never seen a single one of my co-workers in the flesh!
"Adapting to new ways of working has been a learning process for everyone, and it took much longer to get to know everyone than it probably would have done otherwise. You don't see what the other people in your team are working on like you would in an office, so it's difficult to get a big picture view of everything the team's doing. You miss out on some learning opportunities and the social dimension of the office working from home, and that's a shame.
"There's been loads of help available, from Unmind which Nationwide have provided colleagues access to, and wellbeing support to something as simple as regular social sessions with my team and with other grads. I've also had a great line manager who checks in on how I'm doing regularly.
"There's definitely benefits to working remotely (no commute!), but I think it's hard to connect with people. For me, what would work best is a blended approach – coming into the office a few days a week mixed with a couple of days working from home depending on wherever you're going to do your best work. I think that kind of flexibility is the future."