Nationwide says 13,000 staff can work from home even after the pandemic

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Saleha Riaz
·3 min read
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Nationwide CEO Joe Garner. Photo: Nationwide
Nationwide CEO Joe Garner. Photo: Nationwide

Nationwide (NBS.L) said its 13,000 office-based employees can do their jobs from anywhere in the UK even after the pandemic is over.

It's not the first financial institution in the UK to do this. HSBC (HSBA.L) earlier said it plans to radically slash its office footprint in the coming years as it cuts staff and moves to an "agile" way of working post-COVID.

And Lloyds Bank (LLOY.L) is set to reduce its office space by a fifth as part of a push towards flexible working.

The move from Nationwide comes after just 6% of its employees said they wanted to work in an office five days a week in a survey. More than half (57%) wanting to work from home fulltime. More than a third (36%) want a blend of home and office work.

"As a member-owned organisation, Nationwide’s location agnostic approach is focussed on how people can do their best work rather than where they are based," it said.

“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 are putting our employees in control of where they work from," said CEO Joe Garner.

"Our data suggests that working in a home environment encourages us to think more about the impact on others when making decisions," he added.

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Nationwide teamed up with Ipsos MORI to launch a Future of Work report in collaboration with other companies including American Express (AXP) and Natwest (NWG.L)

It showed that nine in 10 (90%) of those working from home want to continue doing so at least one day a week, with six in ten (60%) saying it gives them a better work-life balance.

However, 43% of remote workers said they needed face-to-face time with colleagues to do their job effectively.

Nationwide said it will continue to invest in offices, "ensuring they are suited to a work culture focused on colleague-led flexibility and choice."

They will have more collaboration spaces, fewer traditional meeting rooms and a range of wellbeing measures such as quiet areas and designated walking and cycling routes.

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READ MORE: Goldman Sachs CEO calls work from home an 'aberration'

But Nationwide said it no longer requires the additional capacity offered through the leasing of three offices in Swindon.

Not all companies are jumping on the flexible working bandwagon, though. The boss of Goldman Sachs (GS) has said working from home is an "aberration" that will be reversed as soon as staff can get back to the office.

David Solomon said that remote working was "not the new normal" for investment banks.

Just last week, it was reported that Goldman is facing questions over staff working conditions after a leaked internal report showed junior staff complaining of "inhumane" 100-hour work weeks which one respondent said was "arguably worse" than foster care.

A Goldman presentation titled "Working Conditions Survey" was posted on Twitter, detailing dissatisfaction among junior staff over long hours and unrealistic demands.

The presentation detailed complaints from analysts of worsening mental and physical health, 100-hour work weeks, "workplace abuse" from management, and poorer relationships with friends and family.

Meanwhile, the FT recently reported that Citigroup (C) CEO Jane Fraser said the blurring of lines between work and home as a result of flexible working is “simply not sustainable”.

She said the office was important because it facilitated "collaboration, camaraderie, and the dissemination of skills and institutional knowledge."

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