Thursday 25 March 2021 6:00 am

Nationwide to let all 13,000 office staff work from home permanently

Nationwide will allow all 13,000 of its office staff to permanently work remotely when coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The building society said office staff can work from anywhere in the UK, as it “puts them in control of how they balance their work and home lives”.  

The move follows a survey of Nationwide employees, which found more than half (57%) wanted to work full time from home, compared with just six per cent who wanted to return to the office permanently. Around a third (36%) wanted a blend of home and office work.

As a consequence of the decision, Nationwide is leasing three offices in Swindon, as it expects to need less physical space.

It also intends to change its current offices, with fewer traditional meeting rooms and more collaboration spaces on the agenda.

The perk will not be extended to branch employees, though the building society said it was working with employees to understand what would help them better manage their working day around their home lives.

City workers want hybrid working

Nationwide chief executive Joe Garner 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 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. Our data suggests that working in a home environment encourages us to think more about the impact on others when making decisions.”

A report Nationwide produced with Ipsos Mori, which quizzed major city firms included American Express, KPMG and NatWest Group, found nine in 10 of those working from home want to continue to do so at least one day a week, with six in 10 saying it gave them a better working-life balance.

However, there remains a need for meeting physically. More than two in five (43%) of remote workers said they needed face-to-face time with colleagues to do their job effectively.

Nationwide reported a resilient first half of 2020. The lender reported a 17 per cent rise in pre-tax profit from £309m to £361m, despite a £139m provision for loans that may not be repaid due to the pandemic.