After joining U.K. insurance group Aviva Plc last year, Danny Harmer spent just a few weeks with her new team before the first Covid-19 lockdown. If she has her way, that will be the most time the group ever spends together. Harmer, Aviva’s personnel chief, is figuring out the post-Covid working environment for the company’s 16,000 British employees, spread among 14 offices from London to the Scottish city of Perth. And what she’s found is that while many miss the collaboration that can happen in the office, they also like the freedom of working remotely. “There’s a change in mindset brought on by the pandemic,” she says. “People have experienced it and go, ‘Yes, I want some of this.’”
A recent Aviva survey found that 95% of its staff would choose either full-time remote work or a flexible home-office split once lockdowns end. The company is now attempting to institute what Harmer calls a “smart” working policy, closing some offices and allowing everyone the option of logging in from home, with access to redesigned company facilities when they feel the need.