"I have a new respect for different ways of working" – insurance leader

"I have a new respect for different ways of working" – insurance leader | Insurance Business

"I have a new respect for different ways of working" – insurance leader

Every company has learned something about staying connected in tough times over the past few months, and while social distancing is no longer mandatory, remote working looks set to become a permanent feature of almost every workplace.

At the peak of lockdown, NZI had 100% of its New Zealand team working from home – though according to executive general manager Garry Taylor, the company’s well-established flexibility policies gave it a strong head-start on making this happen. He says staff have felt “incredibly connected” despite not being able to interact face to face, and for those who weren’t used to a home-office, NZI pulled out all the stops to ensure they had what they needed.

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“Throughout the period of everyone working from home, a lot of our people have found they can work from wherever and still feel incredibly connected to the business,” Taylor told Insurance Business.

“The learnings of working from home during lockdown will continue for us as we head back to business as usual.”

“Many of our people were already set up to work from home as part of our flexible working programme ‘MyFlex’, which was set up in 2017,” he explained.  “So, in many respects we were ahead of the game, which put us in a strong position as we went into the COVID-19 lockdown.”

“For those who were not tech-enabled to work from home, to continue to keep everyone safe – and to follow social distancing rules - we set up a ‘tech drive-thru’ where each employee would arrive by vehicle at a scheduled time, pop the boot and have the tech kit placed in the car,” Taylor added. “Deliveries were made for those who weren’t able to access the drive thru.”

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Taylor says that despite already having established practices, the company has evolved significantly and has learned a lot in the process. When it comes to business impact, he says a lot still remains to be seen – but he does not expect the next 12 months to be easy.

“Personally I came a long way, and I have a new respect for different ways of working and staying connected as a team,” Taylor said.

“As a company we already had a lot of good virtual meeting technology in place to support our flexible working practices, but I had certainly never used it to that scale.”

“We know we haven’t yet seen the full impact of COVID on small businesses and on our industry,” he concluded.

“We expect strong headwinds, particularly in the next six to 12 months and beyond. This will be a situation that we will continue to monitor and work closely with broker partners to ensure that we remain relevant during the challenges ahead.”