Nationwide said it plans to permanently transition to a hybrid operating model that comprises primarily working-from-office in four main corporate campuses and working-from-home in most other locations.
The company said it will exit most buildings outside of four main campuses by November 1, 2020 and move associates in these locations to permanent remote-working status.
“We’ve been investing in our technological capabilities for years, and those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98 percent work-from-home model,” said Nationwide CEO Kirt Walker. “Our associates and our technology team have proven to us that we can serve our members and partners with extraordinary care with a large portion of our team working from home.”
The move is one other employers may follow, according to Ellen Carney, a financial services technology analyst with Forrester Research. Carney believes work from home is more than a temporary adjustment for some employers. “This shift will stick, thanks to subsequent waves of the virus and if the inevitable recession is U —not V— shaped,” she wrote in a recent report. Employers, big and small, are questioning whether being in the real estate business makes sense, she added.
The four main Nationwide campus locations where buildings will be kept include central Ohio (including downtown Columbus and Grandview Yard); Des Moines, Iowa; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and San Antonio, Texas. According to the announcement, these locations were selected based on current large concentration of employees; flexibility to serve members across time zones; and ongoing access to talent and subject matter expertise.
“Our goal is to ensure that when a recovery comes, we’re prepared to win business with competitively priced solutions while enhancing our resiliency and operational efficiency,” said Walker. “We’re technology-enabled, people-connected and mission-driven. I remain extremely optimistic about our future.”
The location of the buildings where it is exiting and shifting all employees to permanent remote-working status include: Gainesville, Fla.; Harleysville, Penn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Wausau, Wis. and Richmond, Va.
Exceptions include Nationwide Pet’s business operations in Brea, Calif., Nationwide’s New York City office, where the company’s management liability and specialty business is based, as well as Nationwide’s annuity distribution facility in Louisville, Ky.
The Fortune 100 company said it may also have smaller offices in locations that are required by state plans or business need to have an office location to serve customers.
The company said that over the next several months, it will finalize details including technology and equipment needs, support mechanisms and telework agreements.
Nationwide added that it remains committed to its philanthropic efforts throughout the country.
Nationwide moved to a work-from-home posture in mid-March as the coronavirus spread. The company said it has been able to maintain “strong operational and customer service levels throughout that time.”
*This story ran previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.