Results of a industry-wide survey on flexible working policies demonstrate a clear preference for choice among staff

The results are in – and the anecdotal popularity of flexible working in the industry seems here to stay as firms from across the insurance industry reported a preference for hybrid working policies and their impacts on talent concerns.  

Although the past years have seen a significant shift towards formalising hybrid and flexible working policies within both the insurance sector and wider corporate culture, insurance organisations have been left to navigate these changes without sector-specific evidence. 

With this in mind, Insurance Times collaborated with recruitment organisation Vermelo RPO to survey firms across the sector to investigate the impacts of hybrid and flexible working policies on talent acquisition and retention.

The results of that survey, which polled HR and operations managers and members of c-suites from 116 industry firms between 1 and 31 May 2024, have been collated in the UK Insurance Working Policy Report, released today (12 June 2024). 

Results showed that insurance firms generally had policies around both how many days staff had to attend the office and which days were required, with a full third (33%) of surveyed companies in the insurance sector not mandating any days in the office.

However, nearly half (47%) of companies also mandated either two (25%) or three (22%) in the office for their staff. Only 8% of firms mandated either four (4%) or five (4%) days in the office, with 12% mandating just one. 

And in terms of which days were mandated for staff to attend the office, Thursday was the most popular with 23% of firms stating that they required staff to come in that day. 

Tuesday and Wednesday were both tied in second place with 18% each, while Monday and Friday were predictably the least common, with 10% and 9% respectively. 

However, just over two thirds (64%) of respondents noted that there was flexibility around which days staff were required to commute into the office.

Talent impact

One of the most important considerations for the industry around hybrid and flexible working – alongside its impact on service levels – is its impact on the hiring and retention of talent. 

The UK Insurance Working Policy Report showed that there was a significant drop in application numbers for new roles when four or five days a week were mandated in the office, with job offer acceptances falling when organisations required between three and five days in the office with fixed hours working. 

The biggest increase to application numbers for a role was seen when a role description specified that no days were expected in the office, with 53% of respondents noting that this increased application numbers. 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents also noted that job offer acceptances were also decreased by job descriptions that mandated three days in the office. 

Numbers of applications are not the be-all and end-all when hiring however. The quality of a hire is perhaps more important, alongside promoting their productivity. 

Organisations responding to the survey noted that the quality of a hire was affected by the amount of time they were expected to spend in the office, with most companies seeing an increase in this quality when they mandated no days or one day in the office. 

Exactly 60% of those surveyed noted that mandating four or five days in the office had no effect on the quality of hires, but nearly half (47%) said that no days increased the quality of a hire, while over half (57%) said that one expected day in the office did the same. 

Productivity was also increased by either one or no days expected in the office according to survey respondents, negating a common assumption that employees working from home are less productive. 

When asked, 55% of respondents said that workers who were not expected to be in the office at all had increased productivity, while 64% said that one mandated day increased productivity. 

However, the amount of days that staff were expected to be in the office did not seem to have a negative impact on productivity, according to the survey.

Three days of expected office working had the largest decrease on productivity, with 24% of respondents selecting this option. However, 24% of respondents also said that this working pattern increased productivity, evidencing a split opinion in the sector.


  • To read the full UK Insurance Working Policy Report, click here