As the working world gradually migrates back to offices after more than two months of working from home during the pandemic, Insurance Times asks the industry how this might change this 

Matt Jarvis, managing director of personal injury, Slater and Gordon

It’s far from certain the insurance world will return to offices – especially in the numbers before coronavirus.

In the short-term, safety concerns, a desire to reassure colleagues and maintain social distancing, will mean a gradual or phased return to the ‘new normal’.

That said, there will still be a need for spaces where colleagues, customers and partners can come together and collaborate. But this crisis has shown that technology solutions mean a lot of that doesn’t need to happen face to face.

Matt Jarvis_Slater and Gordon

At Slater and Gordon, we were fortunate enough to have our Work Anywhere platform in place to allow us to switch to remote working almost overnight. We moved from our UK regional office and call centre structure to 2,000 micro-offices, each equipped with in-bound and outbound telephony, secure video conferencing, collaboration, core systems. This has unlocked significant efficiencies, resulted in no disruption in services for customers and provided flexibility for colleagues – a win-win-win.

What the ‘new normal’ will look like isn’t yet clear. But it is certain that technology-powered digital workspace will enable new ways of working that will benefit customers and colleagues alike.

Gary Humphreys, group underwriting director, Markerstudy

Although forced upon us, this situation has beneficially accelerated a new reality, and broken down any perceived detriment for WFH [work from home] in one fell swoop.

When debating the pros and cons, our colleagues from across the business report a greatly improved work/life balance; no commute means extra hours in the day for family, exercise, relaxation; significant saving on fuel/transport; and less environmental impact. However, many cite ‘groundhog day’ and miss the social interaction with their colleagues - regardless of the extensive use of video conferencing, it’s no replacement for human contact.

Gary Humphreys_Markerstudy

Quite obviously, there’s a case for ongoing flexibility which is rewarding for both employer and employee - and we’re keen to offer this choice. I think in reality, it will be a hybrid approach to work from home/office-based contact, to maintain positive relationships with colleagues, and support training and development. Our colleagues have shown us that the days of counting bums on seats are well and truly over.

Neil Gibson, chief operating officer, Sedgwick International UK

Sedgwick are looking at this from two perspectives; our colleagues and our customers. We’ve proved that our working from home model has been very successful and even when offices start to open, we expect the flexibility of home working to benefit much of our workforce. As online meeting tools are embraced, it may be the case that offices will become spaces for collaboration rather than normal, day to day work. Activities such as induction and training, developing new ideas and creative thinking will then become the reasons to be there.

Neil Gibson_Sedgwick Internatioanl UK

Home working longer term won’t suit everyone or every role, so we’ll support office workers by staggering our start and finish times to help colleagues avoid peak times on public transport. We’re also expecting more colleagues to cycle to work so we’re reviewing our shower and cycle storage facilities.

From a customer perspective, the ongoing Covid-19 threat will drive some changes to the way customers want their claims to be handled. Like other services, we believe many will prefer a remote visit rather than a face-to-face one to minimise the risk of infection. This will be the case particularly for those with health concerns. We expect a significant number of remote visits to be maintained as customers enjoy the flexibility and speed associated with this model.

Simon Mabb, managing director, Romero Insurance Brokers 

It will be important to manage the blend of home working and getting people back into the office to both keep staff safe, and keep businesses running as smoothly as they can. It seems nonsensical to have staff travelling several hours to do the same job they could do in their back bedroom. But it’s equally important to make sure teams still feel connected to each other, and the business.


Home working has been invaluable to keep the economy going over the past few weeks and months, and it’ll inevitably be important going into the future, but so will trying to bring teams back to some form of normality.

So from my perspective, I see a mix of office and home working going forward, to give teams the best of both worlds. The independence to manage their time and work in a way that’s suitable for them. Whilst balancing this with time in the office to facilitate good communications between teams, and proper integration into business culture, philosophy and goals.