Free parking, managers' bonuses help Aviva attract back employees

Free parking, managers' bonuses help Aviva attract back employees

Free parking and changes to managers' bonuses have helped Britain's biggest insurance company, Aviva, attract staff back to their desks for most of the week.

The new-old world of work, where companies, particularly those in finance and technology, encourage staff to spend more days in the office as they try to rebalance the working-from-home trend.

In the past few weeks, Aviva has been one of a growing number of banks, insurers and fund managers trying to bring workers back for at least half, if not most, of the working week, after enforced work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the technology sector, companies like Google, Amazon and Meta have ordered workers back to their desks for most of the week, resulting in a significant drive to get employees back in the office.

The company allows its 16,000 UK staff to split their time equally between home and the office, but said that the number of people who came in every month this year was up by more than a third this year. The report said that there was a reduction in the number of days taken off because of mental health problems.

The move took place when Aviva's chief executive, Amanda Blanc, decided to include senior managers' ability to get their teams back into the office in their end-of-year performance assessment, on which bonuses would be based.

Aviva has also discontinued its parking fees in Norwich, Birmingham, Sheffield, and other UK sites with the exception of London to help staff with the rising cost of living and encourage their return to the office.

The city's changing work patterns mirror other cities' changing working patterns, he said. Lloyd's of London said its chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chair of Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market.

He said he wanted to see people working at Lloyd's building in the city at least three days a week - and not just Tuesday to Thursday - to avoid a situation where people were taking 'long weekends' every week, as he worried that Mondays and Fridays were not properly covered for clients.

Lloyd's closed its underwriting room last month to revamp it, upgrading it with better technology, seating and lighting, and reopening it next week. Carnegie-Brown wants representatives from all 85 insurers that are members of the market to be present on the main ground floor throughout the week.

The main floor should be much busier and buzzier, he said, but added: 'I believe we will return to five days of working in the office'.

M&G, a London-based fund manager who was spun off from the insurer Prudential four years ago, said it expects its senior staff to spend an average of three days a week in the office so they can be with their team and clients.

Lloyds Bank Group has been offering free hot rolls, fruit and drinks in some of its offices to attract staff back, and has asked them to come in at least two days a week.

The bank's chief executive, Charlie Nunn, told staff in July that collaboration is difficult if a team is below strength on certain days of the week or if some key people are only available at times when the majority are not.

In contrast, other firms like Admiral and NatWest Group do not require days in office. NatWest said its employees were spending a minimum of one or two days in the office.

Citigroup, the US bank, has been reportedly tracking the office visits of its 12,500 UK staff, most of them in Canary Wharf's Canary Wharf, where they are expected to come in at least three days a week. This could affect their salaries or lead to them being sacked, the report said.

But perhaps the strongest backlash against homeworking has come from the very tech companies that benefited from the work from home boom.

Last month, Amazon's chief executive, Andy Jassy, told US staff that 'it's probably not going to work out for them' unless they came in at least three days a week.