Nationwide gives 13,000 staff complete control over where they work

Nationwide’s 13,000 office-based staff are to be allowed to work from home or anywhere they like in the UK.

Joe Garner, chief executive, said that “the working from home taboo has been removed” during the pandemic and his employees should be “in control of where they work from”.

Nationwide, founded 175 years ago, has about 18,000 staff. The Swindon-based mutual has 16 million members and is one of the three largest mortgage providers in the UK.

The change in policy means Nationwide will cut its office space. It will give up leases on three offices in Swindon but retain its headquarters at Nationwide House and its new technology hub in the city. It will also keep its large administration centres in Northampton, Bournemouth and London.

Nationwide said that it would create more collaboration spaces in its offices, cut the number of meeting rooms and invest in features such as quiet areas and walking and cycling routes.

Garner said Covid had “pushed businesses to do something that they were perhaps too reluctant to do before: to embrace different and more flexible ways of working, to trust their people and rely on them to make good, and maybe better, decisions independently”.

He added: “The last year has taught us that how we do our jobs is much more important than where we do them from. Our data suggests that working in a home environment encourages us to think more about the impact on others when making decisions.”

Only 6 per cent of Nationwide staff wanted to work in the office five days a week. Fifty seven per cent wanted to work from home full-time and 36 per cent wanted to mix office and home work.

More than 15 million Britons were forced to work from home last year through lockdowns and lesser social restrictions, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Rightmove, the property website, has told staff they can work three days in the office rather than five, and can be home-based the rest of the week. Those who want to go into the offices in London and Milton Keynes more than three days a week will be able to do so.