Crawford and Company is an independent provider of claims management and outsourcing solutions with offices around the world. In the UK, it employs 1,450 people in claims handling roles.
Pre-pandemic, around 70% of its workforce was office-based with the remainder working remotely. “The world has changed post-pandemic,” says Lisa Bartlett, president, UK and Ireland. “Some positives have come out of it, especially around new ways of working, and it would be wrong not to capitalise on these.”
To do this, it launched its Smarter Working programme in July 2021, giving employees greater flexibility around the way they work. “Employees can choose what works best for them,” says Bartlett. “They discuss their requirements with their manager and, providing they have the right workspace and equipment, they can work where and when they like.”
Although it’s still early days, employees have adopted a variety of working patterns. While there are plenty at the extremes – basing themselves entirely at home or at the office – those that have adopted a hybrid approach are tending to come into the office one day a week. Bartlett expects this will change: “Once we get through the winter, I think employees will feel more confident about getting out again. We’re also investing in our offices to make them more inviting,” she says.
Crawford and Company has also been careful to ensure that flexibility doesn’t lead to employees feeling they need to work longer hours or when they’re ill. “We put a clear set of parameters in place, including an Employee Guide, to ensure that operational, client and regulatory requirements are met. This also underlines the fact that we did this because we want our employees to enjoy a greater work-life balance,” she adds. “Work should be output focused rather than facetime focused.”
Feedback from employees has been positive, with many stating that the additional flexibility has allowed them to find a better work-life balance. “We’re really pleased with how it’s going but we’ll keep monitoring it to ensure that everyone benefits from the additional flexibility,” Bartlett adds.