Find your balance
Some days you need a quiet space to focus. Some days you need to innovate, collaborate and build relationships that nurture your wellbeing. Some days you need a bit of both.
Smart working is about finding the right balance. We want to give you flexibility, a sense of belonging and every opportunity to do your best work. Ultimately, where, when and how you work will depend on:
- you and the type of work you do
- your office and home set-up
- how you can get the best results for our business and customers
Here, some of our colleagues share their experiences at Aviva.
Freddie, Claims Handler, UK
For Freddie, working in the office full time is essential for his wellbeing.
“During the pandemic, I couldn’t cope mentally with homeworking. I’d just moved from London to Norwich and hadn’t had chance to make many friends. My partner was working away from home, so I was alone for 90% of the day. I wasn’t used to that.
It got harder the longer it went on and working from home compounded my loneliness. My manager did everything she could to support me but, in the end, it affected my wellbeing badly. The whole isolation thing was horrible. I desperately needed to get back into an office and see people, have a conversation eye-to-eye and be able to really focus.
I was grateful to be one of the first back in the office. I'm such a chatterer and I just needed to see people, so I came back full time as soon as I could. I'm more 'in the zone' here and I can do a better job of helping customers - more quickly too because I can ask my team for help without having to wait for a reply.
Our office is extremely COVID-secure and I feel 100% happier being back. It will get even better as more people return. We have a little community that I like being part of.”
Irene, Compliance & Risk Champion, Aviva Ireland
Irene is more productive at work now she commutes less - and she's financially better off too.
"I thought I had balance before I started working from home. But my husband was commuting. I was commuting, up to 2 hours 20 minutes a day. We've got back that time. That's a huge amount of time we get to spend with our family. Every day we're there for them.
Financially we’re better off. We’ve saved on childcare and commuting costs. A year ago we spoke about putting a room in our backyard and financially it wasn't possible. Now we're building a room because we're not putting all this extra money into commuting.
I was sitting in traffic the other day and I thought: this is just non-value add. We’ve all proven that we can do our jobs just as effectively from home. So smart working has really transformed our lives but I will say, there’s a balance to be had. I work in a role where I don't have to be in the office every day. If you spoke to my manager, she would tell you I'm more productive at home. But I think it’s good to be in the office for collaboration and to work from home some days.
Three new people have joined our team in the last six months. Some are happy to work from home and some really miss the interaction and would prefer to be in the office. My manager is very open to both. She's open to meeting everybody's needs."
Louise, ESG Analyst, Aviva Investors
“As soon as I could go back to the office, I went back,” says Louise.
“Working from home in lockdown wasn’t easy for me. I lived in central London with my partner in a flat that didn’t have a lot of natural light. We shared a living room – he was always on the phone; I was always on the phone. It was just disruptive.
Ideally, I’d work one day a week from home, meeting-free, to do research and catch up on things. The rest of the week, I’d be in the office. It’s changed since the pandemic: there are fewer banks of desks, more big tables and collaboration areas. Quite a few teams have a day when most of them come in.
One of the main things for me is being able to separate work and personal life. Not having my laptop in the living room, reminding me that emails are waiting. My commute is quite short, but it helps clear my mind at the beginning and the end of the day.
Some people love working from home but I miss the interaction in the office. When I walk past people’s desks, I'll say hi, stop for a chat, talk about an email. You can’t do that on Teams.
My manager is really supportive of everyone’s needs. During the pandemic, I asked if I could go back to the office before it reopened and that was made available to me as soon as it was safe. Coming back improved my work-life balance and wellbeing.”
Paul, Lead Product Owner, Aviva UK
Now Paul can spend more time personal training and with his children, while working smarter and harder than ever.
"Smart working gave me the opportunity to take my personal training in a completely different direction. I could just put my classes out there. For my first outdoor class, only one person showed up who was actually my manager at Aviva. From there it just kind of grew.
Since COVID-19 we've proven we can get as much if not more done virtually. I’m working smarter and harder, and performing probably the strongest I have ever done. And yet, working flexibly, me taking 45 minutes to train is really, really possible. At a point during the day, at lunchtime or whenever - around where meetings land.
When I've got a big project on at work, I can be in front of my laptop when I need to be. I can dial into meetings with colleagues and we can work together in the office when that's the best way to get results.
Because I travel less for work – and this is a big thing – I don't have that parental guilt of not being there for my kids. As a parent you naturally feel a bit of guilt about not being there. Which then means when you are at home it puts more onus on you to be extra present. You don't always feel like you can do something in the evening or even on a weekend. You don't always feel like you want to because you've been away during the week. But when you take some travel out of the equation, that frees up your mind to do other things. It feels manageable, you know. It all slots into place."
Brad, Pension Proposition Manager
Brad “absolutely loves” our Bristol office. Here’s why…
“I thrive with social interaction and bouncing ideas off other people.
Being at home leaves me feeling isolated and cut off. I have space to work - a desk built in the cupboard under my stairs - but I find it difficult to focus. It feels like I’m living at work.
There's value in shared working spaces. All those little interactions when there are a group of us together in the same space make things a lot easier. I was stuck with Excel the other day and a colleague turned around and fixed my formula. Just like that.
Since lockdown, it’s been such a blessing for me to be able to come in and do my work in the office.”
We believe revolutionising how our people work will improve their work-home balance while:
- continuing to deliver the needs of our business and a first-class customer experience
- reducing our carbon footprint and minimising travel where technology can help us achieve a similar outcome
- giving colleagues access to the same opportunities, support and development
In the UK, here's how we define smart, home and office working.
What is smart working?
Smart working is a non-contractual and informal arrangement which means that you will be able to work from home for some or most of your contracted hours. This arrangement may vary from time to time and must always be agreed with your leader. You will still be required to come into the office some of the time, for example, for team meetings or training sessions or when work would benefit from face to face collaboration.
What is homeworking?
Homeworkers are permanently based from home but may include occasional visits to the office. Or, if you are in a field-based role, the base of work is your home but you regularly visit different locations.
Homeworking is a formal arrangement and a homeworking contract will be issued which confirms your place of work is your home. It is important to ensure you have the right working environment including privacy, security and an environment where you will not be disturbed or interrupted.
What is office working?
Office workers need to come into the office to work either because you are unable to work safely or effectively from home, or you are in a role which requires you to work from an office, or you have chosen to work from the office and your leader agrees. Your contract of employment will state your place of work as the office.