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Suncorp NZ considers ditching individual workstations for team hubs

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Suncorp is considering repurposing office space in New Zealand occupied by individual workstations to create “hubs” for teams to come together and collaborate as the COVID pandemic forces organisations to think differently about work and where it is done.

The reassessment comes as Suncorp prepares to open its brand-new Brisbane headquarters in August, which has been purpose built to embrace flexible, collaborative and hybrid working.

"We’re looking at whether we might need fewer individual workstations,” Suncorp NZ EGM Technology and Transformation Jane Brewer tells insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“In a ‘post-COVID’ world of work, skilled workers are seeking purpose-driven organisations who articulate and deliver a compelling employee value proposition – one that provides a sense of engagement, inclusion and meaningful contribution.”

A recent Suncorp staff survey found more than 80% of employees want to work in a hybrid way, with some work performed in the office and some from home. The main reasons given were transport, hygiene and work-life balance.

"This offers the best of both worlds to our people – the ability to work flexibly, be it from home, after the school drop-off, in the evenings or in a job-share role, as well as from the office in industry-leading spaces,” Ms Brewer said.

Suncorp NZ has “gone all in” on a technology infrastructure-led approach, committing significant upfront investment, she says.

The insurer began a major digital overhaul in 2016 and this was beneficial at the height of the COVID pandemic, supporting employees to find “a balance between individual preferences, productivity rhythms, and the needs of our customers and the business”.

The insurer was able to seamlessly shift its employees to fully remote work, which it says has validated its investment and accelerated its appetite for hybrid working.

Suncorp NZ is now pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, keeping sensitive and business-critical data in the privacy of its own cloud infrastructure while still using public cloud to accelerate deployment. It plans to add Nutanix “Clusters” which will unify management across the multiple clouds, removing complexity.

“This has quite a few advantages,” Ms Brewer says. “It would enable us to seamlessly move applications between different clouds in order to optimise cost and performance, simplify IT management, and ease the future migration of workloads to the cloud.”

The approach has helped attract and retain high-performing employees, Suncorp says, and the flexibility of a hybrid workplace is now set to become a permanent feature of Suncorp NZ’s culture, helping it attract and retain key talent.