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The geographical shift in Insurance: why hot-desking is the next big thing

03 May 2018

There’s a new trend sweeping the Insurance market, and it’s all to do with the way you work.

The centre of Insurance in the UK is indisputably London. The oldest and largest market in the world, the sector employs roughly 48,000 people in the City alone, making up 21% of its economy and rewriting one tenth of global commercial Insurance within the Square Mile alone. It’s no surprise that all of the largest Insurance companies in the world have bases here, as well as countless others. 

However, Insurance brokers working in London might have noticed that many of these companies are also making the move to more rural locations. Though many bigger businesses have an office in the City, increasing numbers of them are deciding to open up satellite offices in the cities outside London, such as Kent, Surrey and Essex. With more initiatives like hot-desking and flexible working becoming ever more prevalent in the market, it’s clear that the Insurance landscape is changing.

What’s the reason behind this? 
A number of things. Though the cost of desk space has become a strategic issue, especially as real estate becomes ever more expensive to buy and lease in the middle of the city, advancements in technology are also paving the way for a revolution in flexible and home-working. With emails, conference calls and the ability to log in and work remotely from almost anywhere, two in three businesses expect the private sector to be working more flexibly by 2022 and this trend is being reflected in the number of satellite offices springing up. Though of course market broking is a profession that relies heavily on face-to-face meetings and contact, broking firms are realising that their employees don’t need access to the market at every hour.

Not only is this approach more efficient, it also pays off in terms of employee satisfaction and branding. With the war for talent in full swing within the competitive Insurance market- which is suffering from a severe skills shortage and difficulty in attracting new candidates- many companies are hoping that giving their employees the freedom to organise their lives around their workload, particularly in the case of working parents, will help to attract more workers. 

Alongside those that live outside London, who would perhaps be more reluctant to commute into the city every day, many Brokers are hoping that this scheme will also attract millennials. This new generation has proven themselves much more discerning than their older counterparts, with 17% of them evaluating career opportunities by the work-life balance they offer, and 75% of them wanting more flexible working opportunities in the workplace.

What’s springing up in place of the rigid, more traditional system, is an increased enthusiasm for hot-desking, saving space inside busy offices and thereby cutting costs when it comes to floor and desk space. With businesses waking up to the fact that 77% of employees are actually more productive thanks to increased flexibility, many are now re-evaluating the way they work in order to improve marginal gains, from cost to performance. 

This new enthusiasm for working outside the City also comes with its advantages for growing Insurance companies. Alongside an increased awareness of the importance of Customer Service in attracting and retaining clients, these new offices also help Brokers to connect with customers in key business areas. By making the effort to outsource employees, Insurance companies can benefit from an improved image, as they present a more accessible front, whilst maintaining a presence in the market.

Is it good for business?
Increasing numbers of employers seem to think so. An increased awareness of the benefits of home working, including productivity, efficiency and attracting talent, means that companies are starting to offer their employees- and, by extension, their clients- a better service. And with more employees than ever demanding flexible working as part of their employee benefits package, employers need to wake up to this new trend if they want to reap the benefits that a more relaxed approach to working offers.

Watch this space.

Work wherever suits you.
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Tagged In: General Insurance
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