Bank of Ireland has launched a new hybrid working model offering colleagues greater flexibility as to how and where they work.
This working model will allow colleagues to work from a combination of home and central office locations, and will also offer colleagues access to a network of 11 remote working hubs, including 47/48 Main Street, Naas and on the Main Street in Newbridge, by the end of 2021 and in line with Government guidelines.
The bank said that remote working hubs provide a real alternative to central office locations, enhancing choice and work-life balance by reducing commuting time and costs.
By early 2020, approximately 3,500 employees at Bank of Ireland were working with some degree of flexibility. However, the development and implementation of a longer-term hybrid working model was accelerated as a result of COVID-19.
This model has also been developed in partnership with colleagues, with the Bank conducting two surveys in May and December 2020 to understand employee preference and trends. More than three quarters (77%) of colleagues expressed a preference to work from home between 25% and 75% of their working week.
Commenting at the launch, Matt Elliott, Chief People Officer said: "Rethinking the traditional office model has been a key part of our vision for the future of work at Bank of Ireland.
"Through that work, we’ve been changing what it is like to work at the Bank for a number of years.
"COVID-19 has accelerated that change. Things won’t go back to how they were at the start of 2020. We are going to see less of the old way of doing things, like travelling through rush hour to do something at the office that could easily have been done from home.
"Our network of remote working hubs will provide a real alternative to time and energy sapping commutes. The central office still has an important but different role to play – with large office buildings being redesigned to facilitate meetings and collaboration.
“The introduction of a hybrid model also increases accessibility to employees or applicants for roles based around the country and outside urban centres and to those who have caring responsibilities in the home. Ultimately, it offers much more flexibility and choice, blending home and office working with less commuting time and cost and a greater work-life balance.”
The new model will see office space being used primarily for meetings, collaboration, and building connections, while remote locations will be more suitable for work that can be progressed individually or that is more task based.
Bank of Ireland said it engaged with employees on the selection of new hub locations through a Ways of Working employee survey in June 2020, and locations were selected based on suitability of the property and the best geographical match to where employees stated they would like to work.
The bank said it has put in place a wide range of supports for colleagues working from home, which include providing equipment to meet safety and ergonomic requirements and ongoing investment in digital solutions to enable greater team collaboration.
Working from home options are open to employees throughout Ireland meaning increased access to applicants for certain roles from around the country and outside traditional central and operational centres.
Six agile hubs are now complete within ROI at locations in Mullingar, Dundalk, Gorey, Naas, Balbriggan and Northern Cross and will be ready for use by colleagues as soon as it is safe to do so.
A further five hubs are planned to be operational by the end of 2021 located in Swords, Blanchardstown, Santry, Newbridge, and Newland's Cross. The bank will also be investing in and expanding the existing hub at Naas.
Similar work is underway within the UK, where two agile hubs are under development in Bow Bells House, London and at Solihull.
A further two hubs are in planning at 1 Donegal Square South, Belfast and Temple Quay, Bristol.