Glass-walled office (Credit: Thinkstock)

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company says having employees work at home in response to the COVID-19 crisis is going so well that it plans to shut down at least five of its traditional brick-and-mortar offices by Nov. 1.

The employees and other workers associated with those offices will shift to working permanently at home, Nationwide announced Thursday.

(Related: Humana Trying to Help Brokers Cope With Social Distancing)

 

The Columbus, Ohio-based mutual insurer said that it will keep four main brick-and-mortar offices in place, and that it will also keep some other, smaller brick-and-mortar offices open.

One of the brick-and-mortar offices that that’s on track to survive is an annuity distribution facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

Nationwide now has 30,000 employees and other types of workers in the United States, according to the company’s website.

The company has about 30 office locations with a head count over 100.

The 4 Main Offices

Nationwide will be continue to operate large, traditional brick-and-mortar offices in these four places:

  • Central Ohio, including downtown Columbus and Grandview Yard
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • San Antonio, Texas

The Offices Slated to Close

Nationwide said it will close the brick-and-mortar offices in these locations:

  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Harleysville, Pennsylvania
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Richmond, Virginia

The Exceptions

Nationwide is planning to keep the annuity distribution center in Kentucky open because the center is on a list of exceptions from the work-from-home strategy shift.

Other exceptions include Nationwide Pet’s business operations in Brea, California, and a Nationwide office in New York City that handles management liability and specialty business.

“Exceptions may also include smaller offices and locations that are required by state plans or business need to have an office location to service members,” Nationwide said.

Shift Details

Nationwide said it’s still working on some of the work-from-home shift details, such as what kinds of equipment, support mechanisms and telework agreements the company needs to complete the shift.

The company tried to ease communities’ worries that closings of brick-and-mortar offices could affect support for the nonprofit organizations located near those offices.

“Nationwide remains committed to its philanthropic efforts throughout the country,” the company said in the work-from-home announcement.

The Thinking

Kirt Walker, Nationwide’s chief executive officer, said in a comment included in the announcement that Nationwide has been investing for years in the kinds of technology that can support having employees work at home.

“Those investments really paid off when we needed to transition quickly to a 98% work-from-home model,” Walker said. “Our associates and our technology team have proven to us that we can serve our members and partners with extraordinary care with a large portion of our team working from home.”

Nationwide chose which brick-and-mortar offices to keep in place based on factors such as current large concentrations of workers, maintaining the ability to serve enrollees in different time zones, and maintaining access to talent and expertise.

“Our goal is to ensure that when a recovery comes, we’re prepared to win business with competitively priced solutions while enhancing our resiliency and operational efficiency,” Walker said.

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