Product Family


Chief HR Officer, APAC & Europe

As we move to a “new normal” post-pandemic, the workplace – as well as the wider world – will look different. Today, many of our colleagues want to work in a more agile way, with a hybrid of remote working and office interaction. And it’s possible; we have the technology, the know-how and the experience to enable colleagues to work in different ways. Smart Working is, we believe, the right way for our company to attract and retain the best talent as well as cater to our clients' changing needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures put in place by societies, governments and companies to try to stop its spread, accelerated many trends already underway in the world of work. The way people expect and wish to work has been changing for some time. But while many of our colleagues had already adopted flexible working practices, the COVID-19 pandemic meant those who hadn’t done so before, started to work remotely. Despite some challenges at the onset, the way that colleagues adapted to working remotely has been hugely encouraging – and admirable. We, like many other major corporations, have proved that is possible for teams to work remotely while remaining highly productive, cohesive and engaged.

Technology is a major enabler of this change and equipped colleagues to work remotely and underlined the resilience of our organisation, allowing us to continue to serve our clients and stakeholders in the most unprecedented and challenging of circumstances.

The COVID-19 crisis, and the need for people to remain at home or away from office spaces, highlight the importance of having places in which we can meet and work together. Humans are social beings and for many of us the office holds an important place in our psyche.

As we look to the future, it’s about finding a balance.

AXA recently announced that all its main entities – those employing more than 70% of AXA employees – are adopting a Smart Working approach this year. By 2023 this will be extended to all entities.

We want to implement a hybrid way of working; one that combines remote work and an office presence. Smart Working will not preclude eligible colleagues from working in an office fulltime should they wish or need to. But we recognise that many employees have expressed a desire to work more flexibly going forward, and to choose what their workday looks like to find a balance that works for them. Indeed, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 38% of AXA colleagues regularly worked remotely. And some 90% of colleagues have said they wish to increase the amount they work remotely in future.

The new space

Our ways of working are adapting to make sure that colleagues can achieve the work/life balance that suits them and means that they can work in the most effective and productive way. This means adapting spaces too. We have started to reorganise our office spaces to ensure that when people return, in a phased fashion, we can maintain social distancing while also engendering collaboration and team building.

In our business underwriters will always want to have face-to-face meetings with clients and brokers, that is an important part of the specialist business we underwrite; where relationships are central to becoming a true partner to our clients. In fact, across all our operations, colleagues in claims teams, IT teams, innovation specialists and so on, all benefit from collaboration – both on a personal and a business level.

The opportunity comes from finding the right balance between providing an environment to foster relationships, team building and the creativity that can come from working closely together, while also enabling colleagues to work remotely and more flexibly.

Our Smart Working program will include change management and training measures to help teams and their managers adapt to these new ways of working. We will pay particular attention to the autonomy of teams and the cohesion and wellbeing of colleagues.

I&D and wellbeing

A key objective of our Smart Working approach is to foster flexibility, inclusion, and wellbeing. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has presented each of us with different challenges; many have had to manage caring for family and educating children at home. We believe Smart Working will have a positive impact on work life balance and the wellbeing of our colleagues no matter where they work.

By extending our Smart Working strategy across our organisation, we believe we can adapt to the post-COVID-19 era and provide our colleagues with a balanced framework. Smart Working combines the flexibility of remote working with the anchor of an office as a place to interact socially and to build community. I am personally looking forward to this new phase.

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