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Nationwide and Santander shut offices in shift to flexible working

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  • 25/03/2021
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Nationwide and Santander shut offices in shift to flexible working
Nationwide will be allowing its 13,000 office-based employees to choose where they work as the mutual adopts flexible working patterns.

 

It will close three of its Swindon offices, leaving 3,000 staff to either relocate to its nearby headquarters, work from home or do both. 

A survey conducted with Ipsos Mori found 57 per cent of people wanted to work from home full-time after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. A further 36 per cent wanted a mixture of home and office-based working. 

Joe Garner, chief executive of Nationwide Building Society, said: “The last year has taught many of us that how we do our jobs is much more important than where we do them from. We have listened and learned, and we are now deciding to move forward, not back.  

“We are putting our employees in control of where they work from, inviting them to locate for their day depending on what they need to achieve.”  

He added: “Our data suggests that working in a home environment encourages us to think more about the impact on others when making decisions.  

“We are also continuing to invest in some of our office space to foster social contact, collaboration and creativity.” 

 

Santander shrinks branch network and office space

Santander is set to close 111 branches by the end of August and consolidate its offices into six sites with its headquarters in Milton Keynes. 

The bank said its branch closures were a response to the shift to online banking. In-branch transactions already fell by a third in the two years before the pandemic but with restrictions in place last year, usage dropped by 50 per cent.  

At the same time, the use of online and mobile transactions has risen by a fifth each year. Now, almost two thirds of its transactions are conducted digitally. 

The majority of the branches which are closing are less than three miles from another Santander branch and the bank will retain 452 sites. Account holders can use the Post Office for banking purposes. 

Santander will also hold virtual tutorials demonstrating alternative banking methods. 

Adam Bishop, head of branches, said: “Branch usage by customers has fallen considerably over recent years so we have made the difficult decision to consolidate our presence in areas where we have multiple branches relatively close together.  

“We are also working alongside our unions to support colleagues through these changes and to find alternative roles for those impacted wherever possible.” 

 

Office changes 

Santander will close its Bootle, Newcastle, London Portman House and Manchester Deansgate offices by the end of the year. 

The 5,000 staff working at the closed or consolidated offices will be given the option to work from home or work flexibly.  

All its office staff will work from home until 21 June at the earliest before deciding how to work going forward.

The bank said its office occupancy had already dropped by 60 per cent before the pandemic and feedback from staff indicated a desire for more home working. 

Santander said the changes would have no impact on how it served its customers.  

Nathan Bostock, Santander UK CEO, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the existing trend towards greater flexible working, and our colleagues have told us this has brought significant benefits for many of them.  

“At the same time, physical spaces remain very important and our sites around the UK will provide our colleagues with first-class facilities fit for the future.” 

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