Nationwide announced a plan to permanently transition to a hybrid operating model that includes primarily working-from-office in four main campuses and working-from-home in most other locations. (Photo: Shutterstock) Nationwide announced a plan to permanently transition to a hybrid operating model that includes working-from-office in four main offices and working-from-home in most other locations. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Nationwide 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, 2020.

The employees and other workers associated with those offices will shift to working permanently at home, Nationwide announced on April 29.

The Columbus, Ohio-based 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.

"As our organization continues to evolve to meet the needs of our members and distribution partners, we're proud that our associates are ready to embrace new ways of working," Mark Berven, president of Nationwide Property & Casualty, told PropertyCasualty360. "Expanding our alternative work environment allows us to continue to recruit and retain the best talent and pass along the operational benefits enabled by our technology investments to our customers."

The #WFH strategy

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 a release.

Kirt Walker, Nationwide's chief executive officer, said in a statement 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.

The four main offices

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

  • 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 cities:

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

The exceptions

According to the company's announcement, Nationwide is planning to keep its annuity distribution center in Kentucky open as well as the Nationwide Pet's business operations in Brea, California, and an 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 needs to have an office location to service members," Nationwide said.

For more coverage on working remotely, visit our Instant Insights page, "Work-from-home: Risks and opportunities."


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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.