ASX 200 company pays staff $1,500 to work from home

Private health insurer NIB Holdings is using office rental savings to compensate employees who work from home.

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A young man working from home sits at his home office desk holding a cup of tea and looking out the window

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The NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF) share price is in the green this morning.

The private health insurer has revealed it will pay employees $1,200 annually plus a one-off $300 to work from home.

According to NIB chief people officer Martin Adlington, the payments will compensate staff for “renting” their homes for work.

“While nobody celebrates the misery and disruption caused by COVID-19, it has presented a unique opportunity to us to re-think old work practices and design principles and ultimately redefine work at NIB,” Adlington said.

“We moved quickly to transition our people to remote working at the start of the pandemic, but since then we’ve spent months planning and consulting with our people to better understand how they like to work and how we can best support them.”

The private health insurer is encouraging employees to telecommute for a minimum of 4 days each week, and only come into the office for meetings and social events.

The NIB share price is up 0.14% to $7.03 in early trading on Friday and up 16.39% year to date.

Paying staff to telecommute attracts superior talent

Many employers have already adopted working from home as a permanent post-pandemic practice, which saves them office maintenance costs. 

But this is understood to be the first time an Australian company has redirected some of those savings to staff, who bear the expenses of conducting business at home.

The scheme, called Life at NIB, came about after 79% of the insurer’s 1,200-strong workforce indicated they did their best work from home.

“Our $1,200 annual allowance will help cover some of the costs of working in a remote environment while new employees will also receive a one-off reimbursement of $300 to help them set up their workstation at home, in addition to the tech kit we supply them,” Adlington said.

“Each employee can come to an agreement with their leader on what works best for them in terms of hours and location.”

Adlington added that the flexible working policy has already helped NIB attract new talent.

“Our teams are starting to be made up of a mix of people from all different locations which is great for encouraging diversity of thought.”

OHS at home

NIB is also putting in programs to assist employees’ mental and physical health while working from home.

“In the past 12 months, we’ve learnt that just having mental health resources available is not enough and creating proactive internal marketing campaigns that leverage a range of communications channels and formats, has the most impact,” Adlington said. 

“It’s why we’ve focused on delivering experiences that foster connections and camaraderie across NIB like physical challenges, panel discussions and buddy programs.”

Establishing a “safe space” for staff to start conversations is a vital part of the telecommute policy, too.

“We are very conscious of employees continuing to experience those informal workplace connections with their colleagues and we’re constantly looking for new ways to support this, particularly during lockdown.”

NIB share price snapshot

The NIB share price has gained 62.65% over the past 12 months. This far outpaces the S&P/ASX 200 index (ASX: XJO), which is up 19.25%.

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Motley Fool contributor Tony Yoo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended NIB Holdings Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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