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Published: 27 May 2021

QBE European Operations – Finalist 2021, Best Covid-19 Response

QBE European Operations, one of the world’s largest general insurance and reinsurance​​ companies, placed employee wellbeing and safety at the very top of their priority list when the world went into lockdown. At the heart of their efforts was employee communications, dedicated to keeping staff connected and informed during the pandemic.

Early on, every employee was given a £500 budget to buy office equipment for their home and a £50 a month allowance to reflect the increased cost of working from home. Resources and webinars around financial wellbeing were provided, including one-to-one wellbeing coaching and classes on budgeting and financial wellness.

QBE’s flexible working policy allowed parents to temporarily reduce their hours and still receive full pay and a virtual wellbeing programme was set-up to encourage all employees to put their wellbeing ahead of anything else. There was a huge range of resource and support available including workouts, a helpline for mental health and free access to the Headspace App to support meditation and sleep. All employees had access to free 24-hour confidential telephone counselling.

Daily email communication was backed up by video meetings, with senior managers empowered to use their judgement to help alleviate any pressure parents were under juggling home schooling and other caring responsibilities.

When lockdown three began, parents were provided with two weeks paid leave in recognition that they were struggling to balance work with additional childcare responsibilities with feedback showing this was greatly appreciated by staff.

A recent employee survey shows that 89% of employees agreed that their work schedule was flexible enough to allow them to meet their family and personal responsibilities.