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BlueCross FlexWork: our hybrid approach to the post-pandemic workplace

Like many other companies, BlueCross moved quickly to transition employees to working from home in March 2020. Our company has always had telecommuters on staff, but when this transition was complete, nearly all of our employees – across all six of our offices – were working remotely. 

More than a year later, we’re still working “together, apart.” But as vaccines rolled out and COVID-19 cases continued to drop, our leadership team was planning for how to safely bring employees back to the office and move the company into the post-pandemic world.

We’ve learned a lot about the way we work since our initial transition. We’ve seen that our employees can do their jobs from home incredibly well, maintaining productivity and our high standard of service. In fact, our customer service scores (measured using the net promoter score methodology) increased by around seven points from March 2020 through May 2021.

We know some employees want to keep working from home. But we’ve also learned that many of our employees are eager to return to the office, even if it’s not five days a week.

So, we’re introducing a new hybrid model that will provide our company and employees with greater flexibility as we move beyond the pandemic. It’s called BlueCross FlexWork.

What is BlueCross FlexWork?

Over the last several months, we’ve gathered input from employees, managers and leadership across the company, and we’ve categorized our job roles as either FlexHome or FlexOffice. Through these categories, BlueCross FlexWork ties the nature of work to the location in which it’s performed. Here’s how the system will work:

FlexHome: Job roles in this category (such as customer service and claims processing positions) typically do not require an on-site presence to be performed well. Employees in this category will primarily work from home but may work from the office occasionally as needed or required.

FlexOffice: These job roles do require an on-site presence to be performed optimally, sometimes because of equipment needs or regulatory requirements — and sometimes because they are best executed with in-person collaboration. Employees in this category will work from the office as many as five days per week with the option to work from home up to two days per week, with manager approval.

Returning to on-site work

We still plan to follow a phased approach to our return to on-site work. Employees will begin returning to our offices on July 6, and we’ll implement BlueCross FlexWork at the same time. We are targeting the week of Sept. 6 as a completion date for the rollout of both plans.

When BlueCross FlexWork is fully in place, more than two-thirds of BlueCross employees will be considered FlexHome, or full-time remote workers. 

Why BlueCross FlexWork?

We believe this new model provides several advantages. First and foremost, whether they’re considered FlexHome or FlexOffice, our employees will enjoy more flexibility than they did before the pandemic .

It will help improve work-life balance for employees , allowing those who thrive in an office to do so – but with the option to work from home. It will also provide employees who enjoy working from home the ability to continue, while still being able to attend meetings in person and see their coworkers when needed.

Finally, it will make BlueCross more operationally resilient.  With our workforce intentionally distributed across a variety of locations, we’ll be able to continue serving our members without interruption in the event of a potential disruption, such as severe weather or a public emergency.

Just the beginning

BlueCross FlexWork is exciting, but it’s new. As we roll it out over the coming months, we’re committed to listening to our employees, and adapting our plans as necessary. Regardless of what the future holds, and no matter where our employees sit, one thing is true – we’ll continue to be right here for our members and our communities.

About Karen Ward, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer

A photo of the authorKaren provides strategic leadership for all functions of the human resources division, as well as the company’s properties and corporate services division.

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