Coronavirus best practice: Aviva

Debbie Bullock from insurance firm Aviva, one of our Top Employer Award winners, tells how the company is adapting to life after lockdown.

Desk with laptop and coffee depicting remote working


Debbie Bullock, wellbeing leader at Aviva, talks to about how it has adapted to life in lockdown and coronavirus best practice for organisations.

Did it help in adapting to the lockdown that Aviva already had embedded flexible working?

Debbie Bullock: Aviva introduced flexible working patterns early on, so people could make necessary arrangements to look after their family while working from home, including out of hours working if more suitable.

What happens if employees cannot work due to childcare issues?

DB: We have committed to continue paying our people in full if they are not able to work for circumstances relating to Covid-19. This could be where an employee agrees with their manager that they cannot work due to child or other family care commitments.

How important is wellbeing support in this crisis?

DB: The wellbeing of our people is incredibly important – more now than ever before. The demands on us all have never been higher and our usual ways of living and working have had to change completely. Both the physical and mental challenges are immense. Looking after ourselves and each other is the only way we’re going to be able to keep ourselves safe and take care of our customers.

What has the role of leaders been?

DB: Our leaders are staying in regular contact with their teams virtually throughout the working week, for example, through virtual coffee mornings. We’re particularly encouraging individual workers who live alone join our online Health and Wellbeing forums.

How are you supporting working from home?

DB: We’ve issued all colleagues with working-from-home guides which include information on supporting wellbeing. We have also used our Aviva Yammer channel to share home-schooling resources for parents. We’ve found that people are coming together to support each other during this difficult time with helpful links, tips and resources.

Our wider wellbeing resources – such as apps to support mental health – are available to those working from home. We’re also coming up with innovative ways to engage in physical activity at home for all our people. We have several Aviva Health Heroes, including trained fitness instructors, who have set-up virtual classes through Zoom, which include yoga, stretch-and-tone alongside salsa and ballroom dancing.

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