NATIONWIDE remains “very committed” to the Bournemouth area, where it employs 1,200 people, its human resources boss has said.

The building society employs 930 people at its administration centre, Portman House, on Bournemouth’s Richmond Hill.

It also has a particularly high membership in the area, partly because of its past takeover of Portman Building Society.

Nationwide Bournemouth staff will still spend in town says chief executive

Jane Hanson, its head of people, said: “We have an important Nationwide membership and we continue to have a sizeable number of colleagues there so we’re very committed to the Bournemouth area,”

The society – which recently revealed that pre-tax profits doubled in the past financial year – has told 13,000 staff that they will be able to work wherever they like in future.

Nationwide to let staff work from anywhere

But chief executive Joe Garner has told the Daily Echo that staff will still shop and eat in Bournemouth town centre.

Ms Hanson said: “We’ve got around 18,000 colleagues overall and around 13,000 have been working from home through the pandemic.

“So you can broadly assume for that 13,000 there’s a very flexible approach in terms of where they can work from, whether they can work remotely, where they need to work to be most productive for their day.

“And then we’ve continued to have the remaining number of our colleagues who are in branches or who come into offices for other reasons and that’s really a important contribution and role that they play.”

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She said some of the 13,000 covered by the “work anywhere” policy had indicated they wanted to come into offices

“So the real point is about being flexible for people. How that then impacts in town centres and towns and so on, I think it varies so much.

“People will still be going into towns, it’s just it might be a different town to where they were going before. Patterns will shift, inevitably, but I don’t think that’s a case necessarily of people just not wanting to go into towns any more.

“We still have our Bournemouth site and I’m sure there will be some colleagues who will continue to want to go into the office, it might be for fewer days a week but they will want to go into the office and we’ll still have our branches in Bournemouth as well.”

The building society pledged no one would leave the business through compulsory redundancy in 2020. It has since shed some staff but has not said how many.

“We’ve made some changes in headcount and jobs every year as any organisation does and everything will continue to be in that context,” said Ms Hanson.

The society has extended its “branch promise” until January 2023. The

The policy, which was originally in place until May 2021, commits the society to keeping at least one branch open in the towns and cities where it has a presence.

Some branch staff have been “re-skilling and adapting” to take on other duties, including email and contact centre support, Ms Hanson said.

“We want to use the time to explore those options of what could be done differently to continue to provide a great service to our members but maybe through different channels in the future that values some of the strengths that we have,” she added.