Rabo@Anywhere: the new way of working after corona

Every day in a traffic jam, running from one meeting to another and little time for yourself. Until suddenly everything had to be done from home. It took us a while to figure out the smartest way to work from home. But once we got used to it, it turned out to have many advantages. Kim Teunis, Program Director for the New Way of Working After Corona, together with her team, incorporated those advantages into the new hybrid working method: Rabo@Anywhere.

“When the corona crisis broke out, I joined the crisis team. We have more crisis teams, but they usually focus on technology: an app failure or a system going down. This crisis was different. It’s a people crisis, it’s about employees and their health.”

Opportunities for the future

“In addition to dealing with the crisis on a day-to-day basis, we saw opportunities for the future. Was the way we worked before corona really that normal? Every day in traffic jams, every day from 9 to 5, getting home too late to have a decent dinner with your children. Things that we thought you couldn’t do at home, such as stand-ups or team building, turned out to be possible from home. We had to. We then thought: how great would it be to hold on to this?”

Kim Teunis

“If you want to change something, you have to think carefully about why you want to change it. You have to have a good story. Working in a hybrid way fits in well with the bank’s business strategy. We aim to serve our customers digitally as much as possible, so it’s logical if we work digitally as well. Conducting a mortgage interview online while sitting in the office yourself is kind of strange. Moreover, hybrid working is a great way to contribute to our mission of Growing a better world together and to sustainability. If people go to the office less, for example, you have fewer emissions and need less office space.”

The 3 principles of Rabo@Anyhwere

” We call the new way of working after corona ‘Rabo@Anywhere’. It is a form of hybrid working where we have defined 3 principles. Our starting point is Digital First: work digitally as much as possible. In addition, we say: make time to meet your team. For creativity, to learn from each other and for difficult conversations or going through customer cases. Finally, make time to meet people outside your own team, for example your network, or a community that you are a member of, such as Young Rabo. How and when you do this is something you decide together with your team.”

Rabo@Anywhere: 3 principes

To measure is to know

“To make sure this new approach was going to work, we set up a pilot. Will this work for all our target groups? Are our current facilities suitable? Are there differences between job types? We had made all kinds of hypotheses because we suspected that different target groups would have different needs. For example, ‘working from home is more difficult for women than for men’. We also looked at whether it matters how much customer contact you have, whether you do desk-based or operational work, whether you have many or few meetings, and so on.”

Kim Teunis and Robbert-Jan Wanna working with laptop

“What surprised us is that we saw very little difference between groups of people. The experiences of men and women were pretty similar. What we did see was that the type of work matters. There are teams that come to the office to work together, for example the KYC teams. They consult with each other a lot and need to be able to ask each other questions quickly.”

“Other colleagues prefer to do their focus work at home and come to the office for brainstorms or complicated discussions. Digital meetings are very efficient. You let each other talk and if you want to say something you raise your hand. At a brainstorm, you want to respond to each other directly, reacting to what someone has said before you. That’s when you want to be physically in one room.”

What that means for how you set up the office in the future, you can read in the article of Robbert-Jan Wanna, Lead Rabo@Anywhere Pilot. “We saw that there are roughly two reasons why people come to the office. And that therefore two different environments are needed in the office. Who uses which one varies by team and by field.”

“We learned from the pilot that if teams make their own decisions about what works for them, everyone feels more engaged. That requires professional relationships among ourselves and a form of facilitative leadership. I realize that it is not always easy. That’s why team Rabo@Anywhere helps with best practices, workshops and master classes for managers. Teams that have been working together for some time quickly get on well. Teams that are just starting out sometimes prefer to work in the office a bit more. Fortunately, there is the opportunity to do so within Rabo@Antwhere.”

Not going back to the way it was

How do you see the future? Kim: “How we look at work is really changing. It’s a journey we are experiencing together but we are not there yet. Within Rabo@Anywhere, we continue to learn and experiment: what works and what doesn’t.”

It's really an opportunity to do things differently.
Kim Teunis, Program Director New Way of Working After Corona

“I am convinced that we will not go back to how it was. As miserable as corona is, the fact that it lasted so long makes it easier to make a change. If it had been just a few months of working from home, we wouldn’t have gotten this far. Sometimes you need an external factor like that to get to the next level. It’s really an opportunity to do things differently.”

“How cool is it that it’s accepted that your kids are sometimes visible in video meetings? Or that you have a chat about the books you see in someone’s home office? It results in very different conversations, it feels much more personal. I do realize that it is not fun for everyone. It doesn’t work for everyone. In that case we’ll look for solutions together. We need each other to make this transformation a success.”

Kim Teunis presenting work