Nationwide CIO preps for return to the office, post-pandemic

CIOs such as Jim Fowler are preparing for employees to return to the office post-COVID-19, a process that will result in more digital services for employees and customers alike.

Nationwide CIO preps for return to the office, post-pandemic

More than a month after the coronavirus crisis forced employees worldwide to work from home, many U.S. companies are now planning the next move: what work life will be like when they return to the office.

This scenario is something for which Nationwide CIO Jim Fowler is actively planning. Since Nationwide ordered its 28,000 employees to work from home in March, Fowler has digitized much of the organization’s software development and other activities. Now he’s envisioning what the office will look like when staff are asked to return to work, ideally sometime this year. Fowler expects the “usage of digital tools is going to skyrocket” as employees who have become accustomed to the new way of working expect the same environment when they return to the office. He isn’t alone in that sentiment.

Businesses will operate more digitally than before COVID-19 struck, with many operating like lean startups to survive in the post-pandemic environment, says Ari Libarikian, senior partner at McKinsey and global leader of its Leap business-building practice. “There is a belief that we are entering a new world that will forever be different,” Libarikian says.

Prepping for the return-to-office scenario

Post-pandemic scenario planning is daunting because it’s unprecedented and isn’t covered in crisis management playbooks. Yet it is increasingly part of the CIO’s return-to-the-office calculus as states lift stay-at-home orders.

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