After two years of primarily working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Merchants Insurance Group officially welcomed back all colleagues to our corporate and regional offices on Monday, March 21, 2022.
The majority of Merchants colleagues are returning with a hybrid schedule: working from the office at least eight days per month based on respective departmental and personal schedules, with a minimum of two out of those eight days being “team days,” then working from home the remainder of each month. Individuals who wish to head into the office more frequently than the eight day minimum are welcome to. This new hybrid work benefit allows colleagues the flexibility to maintain work-life balance while also enjoying the upsides of our in-person environment. After ninety days of this Phase I of the hybrid work benefit, the cross functional Return to Office team, along with the Merchants leadership team, will evaluate what has been working well and what, if any, adjustments need to be made. The goal is to ensure that we can continue offering this hybrid work benefit to our colleagues without any disruption to our service or corporate results. Returning to a 5 day work week is not being considered.
“Our culture and company success is built on the strong connections we all share together.”
—Charles Makey, President
Merchants’ unique culture of collaboration and connection was the driving force in the decision to officially return to office. While Merchants has continued enhancing productivity during the primarily remote period, this return will provide various advantages that aren’t as easily duplicated when working remotely, such as: connecting with colleagues and strengthening colleague relationships, seamlessly collaborating on work projects with teammates, welcoming new colleagues and making their onboarding process easier, and further developing our careers and professional lives through working side by side.
“It was great seeing employees that I worked with in the past as well as new employees that I’ve met.”
“It’s great to finally meet everyone face-to-face.”
“I love seeing my friends and everyone’s smiles.”
— Trisha Cadden
“It’s great to see everyone again!”
“It’s great to see us all moving forward together!”
While colleagues were provided the option to return to the office on a voluntary basis, beginning in August 2021, we haven’t all been together since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we’ve welcomed 87 new members to the Merchants family! Our return has provided a wonderful opportunity for colleagues to reunite with familiar faces as well as officially meet those who joined our team while remote.
To reintroduce everyone and welcome new team members, colleagues wore name tags during this first week back and were encouraged to also write fun facts about themselves to spark conversation.
“I love being able to put names to faces. It’s nice to see everyone.”
“It’s so wonderful to be back and to see all my colleagues.”
All colleagues also received a “welcome back” gift of $10 for food. Colleagues at the corporate office had the credit added to their accounts for the Buffalo Strive Micro Market, the new self-checkout market in the corporate office cafeteria. Colleagues at regional offices received gift cards to nearby restaurants.
Check out some photos from our first week back:
Eastern Strategic Business Center:
Serving Hudson Valley & Long Island, NY
Midlantic Regional Office:
Serving New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania
Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
“It’s great to welcome Merchants colleagues back into the office on a hybrid basis,” said Rich Chichester, Regional Vice President. “One of the biggest things that sets us apart from competitors is our sense teamwork and comradery. In that spirit, it’s wonderful to see and hear people interacting in person again. Doing so will help us even better relate to one another which in turn helps us build stronger relationships with our agency customers.”
New England Regional Office:
Serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, & Vermont
Bedford, New Hampshire
Western Strategic Business Center:
Serving Michigan, Central & Western New York, Ohio, & Western Pennsylvania
Buffalo, New York