Future Of Work Series: Featuring Henry Newby

Future of Work Series Mar 01, 2021

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you”. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Full disclosure… I literally stumbled into insurance (Sssshhh!) almost twenty-five years ago. Having worked for two of the world’s largest insurance companies, Aon and then AXA, I joined Superscript a little over two years ago.

Can you tell us about Superscript?

Superscript is a business insurance challenger, with an ambition to be the global leader of small business insurance. Originally founded as Digital Risks in 2015 by Cameron Shearer, CEO, and Ben Rose, Chief Underwriting Officer, we provide flexible subscription-based business insurance designed to meet the fast-changing needs of over 1,000 different business types.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started with Superscript?

One of the ways in which we’ve kept the team together (and helped relieve some of the monotony of being stuck at home) is by running a series of quarantine challenges. We’ve done lip sync challenges; dug out old baby photos; and recreated famous works of art and movie scenes, amongst a host of other things!

I even managed to rope my eldest son into proceedings - sorry, Banksy!

Where is the Superscript team based?

In the normal course of things, we’re based at Fora Borough, a coworking space near London Bridge.

What do you foresee the trends of 2021 being in terms of remote culture and engagement?

In my view, this trend is only going to continue. It’s already clear that much of the world has decided that it’s not going back to the “old” ways of working. Whether that means a hybrid model or fully remote working varies from business to business. Video calls work as well as in-person meetings in many situations, but I understand teams who rely more on creative brainstorming type sessions have found a fully remote set up more challenging.

In my personal experience, when you’re not doing a two-hour-plus daily commute — as I haven’t for pretty much a year now — you can’t help but ask yourself, “Was that really the best use of my time?”

How have you + Superscript as a whole adapted and will you continue this into 2021 and beyond?

On the whole, I think we’ve adapted really well. As a tech-led business, it wasn’t much more complicated than gathering up our laptops and heading home! 2020 and 2021 were set to be growth years for us and fortunately we’ve managed  to stick with this, doubling in size since early 2020, so we’ve become pretty adept at onboarding people remotely.

That said, we’re also very mindful of the fact that there are some things that you just can’t recreate when you’re all working remotely, so I know I’m not alone when I say I can’t wait to get back into the office to spend some time with my colleagues. It’s the impromptu conversations that I really miss — whether work-related or otherwise.

However, having demonstrated that we can work well remotely, we’re certainly not going to return to the office five days a week. The majority of us are going to end up somewhere in the middle, I think.

What top 3 businesses do you think have pivoted effectively during this time? Optional -- why?

Not a pivot per se, but BrewDog transforming its distillery in a bid to help with the shortage of hand sanitisers; concerts on Fortnite (or so my youngest son reliably informs me); and my village pub offering a takeaway service all spring to mind!

Your #1 tip of advice for up and coming professionals?

Be generous with your time in the support of others. You’ll get it back in spades!