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HMSA president talks workplace changes in health care industry

In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo an ambulance sits outside the emergency room at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)
Caleb Jones/AP

What does “business as usual” look like after two years of COVID-19? For Hawaiʻi’s largest health care insurer, it means expanded remote work.

HMSA President Mark Mugiishi says the company is dramatically rethinking its workspaces, and cutting its office footprint in half.

"We're trying to be very strategic. In fact, I would say probably the mantra that we're using is that we're going to use the office as a tool and not as a destination," Mugiishi said.

"We're asking our managers and executives to bring people in when they have specific activities that relate to the four C's, which are collaboration, connection, creativity and culture. And if you're trying to do things that require that and are complex, you need to do those in person," he told HPR.

The company will end its lease on three floors of 1601 Kapiolani Blvd. It’s also in the process of terminating several other lease agreements.

Mugiishi says the reduced overhead for office space could lower health care costs for subscribers.

Last fall, HMSA reported it would trim its staff by close to 300 workers. It planned to outsource some of those jobs and invest in high-tech advances to become more efficient.

This interview aired on The Conversationon Aug. 23, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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