Making your job work for you: the benefits of hybrid working at Allstate NI

Published: November 18, 2022

Keith Lippert, Vice President and Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at Allstate, shares his thoughts on the benefits of hybrid working at Allstate NI.

Headshot of Keith Lippert.

By now, we're well acquainted with the reality of working remotely and have adjusted to this new way of working life. Not only have we grown accustomed to it, but most of us prefer to work from home, with a survey from Gartner showing that 62% of employees now expect their employers will allow them to continue working remotely as we move forward.

Although I found it a tricky transition in the beginning, I now appreciate having the freedom to choose how often I work remotely and how often I travel into the office. Here are just some of the ways I feel we can all benefit from Allstate NI's hybrid working policy:

Asynchronous Communication

At Allstate NI, we're in the unique position of our time zone falling between that of our colleagues in India and our colleagues in the US. This means that no matter where I open my laptop, I never lose the advantage of that global partnership and I always stay connected with teams around the world. The organisational structure of Allstate NI means that we also cover 23 of the 24 hours in a day, split between myself on Greenwich Mean Time, and my colleagues around the world that are operating across Central Time, Mountain Time, and Indian Standard Time. So, around the clock, around the world, I can always connect regardless of where I choose to work from.

And connecting is critical. I find that remote working allows for clearer communication, particularly in group settings. In my experience, the voices that rise to the top when having in-person meetings are often those of extraverted people. But with remote working and all our new ways of communicating virtually, the voices of introverts and extraverts are levelled. Everybody's voice reads just as loudly in text, and I believe everyone's input should be heard.

In my office, I know that my blinds let in 95% of ambient light, and I find that this works well for me. But I know that doesn't work well for everyone, and so control over your physical environment is just as important as control over your ability to be heard. Having the choice to work remotely presents us with more opportunities to create a working environment that works for us, from controlling how much light, sound, and social interaction we let in, to arranging our office space and furniture so that it's comfortable for us to work from.

Commuting and the Environment

The environment also stands to benefit from a hybrid working approach. Research from Spain's Institute of Environmental Science and Technology found that working from home four days a week would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide — the main pollutant generated by traffic emissions — by around 10%. Studies show that we're also reducing paper waste by stepping away from full-time office working, saving 85 million tons of paper each year in America alone.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, so too does the price of fuel — leaving all of us with less money in our pockets for things like parking and packed lunches. And money isn't the only expense associated with commuting to and from the office; in a calculation taken from a Nationwide UK survey, people save an average of 240 hours per year by not travelling to and from the office every day, alongside the cost savings and reduced stress related to the daily commute.

Fitness and Productivity

What better way to spend the time I gain back than using it to focus on my health and fitness! Whatever form it takes for you, physical exercise is critical not just for our health, but also for our mood and state of mind. Working remotely allows me to integrate exercise into my working day without becoming a distraction to people working around me. Now I often take walking meetings, I step outside for a quick air break, and find time to exercise when on calls.

Some studies also suggest that we get more done when we work remotely, with Gartner's ReimagineHR Employee Survey showing that 83% of employees report that they're more productive when working from home, and 78% of people agree that they prefer remote working to avoid distractions, with an increased ability to undertake 'deep work' in an uninterrupted fashion. You can read a lot of opinions on the effect remote working has on productivity, and I usually find that this depends on the type of work I'm doing. The key message from me is to listen to yourself. Reflect on what works best for you, for your personality, for the task that you're completing, and decide whether you could benefit from working from home on a more regular basis.