Allstate's Emergency Response to Lockdown Measures and still a 'Force for Good' in the Community

Published: May 7, 2020

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures and that is what happened to Allstate Northern Ireland in the early hours on the 16th March 2020. Our Emergency Notification System (ENS) was activated for all employees across the world instructing any of them that could work from home to do so immediately. In Northern Ireland, Allstate was ahead of the game, instructing employees to take their laptops and any other items home with them every night from the 9th March.

A billboard thanking the emergency services, we're in Good Hands - Allstate Northern Ireland.

We are now nearing the end of our eighth week of working from home. All 2,400 employees, 900 of whom are based in the North West have been successfully working remotely. Many Allstate employees already availed of the work from home option during 'normal' times but for many the concept of not being in the office was alien and for some roles it was assumed that due to the nature of their work they had to be in an office. Very quickly all employees adapted and stayed productive. Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom were already being used extensively by employees when they were in the office, all vital tools to stay connected to their local colleagues as well as colleagues in India and the United States.

One of our larger areas is the Service Desk team based in the North West. This 400-employee team provide technical and business support services to Allstate employees, Agents and customers. Normally office based and working from desktop computers, Allstate had to quickly source laptops and other equipment to ensure they could also work from home. With 38,000 Allstate employees working from home from the 16th March the Service Desk saw a 100% increase in requests for help from across the globe, but they all rose to the challenge.

From the outset of the pandemic employee health and safety has been the top priority, putting the employee first and keeping them, their families and the communities in which they live safe. Employee health and wellbeing has always been a strong focus at Allstate. Maintaining a healthy work life balance, Allstate are continuing to encourage employees to work to the best to their ability given their circumstances but also providing greater flexibility and relaxation of policies to allow them to juggle working with any additional family commitments they may have during this time.

Even in lockdown Allstate has not stopped being a 'Force for Good' — for our customers, shareholders and communities by helping and supporting local charities and community organisations. From donations to 3D printing of face shields and taking part in the 10,000-step challenge — Allstate Force for Good and Charities Committees have been working tirelessly to support the Covid-19 response. Allstate have raised money to support food banks and mental health charities with donations already sent to The Trussell Trust, NI Scrubs, Altnagelvin Hospital Appeal and The Mater Hospital Belfast.

The North West Charities Committee recently raised £544 for Age NI with an online raffle. They also raised a further £460 for Kinship Care Northern Ireland, which supports children currently placed in care. In addition to this, last month, our Information Services Group in Strabane donated 100 Easter eggs to a local foodbank, the Strabane Resilience Group.

As one of the first organisations in Northern Ireland to mobilize a work from home policy for all employees Allstate are very proud of what has been achieved and how successful it has been so far. But Allstate will be taking a pragmatic approach to returning to the office, looking at different options and planning what is the best way forward, from an employee point of view and a business point of view. Allstate know that the "new norm" of social distancing will continue for many months and we are working this into our return to office planning.

As a company who already embraces employees working remotely, Allstate look forward to seeing how this will change how we work as an organization and a society post-pandemic. The lockdown has shown we are ready and equipped to handle life's uncertainties while providing a secure and rewarding job for all employees and supporting our local communities.

Allstate Northern Ireland partnership with Northern Ireland Kinship Care - keeping families together, and ageNI - love later life.