Allstate launch 'Good Office Program' to support employees working from home setups

Published: January 20, 2021

In March 2020, we moved to a 100% remote working arrangement to protect our employees from the Covid-19 pandemic. This meant that employees had to quickly adjust to having a home set up to work from.

We regularly conducted surveys throughout the year to understand how our employees were finding working from home and what we could do to improve wellbeing. A common theme throughout all of the surveys was financial support to purchase equipment to provide a better home office set up.

Good Office Program - an employee working at her desk.

As a result of this feedback, The Good Office Program was launched across all areas of the Allstate Corporation. Employees were provided a set sum of money to purchase equipment to provide them with a great, permanent working from home office to support hybrid working when we return to the office, allowing everyone to choose their working locations depending on what suits their lifestyles.

We spoke to some of our employees to get an insight into how they spent their allowance and how it's improved their home set up.

"In the first few weeks of us working from home, my set up was quite basic, and not ergonomically friendly. I originally worked from the kitchen table to start with, as desks became very difficult to get your hands on due to the amount of people who suddenly found themselves working from home. Very quickly I started to find this set up uncomfortable, so I contacted our Facilities team who were able to loan me my chair and a monitor from the office. After the initial stint of working from the kitchen, I managed to get a desk from Ikea, costing just £16! I was able to free up some space in my spare room and set up a new, more productive working space.

I also ran into the problem of my internet not being good enough to support me being on and off calls all day and downloading lots of files from our shared drives, as well as my partner working from home. Once again, Allstate stepped in and provided me with a 4G dongle which was a great help.

I was thrilled when the Good Office Program was launched, as even though I had equipment on loan from the office, I knew that it was only a temporary solution. I used some of my allowance to purchase a comfortable desk chair from Wayfair — I was pleased that we could pick the suppliers ourselves, as I wanted something that would still fit in with the decor in the room!

As part of the Marketing and Communications team, we work a lot with the creation of emails, videos and graphics for social media, meaning a good quality monitor is essential. I used the rest of my allowance to purchase a 27-inch monitor, allowing me to have multiple pieces of work on the screen at once and also review content in greater detail.

I'm really grateful for the allowance that Allstate provided us with as I now have an excellent set up in a dedicated space in my house, allowing me to focus easier with less distractions. This really helps me to switch off in the evenings as I can close the door on my 'office' when I finish work. It's also helped me enjoy working from home more, which is something I look forward to doing on set days throughout the week even after we return to the office, meaning I have more time to enjoy in the evenings that I'd normally spend commuting." Lauren Murray, Corporate Communications Consultant.
Office desk.
Office desk.
"The first day of the lockdown also happened to be my first day working at Allstate. The last company I worked at didn't offer the opportunity of working from home, so I had no dedicated space to work from. I received a laptop in the post and started to get set up and onboard from my kitchen table. At the beginning this was great, I was able to work and pop my head in on my wife and daughter every so often.

A month into working on the kitchen table my wife was due back to work from maternity leave and this meant we would be sharing a kitchen table which wasn't ideal. We knew that we needed a desk but worried about space. In the end we found a desk that could easily fold away when we finished using it — we assumed that lockdown wouldn't last as long as it has!

The next problem we faced was that our daughter was due to start nursery, but it had been closed and we didn't know how we could manage our daughter and work. Having only been at Allstate a few weeks I worried that asking to change my working hours was a bit bold but my manager was happy to let me work a couple of days with split hours so me and my wife could I spend as much time with our daughter as possible while still doing our work hours.

When I contacted the facilities team and they were able to provide me with a monitor and headset this really improved my set up, it meant I no longer needed to hunch over my laptop.

By the time the Good Office Program was launched I had become a full convert to working from home. I knew at this point that even when the office opens again, I would still prefer working from home most of the time so a proper set up was a must. I managed to get a desk and chair from Ikea and a monitor from Amazon. With the screen I already borrowed from Allstate my home "office" is now a definite step up from sitting at my kitchen table. The thing I didn't realise I was doing when I didn't have somewhere specific to work was that I was bringing my laptop with me around the house, logging on at night just to check something quickly. Having a space allows me to separate from work, I can step away and not think about it until I sit down in front of my computer again." Brian Muir — Big Data Engineer.