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Remote, hybrid or office-based: how Allstate employees are redefining their workplace

Good work is about what you do and how you do it, not where or when. That's the approach Allstate takes as its workplace evolves for the future — where employees are the decision makers.

October 21, 2022

In the summer of 2020, Allstate asked its employees to think about the day when they could potentially return to an office. The survey results surprised company leaders but gave them a tool to build a workplace where employees can design the system that best fits their lives. And, it's made Allstate a leader in innovative workplace planning.

Flexibility is the future

Allstate's approach is simple: encouraging a healthy work-life balance so employees can bring more passion and positivity to their jobs.

"We chose, before a lot of other companies chose, to be proactive about getting employees' input and feedback on when and how and where they work," said Lindsay Bousman, a director in human resources who leads Allstate's Culture and Employee Experience team.

Employees driving decisions

When 95% of employees surveyed said they wanted a more flexible work environment, Allstate listened.

The company introduced work designations to give most employees a choice about how they work: remote, hybrid or office. Hybrid and remote employees can choose when they'd like to use the office. And teams can decide how hybrid works best for them.

Before the pandemic, only 20% of employees worked remotely. Now:

  • 75% of Allstate employees are home-based
  • 24% are hybrid
  • 1% are office-based workers

Access and equity: everyone matters at Allstate

Remote work becoming the new norm isn't just about convenience. For some employees, it's an essential need that can improve quality of life.

Bek Moody, senior recruiter in Human Resources, uses a wheelchair and used to drive from Chicago to the suburban Northbrook office before becoming full-time remote in 2015.

"It's really impacted the accessibility of my life," said Moody. "When I was going into the office, there were times I couldn't find parking, or things were really slippery, and I needed help, and it was really cold. It wasn't that Allstate didn't provide the accessibility needs; there's just times where things come up.

When you make something accessible, it's accessible for everyone. It matters for everyone. You could look at it like, 'Bek's in a wheelchair. We'll just let Bek work from home.' And that's fine. But realistically, it's benefitting everyone – even people who are interviewing or vendors or potential customers.

Bek Moody
Senior Recruiter

Out with the old: embracing new norms from employee feedback

With a majority of Allstate employees working from home, the company had to look at real estate in a new way — and made significant adjustments. It sold its headquarters in Northbrook and distributed items from the campus to more than 40 nonprofits in need. These organizations received office supplies, home décor, sporting equipment, kitchen appliances, clothing and more.

These changes have cut Allstate's real estate spending in half — leaving room to reallocate funds to home office that support our employees' work.

"Our philosophy in designing the future workplace, and now in returning to in-person work, is focusing on the people, the real estate and the technology," said Megan Lenahan, communications manager, Enterprise Learning and Development.

In May 2022, Allstate announced the opening of a new, smaller office space in Northbrook, just across the street from its longtime home office building. This new space gives employees the option to work in an office setting without commuting to Chicago.

"Our people have voiced what they needed and what they wanted with the flexibility. We've made changes to our real estate portfolio according to that. For the buildings that we do still have, we have to think about the technology and making sure that it's there to support people in the room, people calling in, so that everybody feels included," Lenahan said.

Employees will give feedback on the office experience and new configurations — like "me space" for solo work and "we space" for team collaboration — before Allstate makes changes across buildings.

"We think that when people come back in, primarily they're coming back in to collaborate or work together as teams," said Carla Sheron, senior manager, Workplace Strategy. "We want to make sure we understand exactly what kind of spaces work for them. As we get feedback from employees on what they need, we'll start approaching how we change other offices. We also know things are going to shift over time as people learn new norms again, new patterns of how they're coming back."

An employee-first workplace: building a diverse common culture through technology and innovation

Working remotely isn't the same as an in-office experience. So, the company is trying new ways to build and maintain a common culture through technology. From an enterprise-wide recognition social network, to digital spaces where employees can connect on podcasts and hobbies, to weekly resources on well-being, Allstate is embracing an employee-first virtual workplace.

Hiring is also virtual, which means Allstate can find talent almost anywhere. Since going virtual, there's been:

  • A 30% increase in diverse candidates applying for roles since announcing the flexible work environment
  • A 456% increase in applicants for leadership roles since announcing the sale of the Northbrook campus
  • A 256% increase in applications for non-leadership roles since announcing the sale of the Northbrook campus

And these positive results are just the beginning – Allstate is working to create a vibrant community of "good hands" people every day.

Careers at Allstate

Browse Allstate career opportunities and discover more about how its flexible work environment and inclusive culture help put employees first.

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