Liberty IT's Belfast staff 'don't have to come into the office' if they don't want to

  • Photo: Liberty IT has also recently been awarded two diversity and inclusion accolades

    Employees at Liberty IT have been told they will not be expected to come into their Belfast-based office on a regular basis and will be able to work from home as freely as they like.

    With over 600 people across the island of Ireland, Liberty IT develops technologies exclusively for its parent company, Fortune-75’s Liberty Mutual Insurance.

    NI boss William Hamilton said the company expects to redesign its office space at Belfast's Adelaide Street to reflect the changes of a post-pandemic working world, with more collaborative spaces. 

    For any workers that do want to come in, he wants them to "think of it as visiting the office rather than attending the office”.

    Around 40 staff members are currently coming in on a regular basis, "with a kind of extreme social distancing, and masks".

    RELATED: Two diversity and inclusion awards for Liberty IT

    "We’ve got a really strong people culture and have had a lot of recognition for that. Right at the beginning of the pandemic we coined the phrase: self and family first, and work second," Mr Hamilton said.

    “And that was to tell people, you’ve got to look after yourself and family first, because if you don’t, inevitably your work will suffer anyhow...

    "That’s continued as a priority for us and it’s still a touchstone about how we think about supporting people now. I don’t see us ever changing the core philosophy.”

    He said that a future option for staff will be the choice between coming into the office all the time, staying fully remote, or working a hybrid model across both. 

    RELATED: Liberty IT to create 150 new tech roles

    “With flexibility at the core, we are not going to ask anybody to come into the office regularly," he continued.

    "We expect that everybody will need to and want to connect with their teams from time to time, and it’s likely that will happen in the office.

    “But we’re not asking anybody to come into the office regularly and that’s a fundamental tenet upon which we’re building out the future.

    "We know it’s been a tough 18 months for everybody but we’ve been fantastic and effective in everything we’ve delivered and we haven’t missed a beat as an organisation. 

    "I don’t see us wanting that to change. If we’ve been able to successfully deliver on all our commitments by giving the flexibility that they’ve needed, we don’t want to change that fundamental part of the formula.”

    RELATED: Liberty IT’s Tony Marron: Tech skills needed post-Covid

    Mr Hamilton added that Liberty would work to ensure that those who fully embraced remote working did not lose out on career advancement opportunities, and to not fear about being less visible to managers, as he himself will be working from home three days a week, along with most of his team and a majority of the business' leaders.

    “For people with caring responsibilities, if you don’t have to be in the office, it might be easier for you to think about taking the next step in your career.  

    “If you can work flexibly, we think it will make it a little bit easier for people to put their hand up for the next stage in their career.”

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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