The shift from in-office to remote work has presented a variety of challenges for insurance agencies. As so many made the transition overnight, being able to effectively move all operations from inside the same building into everyone’s homes has been difficult for both agencies and their employees. We are living in unfamiliar and unprecedented circumstances. There is very little in our day to day that is the same as it was a year ago. And as nice as it would be to march on with a “business as usual” mantra, that is just not an option because everything we do is far from normal.
As agencies need to continue to serve and employees need to continue being effective for clients, here are some tips for helping employees manage work in a remote environment.
- Understand Individual Needs & Struggles –
As many employees continue to work from home on a full time or part time basis, there is a continuous adjustment that is going on for them to manage the situation in the best way possible. Individuals have found themselves tackling personal and work tasks all within the same space with little room for separation and agency leaders are left trying to sort out how to accommodate individual needs and maintain efficiency.
With so many employees trying to be parents, teachers and do their full-time job simultaneously there is an impact on both productivity and stress. As leaders, it is important to approach the employee with empathy and a desire to understand. Take time to as questions and sort out the unique circumstances an employee is facing. By doing this, you can uncover their true struggles and start looking at options to work through those things.
- Monitor & Adjust KPI’s –
While employees have made the shift to virtual work, more than just the environment has changed. Remote work combined with all the other activities taking place in the home have had an impact on the way employees work. Tasks may be happening in a different order, more or less frequently and at different times of the day.
Understanding that employee working styles and behaviors have changed is an important factor to consider when reviewing current KPI’s. Continuing to measure productivity by the same standards despite all the changes can generate misleading results. Instead, take time to redefine and adjust productivity standards and the corresponding KPI’s to ensure you are getting an accurate assessment of work completed and where employee intervention is needed.
- Implement an activity tracking software –
As leaders, the need to pivot and adjust management style, communication and employee monitoring is a daily hurdle that can quickly get overwhelming. If the manual review and altering gets to be too much, there are solutions available. Consider implementing an activity tracking software. This will help give you the desired oversight into employee working habits and assist in quantifying input and output.
There are several options available which you can use in a remote environment and may find useful to continue utilizing when and if employees return to the office. Knowing what information your agency needs will be an important first step to finding the right match. You can compare the features of different products through www.capterra.com and find the solution that best suits your agencies specific needs.
An agencies ability to adapt even when the road ahead is uncertain is critical to its long-term success. Using the tips above, you can make a few adjustments to the way you lead and monitor your virtual team to ensure everyone is moving forward together.
For more on this topic, check out the full episode of The Independent Agent below,