What I am Learning from Shelter in Place – Professionally
(current location: the couch)
As I write, I hear kids working on schoolwork via computer, the washer and dryer running in the laundry room, and a chocolate Lab snoring at my feet. We are moving into the 5th week of the 'Shelter in Place' order implemented in my city and life has certainly been interesting, to say the least.
The questions taking over my thoughts are: What can I learn or take away from this unprecedented time in our world? How will this affect the way I work and play in the coming months or even YEARS?
While I cannot speak for everyone in the insurance industry, this week, I'll share several things I am learning about my own life both professionally and personally.
What I am Learning About Work
I am thankful to be in the insurance industry.
Not too many years ago, I took a brief 'hiatus' from the corporate world. I dipped my toes into the waters of retail sales and, more specifically, specialty running retail. I have always had a passion for footwear and running, so I decided a gig at Luke's Locker would help me cure the itch and even allow me to see if I would like to own a retail shop someday.
This pandemic has certainly affected us all, but not many more folks are more affected than those in the retail space. If I had still been involved in that business, I would most likely have lost my job or maybe even my business. The insurance industry has also been affected, but not nearly as much as many other businesses. Insurance will still be required for our homes, autos, and businesses.
The insurance business will most certainly LOOK different, but if we can adapt and change with the coming tides, we will survive and even thrive in the coming years. (By the way, if you need new workout shoes or apparel, support my friends over at lukeslocker.com)
Remote Working CAN Work
When this pandemic began, many businesses resisted a move out of the office and to the homes of its employees. The insurance industry was no different. Unfortunately, we have made a name for ourselves in resisting technology and been slower than other businesses in embracing a paperless world. Well, a FORCED movement was created by the shelter in place orders across our nation, and we have all been placed in one big experiment. The results? Better than we thought. In our company, for example, we had a better month of production in March than any of the previous 6 months! Embracing technology has made a difference.
Here is a list of the technologies we have used in our company and how they have helped us work effectively outside the office environment:
Microsoft Teams chat and video calls
Shared documents using Microsoft OneDrive
Webinars through GoToMeeting
Our level of productivity as an organization has not slowed in the least bit. Although I do not believe our future will look exactly like it does today, I think we will consider a combination of remote work and work from the office as a real possibility. This may even allow us to secure smaller office space with a more 'flexible' environment where employees can share space and utilize offices when needed. If employee productivity can be maintained, then more employee remote work would certainly make sense and help decrease office space overhead for many businesses.
All this to say, productive work can and will continue in the insurance industry during and after this unique time in modern history. Many changes have been forced upon all of us during this time. Still, I truly believe the insurance industry can benefit from taking a close look at technology and how we can work to be efficient and effective both in and outside of the traditional workplace.