Whether your employees have been directly impacted by COVID-19 or have made the choice to work from home or change their hours, they have been through a lot of changes this year. As the pandemic wears on, how can your insurance agency continue to help these employees and ensure that your insurance agency thrives as well?
During the early days of the pandemic, many insurance agencies switched to partial or full-time work from home schedules. If possible, make sure that you can continue to help those who need or want to work from home.
Work-from-home environments can be “stressful, lonely, or isolating for some employees,” according to Mental Health America . Supporting your employees can include inviting them to regularly-scheduled work meetings, including them in workplace conversations and decision-making, and providing technical assistance and the right technologies to facilitate effective work. This will help your remote employees succeed as they continue to work from home.
Here’s another way you can support employees who are working from home. The HR Executive suggests daily, 15-minute check-ins: “When things are hard, it’s so important to stay close to your people. It can take up to three times as many virtual meetings to build the same trust you can from one in-person meeting.”
Many of your employees are probably assisting with their children’s education this year as children learn at home. Many others are working to help elderly family members, either by caring for them in their own homes or by trying to provide some sort of assistance while remaining apart. Both of these family roles mean that caretaking work is taking place at the same time as/often overlaps the regular workday.
If your insurance employees’ jobs do not all need to be completed during regular working hours, consider adding flex time to your list of possibilities for employees. Perhaps you could even slightly extend your working hours and take advantage of the fact that your employees may be working earlier or later.
Clarity Around the Rules
From medical leaves to caregiving leaves to bereavement leaves, your employees may be looking at using your company’s benefits a lot more often this year. Be sure to provide clarity about sick time, vacation, and other extended benefits such as long-term disability if your company provides them. Make sure that employees have their benefits information on hand to use in case they need to access it.
Leaves of Absence
While leaves of absence are often difficult for many smaller insurance agencies, this year your employees may need to go on sick leave, caretaking leave, or other family-based leave. Consider bringing on casual workers who are trained and ready to step in when someone is unable to work. This will reduce the overall stress on your employees because they will know that they can take a leave if needed, and they will also know that if a coworker needs to take time off, the rest of the employees will not need to constantly pick up the slack.
Training For Employees
This might seem like a “nice to have” rather than a “need to have,” but proper training can be essential for employees who are working with distressed clients and clients who are working from home. Whether it’s technical training on software products or communications training, your employees will appreciate it when your company invests in them.
Whether you’re seeking training opportunities or discounted benefit plans for your employees, the American Agents Alliance can help. Talk with us today about our many membership benefits.