How can you transition smoothly to working at home?
Suddenly, much of the world is working from home. With the advent of Covid-19 and the need to distance physically from co-workers and clients, insurance agencies are experiencing an abrupt shift in the way that they work.
How do you make your time at home productive? How do you connect with your team? Whether you’re working from home out of necessity or it is a long-awaited dream, transitioning to work at home can be challenging – here’s how to make it smoother.
Dedicate Times and Spaces for Your Work
Being able to work at home has always had its perks – you can start your dinner in the middle of the day or run a load of laundry when needed. However, these benefits are also the pitfalls of the work-at-home world. When you work at home, pretend that you’re working at the office.
- Set priorities. Sit down and go over your workday priorities the night before so that you know what your goals are for the next day.
Hubspot points out that “when working from home, you’re your own personal manager. Without things like an in-person meeting schedule to break up your day, you can be quick to lose focus or burn out.”
- Get an early start. If everyone’s working from home from 9-5, getting to work early means that you have a jump on the day.
- Get dressed in work clothes.
- Set work hours, and let those around you know that these are times when you are working and can’t be interrupted.
- Find a space that is your office, even if it’s the corner of a room.
- Move your body. Set up an exercise area close to where you’re working, get out into the garden – movement is beneficial to your focus and your physical and mental health
Communicate With Your Team
When your employees are working from home, it’s essential to remain a team. To be a team, you need to communicate regularly. Set up a regular meeting with Zoom or another teleconferencing program so that you can set priorities, troubleshoot your experience working online, and connect to each others’ vision for the week or the day. Keeping your corporate culture and human connections strong is especially important in times of uncertainty.
Put in Extra Effort to Communicate With Clients
You may not be in the office in person, but your clients need to know that you’re going to take care of them. In a time of uncertainty, it’s extremely important to communicate in a calm way with your clients. They have a lot of questions about what’s to come, whether it’s a question about payment and renewal or a question about what is covered under their existing insurance plan. Spend extra time listening to your clients’ concerns, acknowledge their worries, and work with your team to create solutions together.
Be Prepared for Bumps in the Virtual Road
There will be challenges when you’re working from home. For instance, if your children are home as well, you may need to work early in the morning, late at night, or during nap time. Understand that you’ll need to be flexible, know that your team members also need to be flexible, and plan to work at alternative times of day if necessary. The workday doesn’t always need to be 9-5.
Since this is a new and abrupt change, give your team a grace period if the technology doesn’t work well the first time around or if a child interrupts a conference call. Now more than ever, it is a time to be compassionate.
Ensure That Client Data is Secure
It’s easier to control access to files and new client information when your team is working in a central location. Even if you’re working remotely, you must protect client data to ensure that you don’t end up with an awkward security breach that adds more stress to your week.
Remind your team of basic security protocols:
- Use only secured Wifi networks
- Turn off the Wifi on your devices when you are not using them
- Enable “find my device” mode on your devices so that you don’t lose them or can track them if they are stolen
- Don’t use USBs, since they tend to contain malware. Look for secure, cloud-based storage solutions instead.
- Add extra security precautions: according to
, “encrypting a laptop and using secure VPN will help protect extremely sensitive IP.”
Even if you are feeling uncertain about working from home, your clients need to know that you know what you’re doing moving forward. Connect with us at American Agents Alliance to find the tools you need to support your insurance agency, now and in the future.