When you work from home, you can roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and get right down to business—without losing time to traffic jams or workplace distractions. It’s an environment many agents have become accustomed to during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some agencies are beginning to return to physical offices, others are choosing to allow employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.
Here are a few of the top benefits of allowing insurance agents to permanently work remotely.
Benefits of remote work for insurance agencies
Recent research and statistics published in Forbes, Insurance Business, and Entrepreneur confirm that working remotely positively impacts many companies and their employees. Here are some of the top ways a telework arrangement may benefit your agency, agents, and customers.
Surveys show remote workers have been 15-60% more productive than their office-based colleagues. People who work remotely work longer hours, have fewer sick days and have less of that nagging feeling of needing to escape for an extended vacation.
Surveys show 2/3 of employees say they would change jobs to reduce their commute. Remote work cuts down on fuel costs and consumption, pollution, accidents, and stress associated with traveling to and from work.
You can reduce or eliminate your real estate footprint since agents will be working from home. Average real estate savings with full-time remote work has been estimated at $10,000 per employee per year.
Working from home can help improve work-life balance and alleviate burnout. It helps instills trust in employees—and in turn, builds company loyalty. Research has shown 2/3 of those surveyed want to work from home, 36 percent would choose it over a pay raise, 80 percent of workers consider it a job perk, and 54 percent would change jobs for one that was more flexible.
Going remote can help you optimize service offerings. You can implement technology that automates much of your processes and you can use tools to facilitate communication. You can meet nationally or internationally, reducing the need for business travel. It’s also true that many customers prefer to seek services virtually instead of visiting brick-and-mortar locations.
When your agents work remotely, they can work anywhere. This can help you grow your business exponentially beyond strictly local, office-based limitations.
Working from home appeals to a larger workforce. In fact, 75 percent of retirees surveyed said they wanted to continue working but desired more flexibility. Offering remote work can allow agencies to expand access and increase diversity.
Addressing challenges with working remotely
Although there are obstacles associated with remote work, they can often be offset with a bit of strategic planning. These tips can help interested insurance agencies streamline a remote work experience.
Set up infrastructure and policies to support remote work operations and communications. Organize a system for communications (i.e., when to use the phone, video conferencing, email, instant messaging, productivity platforms).
Establish routine meetings and virtual gatherings. Decide how often you and your agents should touch base for work-related issues. To combat feelings of isolation or disconnection, plan casual events like virtual or in-person luncheons or parties.
Provide encouragement. Check in with your employees and ask specifically how remote work is going for them. Ask what they need and how you can make the arrangement most effective.
Ensure you have buy-in from leaders. Agents should be able to work mostly autonomously, and leadership should appreciate their ability to do so. Agencies can offer training and best practices for any agents who struggle to work remotely.
The many benefits of remote work indicate that a permanent arrangement may very well be suited for insurance agencies. That said, remember that while many employees may thrive working remotely, others may not. It’s important to remain flexible, ask for feedback, and keep the lines of communication open.
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