Reasons to Consider Making Flex Work Permanent
One of the silver linings of 2020 is finding out that there are more ways to be flexible about work than we might have previously imagined. Whether it’s clearing out a closet to create an isolated home workspace away from the kids or meeting with prospects via video conference instead of in person, many of us have had to improvise solutions on the fly.
While flex work is fairly common in fields like advertising and tech startups, it is not necessarily the norm for insurance. Sure, there are many independent agents who are used to working from home with a laptop and a cell phone. But there are also plenty of larger agencies that run on a traditional 8-to-5 schedule with desks, ringing telephones and a basket of sugar packets next to the coffee maker.
If your agency has always been run in a more conventional fashion, this could be a good time to rethink whether that still makes sense. There are several benefits that become possible when you broaden work parameters.
1) Happier Staff
Work didn’t become known as the daily grind for nothing. The repetition of following the same schedule day after day, commuting through thick traffic morning and evening and trying to squeeze in important life commitments like a dentist’s appointment at lunch and a parent-teacher conference at the end of the day can all contribute to generalized dissatisfaction among your staff.
Numerous studies show that happier workers are also more productive workers. In addition, when you offer flexibility with your staff, it’s easier to ask for the same in return.
2) Money Savings
If staff happiness isn’t reason enough, you may also save money by letting people work from home. If you don’t need a physical space large enough to fit every staff member every day, you could downsize or even close an office. Offering a subsidy for personal laptop use is cheaper than outfitting an office with desktop computers. Not spending on things like office cleaning supplies, snacks and coffee adds up, too.
3) Reach More Customers
Your office hours may be 8 to 5, but consumers shop for insurance around the clock, including on the weekends. (Hometown Quotes has some great weekend leads available, by the way.) Having an agent or agents working early morning, in the evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays can open up a whole new pool of insurance purchasers.
4) Conserve Resources
Offering flexible work options can also help conserve resources in your immediate community. Looking only at transportation, fewer cars on the road means less air pollution as well as fewer accidents, which translates into less strain on first responders like police, fire and rescue personnel and healthcare workers. On a broader scale, it also means a decrease in the use of fossil fuels and a reduction of products like tires and other car parts in landfills.
The nice thing about flex work is that there are multiple ways you can let it play out:
- Offer slightly nontraditional hours like 9-to-6 or 10-7
- Let someone trade hours on either an ongoing or one-time basis—like a weekday for a Saturday or daytime hours with time in the evening
- Allow workers to reduce their hours for a defined period and specific reason such as a full semester to take a class or a few weeks to get an aging parent settled into a new care facility
- Take advantage of technology to hold all-staff meetings online so that those who really don’t need to be in the office can participate from home
There are lots more possibilities if you’re willing to be creative and open to ideas. Your staff will know best what would be helpful to them. Asking for their input will not only help you choose the popular options, it can also make them feel valued and understood.
That’s really what flex work is about—acknowledging that yes, there is work to be done, but there may be more humane ways to accomplish it, and I care enough about you that I am willing to explore the options. This year, that message of solidarity with your staff is more important than ever.
When you sign up to receive leads from Hometown Quotes, you’ll be assigned to one of our Regional Directors. Give us a call at 800.820.8921, and your Regional Director will be happy to share more ideas and expertise.