We’re all experiencing dramatic shifts in our lives due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. One of the most significant ones is that millions of Americans are now working from home to help stop the spread of the virus.
Life insurance advisors are striving to adapt their work habits to fit this new norm, but working from home – particularly during a pandemic that comes with significant disruption and uncertainty – can be challenging. Whether this is a temporary situation or could lead to more remote job positions in the long term, advisors must be able to work effectively from their homes.
As I’ve talked with advisors over the last few weeks, many have shared how they’re optimizing their remote work. Read below for some of the top tips from life insurance advisors on working from home.
- Take a breather. Go outside every now and then to just breathe for a moment. Think about it…when you’re in the office, you might get fresh air when you leave for lunch, go to a meeting or visit another building. Make sure you get that time at home, too. Just remember to still practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
- Exercise during your lunch break. You can’t really go out to eat, so you might as well make the most of your lunch break. Take 20 to 30 minutes to exercise; then, you can catch up on emails while making lunch. The exercise is a great break and will boost your energy in the afternoon.
- Change your scenery. We walk around the office a lot more than we think in a day. Even if you have a perfect home office, sitting in the same spot can get monotonous. Feel free to move to the couch, a kitchen table or outdoor patio if you need a new view.
- Stay focused. Many advisors are getting more emails, texts and Slack messages than ever as teams are trying to extensively communicate during the pandemic. But it’s important that, when you put your head down to complete a task, you actually do it and don’t get distracted. When your task is done, get some air as mentioned above.
- Keep pets occupied. For those of you with pets, engaging toys like Kongs are a life saver. You can fill up a Kong with your dog’s favorite treat, and he’ll be occupied for hours. Even better, he won’t interrupt your conference calls with barking.
- Wear your headphones. If you have a significant other or children in the house, put your headphones in while you’re on the job. Even if you aren’t listening to anything, it’s a more polite way of saying, “Can’t talk right now, I’m working.”
- Hydrate. Make it a habit every time you use the restroom to fill your glass with water. It’s essential to stay healthy and hydrated during this time.
- Let in the light. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you need to hide in the dark. Recreate the brightness of an office by opening up the blinds and keeping your space well-lit.
- Be selfish with your time. When you are heads down at the office or have your door closed, people don’t barge in and demand your time. The same goes with remote work. If you’re in the middle of something, don’t be afraid to put Slack or pings on hold. You will be more productive if you aren’t constantly dropping what you’re doing to "prove" to your manager/colleague that you’re working and available. You are trusted; finish your task, and then get back to them.
- Schedule out your day. If you don’t already do this, now is the time to start. Physically putting to-dos on your calendar helps you stay on task and understand the scope of your work. You can even block out a daily time for updating your team, answering messages and returning calls.
Everyone works differently, and some strategies that are highly effective for some might not be for others. The important thing is to figure out what works best for you in order to be happy, healthy and productive while you work remotely.
Let us know in the comments if you or your team has any best practices you’re following while working from home.