Social distancing has created a social connection in many ways that we as business partners, teams, friends, family and neighbors, have let slip throughout the years. I know I am personally having more interaction and picking up the phone more now than ever.
How are you keeping yourself busy in your time away from work?
Well, I am one of those people who has worked from home for years, so I think a better question for people like us is; how do we make time for ourselves when work is always only a few steps away? Everyone today is so connected via their home offices, computers, smart phones, that it's often hard to know when to put it down and pick up the personal life. For me, I am trying to accomplish a few long overdue projects around the house during the evening and weekend hours. I have gotten a few big tasks completed, such as painting the fence around my backyard. That sense of accomplishment is so important – seeing a project completed does wonders for one’s personal wellbeing.
Do you have any tips or tricks for creating an ideal home office?
My home office is small – I can touch all four walls without ever leaving my chair. Oddly enough, with the window letting in natural, diffused light and the need to be highly organized in a tight space, it seems to work well for me. Also, setting a routine and not allowing being at home become a distraction is very important. I am dedicated to being in my office for the day, and it provides me with a strong focus with minimal interruptions.
What challenges do you see coming up for employees over the next eight weeks? What do you recommend to the members of HCAA as ideas for helping their employees?
I think that each individual employee has their own set of challenges – depending on what their work scenario is, as well as what their family/home dynamic is. Many employees, be it within our outside of our own company, are dealing with someone within their family or circle of friends who have been impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Then there is all the other situations that were already existent prior to the pandemic – existing conditions, scheduled medical procedures, canceled vacations, graduations, etc. It is so much bigger than the COVID-19 pandemic.
For helping employees, we all need to make sure that we communicate effectively and honestly with our employees. They are the foundation of your business and the individuals that help you be successful each and every day. Building a strong environment of trust will go a long long way during these trying times.
What is the flip side of the challenges? Specifically, what are the opportunities you see as an outcome of the pandemic for how the members of HCAA do business, address culture in their organizations, support employees going forward?
The opportunities for all of us in this industry are great going forward. Yes, there are challenges, and self-insured groups will have to take a hard look at what is best for their organization moving forward, but the beauty of that is the control that these groups have in order to protect their employees and benefit plan.
What we have seen is a strong focus on strengthening benefit plans by adding services that were either missing from the plan or by shoring up existing programs with increased member communication/education on how to get the most value out of the benefits offered. I believe that we are all seeing and hearing about great things employer groups are doing within their own organizations, within their communities to make positive impacts. Sharing those “best practices” will go a long way in changing how we will be doing business and supporting our clients and our own teams in the future.