Planning, Planning, Planning
Posted on 21st December 2020
As 2020 draws to a close I decided not to wrap up the year with an annual overview, as I think enough has been said and written about this year! As always I prefer to look forward, review the lessons learned and evaluate how they can best be used. We were lucky to have had an 'Adverse Weather Policy' which outlined what we would do in the event that staff couldn't attend the office due to adverse weather. This worked well as did the basis for our COVID response. If anyone wants an editable copy of this template drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The transition to home working showed how resilient our team is and although we saw no reduction in productivity the team were all happy to have a limited return to the office with what is now a blended solution. Making the office COVID safe was again relatively easy as we limited the number of staff in the office and allocated desks with sufficient spacing. Everyone was happy to have that well needed office interaction from sharing insurance best practice to just good humour. This will be something we will now retain for the future.
Death by Zoom! I've lost count of how many Zoom meetings that I've attended, everything from board meetings, to sales training, pub quiz's and a cocktail party! There's most definitely a place for Zoom and it has been a valuable tool to learn how to optimise. However, for me this will now sit alongside, rather than replace. If someone can't attend a meeting due distances travelled and time then it's excellent, saving money and environmental impact of multiple business trips. I've loved the reality of home-working Zooms with pets invading work spaces and family inadvertently wandering in, it's humanised the whole experience. Personally I'm now limiting my Zoom meetings as it's all too easy to be too available with no time between meetings to decompress or write up notes.
Forward Planning. Insurers that were normally swift with their service have found to be lacking this last year. With that in mind we start work on our renewals earlier than before, we chase outstanding documents from insurers sooner than before and we recommend our clients do the same. Especially at this time of year it's worth planning renewal strategies earlier than usual and giving notice of any changes as often as possible.
Communication Increase. With so many clients changing the profile of their business we've increased the amount of time we contact a client to check on changes. Don't wait for your insurers to contact you! .. Call them! Changes in turnover, wages, unoccupied premises, new product lines, new areas you've diversified into the list is endless but better to tell your broker or insurer than face that dreaded "that's not covered" conversation.
Online Learning. With more spare time on my hands I've spent a great deal of time with online learning platforms. Some of these are compulsory and centre around the technicalities of the insurance products we offer. Others have been for my own development as a director, and some have been simply because I have an interest in the subject, from Physical Training to NLP. I've been able to tackle these at a pace I found comfortable and they'll be something I'll stick with into 2021.
Look After Yourself. It's been stressful there's been little avoiding that. Knowing yourself and how you recover has been key for me. I love being outside in the fresh air, I don't mind the rain. I love exercise (yes I'm one of those people) and the gym has been important to me. Phone calls with my friends, also some music, some of favourite films. All of these have helped me press that reset button. It's seemed a marathon not a sprint, so sustainable energy has been better than a quick hit.
Look After Others. Yes, some people are clearly less concerned than others. In our office we run a Red, Amber or Green wrist band system depending on how you're feeling on that day. Some days some people switch bands as their concern is raised or falls. All of that is OK and stretches beyond COVID. Small acts of kindness have helped, simply checking in on team members or friends.
Keep Informed. There's so much information to keep on top of as a business owner. We found a couple of trusted sources and stuck with them. Obviously the Government website is preferable however we also found our local Chamber of Commerce useful.
Finally, we'd like to wish you all a very "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".