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Notes from the Agents' Roundtable: COVID-19 and Returning to Work

On Thursday, May 20, IIAT hosted the first Agents’ Roundtable, a monthly online discussion where agents discuss timely agency operations and leadership topics. During the roundtable, agents and IIAT staff discussed issues concerning COVID-19 and returning to the office. Here is a summary of the issues and insights that were discussed:

What is the biggest challenge agents faced during the pandemic?

  • Getting their agencies running remotely and knowing which equipment and software to use
  • Remote training and learning how to use remote meeting platforms
  • Concerns with staying in compliance
  • Communicating with clients who need advice

What is your agency’s current Return to Work  status? 

  • Largely depends on geographic location and size of the agency
  • Many agencies are taking it case by case with employees because some have thrived working from home while others prefer to be in the office.
  • Some agencies currently require all employees to be back at work.
  • Other agencies are staggering who is in the office at one time, but plan on having everyone back by the end of summer.
  • Consensus is that most employees will be back in the office soon and can choose whether or not to wear a mask.
  • Respect staff who still want to wear masks but will not require it in the office if you are fully vaccinated
  • Encouraging staff to get vaccinated but nor making it a requirement

What is a practice you started during COVID that you will continue after?

  • COVID showed the importance of disaster recovery and the ability to continue to serve customers.
  • More communication. Because of more frequent check-ins, we are closer as a team.
  • COVID showed that working remotely is possible and some agencies are now more willing to let employees work from home more often.
  • Getting the office professionally cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis

If you could go back and do it again, what would you do differently? 

  • Be more prepared for working remotely and have the right equipment in place
  • Dedicated more time to training staff on how to use video call platforms like Zoom
  • Would have learned to password protect our video calls after a hacking incident

How have your agency culture and employee relationships changed as a result of COVID?  

  • We are closer because we have more check-ins each week.
  • We are quicker to adapt to challenges.
  • I feel one thing we are in danger of losing is our culture. Having an experienced agent is great when they are next to you but it’s tough remotely.
  • We are much more direct in what we want and quicker to find solutions.

Attend the Next Agents' Roundtable - Growth & Marketing Tactics for 2021 and Beyond

Thursday, June 17, 2021 | 10-11 AM CT