The physical office. The virtual office. The hybrid workplace reality.
The hybrid workplace. How do we approach it? What can we expect to change and what do we expect will stay the same?
I want to take a step back. I want us all to take a hard look at the hiring challenges that are inherent in any business and how those obstacles have grown, changed and evolved over the past year—and how they have in some ways remained the same.
This isn’t going to be a cleanly segmented response to a black and white issue because the current hiring market isn’t so easily defined. I don’t think it ever has been. In short, no matter how big the insurance industry gets, it is effectively still a group of people—people whose needs and priorities will naturally shift over time.
There has to be a compromise between insurance industry leader expectations and workforce demands. The hybrid work place might be the most effective way for both sides of this coin to land facing up.
The current state of things
Insurance entities need talented and experienced professionals to fill essential roles.
Insurance professionals have a massive opportunity to leverage their skills and experience to create career growth and opportunities for advancement.
Insurance organizations should examine what is working for them and what their workforce and leadership values in an effort to retain those people that allow them to function, grow and remain competitive.
How things have changed
Many professionals, both within the insurance industry and in almost every other industry, have expressed a significant interest in working or continuing to work remotely. Whether they want to avoid the downtime of a commute, feel like they are more productive or find their individual office life to be distracting or in some way debilitating, a fair amount of professionals want to work from home or at least be offered the opportunity to be part of a hybrid workplace, incorporating a mix of time spent in the office and remotely.
In previous years, remote technology and time management software were not at the levels necessary to keep the workforce adequately connected and productive. However, during the pandemic, many industries reported that their employees were more productive working from home. People found a way to keep moving forward and get the job done—out of necessity.
How things have remained the same
I believe that the benefits of a stable, well-supplied office, equipped with all the well maintained and updated tools of your trade go beyond simply the amenities an employer provides.
A group needs a place to gather, to exist as a team, to talk and have conversations about their professional and personal lives. People need people, human contact and organic opportunities for inspiration to strike. They need opportunities to cooperate and to discover novel solutions to problems old and new—ancient and cutting edge issues.
How we move forward into the hybrid workplace
The workforce has shown a desire to change the traditional office dynamic—they want to work from home. Many insurance industry organizations want people back at their desks, using valuable and costly office space to produce.
In the long-term, the hybrid workplace is a compromise that makes sense. I understand that the insurance entities I work with want that traditional office employee, and we find them everyday, but the simple fact is that the number of professionals willing to take on those traditional requirements is falling—at least presently.
We also acknowledge that the thought of working from the location of your choosing can be a desirable prospect for many candidates. It offers a degree of freedom you may not have ever had in your professional life, but it also reduces the number of effective interactions you might have with your team members and the innovation that might come from those collaborations.
However you might feel, this stalemate of opinions can’t possibly go on the way it is. Both sides have to bend a little to produce a hybrid workplace that can effectively accommodate talented and productive professionals who want to work in the office and abroad.
This will be an ongoing discussion, but we need to find a way to move the dialogue forward and fill those positions vital to the growth of the insurance industry.
The James Allen Companies wants to discuss the hybrid workplace and any other issue that you feel might be preventing your career or business from reaching its full potential.