April 3, 2023
Three Signs Your Remote Job With an Insurance Agency Might Be Unstable
by Kris Gibson
One thing the insurance industry (and insurance agencies in particular) has proven over many years is that a change in habits or operational strategy tends to happen very, very slowly. If you’re ever eager to hear, “Because that’s how we’ve always done it,” as justification or reason for doing something, you can’t find a better place to ask the question.
When COVID hit, many insurance organizations were forced to change, and immediately. Remote work was the first major shift in policy, and agencies found that it didn’t hamper productivity as they feared, so hybrid and work-from-home policies became permanent fixtures. Other insurance agencies, despite success with a remote workforce, couldn’t get employees back into the office fast enough. Why? You guessed it- “Because that is how we’ve always done it.”
As we move further from the darkest days of the pandemic, with unemployment rates plummeting and a talent shortage impacting the insurance industry, we see insurance agencies hiring remote employees despite not really wanting to. The problem with jumping into one of these arrangements is the inherent instability that comes with it. If hiring you remotely wasn’t the agency’s first preference, then if or when a local employee who can be in the office on a regular basis or even hybrid schedule comes along, you could find your role eliminated.
Three Red Flags That Signal Job Instability for Remote Workers
How do you know if you’re in an unstable remote position? It can be tough, but here are three warning signs to watch for.
1) You’re the only one working remotely. Seems simple, but if you’re the exception rather than the rule, you could be vulnerable. If the company felt they had to allow for it rather than choosing to evolve their staffing practices, it is a safe bet they will eventually pull back, and you could be the casualty. One caveat is that you could be the first to represent the company’s future workforce. Don’t overreact to learning, you may be the only remote employee but ask more questions and get a feel for the company’s long-term philosophy on remote workers.
2) The company lacks infrastructure and support for remote workers. Are they just winging it, or do they have a plan for how to support a remote workforce? This is something you can generally get a good feel for quickly. It’s a big change from a permanent, in-office workforce to one that is hybrid or remote. It isn’t that a company should be expected to have mastered it all in a year or two, but if you see no real commitment, that is a good indicator the program will ultimately fail. When it does, a company will revert to what they know and pull back to a more comfortable working environment for them.
3) You sense resentment by leadership and/or colleagues. This one is a timebomb waiting to explode. If you sense a manager or other peers wish they could have it but don’t for whatever reason which often spells trouble sooner rather than later. If you have, say 60% of the workforce in the office wishing they could be remote but are unable to have it, the culture and toxicity that breeds will wear on leaders who are themselves often in the office and hearing complaints daily. No organization wants a divisive culture and risks alienating a large part of their team. If they must make changes to stabilize their base, you can guess what those will be.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
Remote working arrangements within the insurance industry are a relatively new thing. As such, there is a lot of change and instability currently, and no situation is ever perfect. Patience and understanding on your part, as well as a willingness to participate in the organization’s plan to build and grow a remote workforce, is important to sustained success for you and your employer. That said, you should remain alert and mindful about the red flags that could negatively impact you and your career. If those pop up, give us a call or check out the open remote positions that we’re actively recruiting for.