First, in the beginning of March the Corona virus pandemic caused the voluntary cancellation of large-scale events including festivals, athletic competitions, conferences, and concerts. Then, state and local government officials began forcing all but essential businesses to shut down. With “safer at home” orders in place across the country, businesses had to adapt quickly.
At C3 Risk & Insurance Services, we had an operational infrastructure already in place that gave us a competitive advantage: it allowed our teams to swiftly adapt to a more permanent remote work environment, without missing a beat. Within the first or second week of the lock down, I commented on how smooth the transition had been, but at that point, I hadn’t even begun to see the full impact of what that would mean for our company.
Prior to the pandemic, our entire team was already equipped with mobile work stations and distribution technology built to work anywhere, anytime, virtually on demand. In an industry that is client-focused and service-oriented, we trust our workforce and empower our team to work and serve their clients in the manner that works best with their own flexibility. What this looks like for us is a “core” and “flex” time model. C3 employees already had the ability to flex out any time to work from home without approval from leadership. Everyone works “core” hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day–and is expected to be active during that time – but they can flex time outside of those hours to fit their schedules and the needs of their families and daily life. We are able to offer this flexibility because we have a rock star group of professionals along with an effective system of measuring productivity through technology.
Because we already had this infrastructure in place, as soon as COVID-19 concerns were on the horizon, we moved to a remote work model – as a requirement rather than just an option – a full week before orders were implemented. As a result, we experienced no downtime, while much of our competition was scrambling to get a business continuity plan in place, and struggling to equip and educate employees about remote work technology.
This smooth transition certainly benefited our team, who already had enough on their plates, with schools and daycares’ closing, remote learning for their children and navigating a shared home work environment with a spouse or partner. But, it also provided a major benefit to our clients. At the onset of this pandemic, our client needs were significant. In some cases, what amounted to an entire year’s worth of policy processing needed to take place in a three-to-four-week period. Our brokers and service teams were well-positioned to focus and invest multiple hours in supporting client needs, without any lag in service.
While we have been able to fully serve our existing clients during this time, we’ve also excelled at securing new business. Our brokers were not worried about how to structure their days from home or how to log into a Zoom call. Instead, they had the energy and capacity to anticipate the road ahead and think creatively. They were first-to-market with solutions related to COVID-19-specific challenges, which rapidly opened up new opportunities. Examples of this include:
None of us could ever have predicted the impact of this global pandemic and how the world would change.However, at C3 we have experienced the validation of our previous effort to prioritize flexibility for employees and emphasize efficiency, technology and results over time spent at a desk in the office. Because we had already laid the foundation upon which we could thrive in these new circumstances, our business operation, fortunately, continues full steam ahead.
Gabe Erle, President