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Smith Brothers Insurance
Business IssueThe company started a telecommuting program in 2002 when management wanted to retain a valued employee who was moving to Texas. Once they got her set up, they wanted to offer the option to the rest of the professional staff.
Telecommuting SolutionTelecommute Connecticut consultants developed documents to be completed by each employee interested in telecommuting. In addition, they led meetings with staff to explain the "philosophy" of working at home, which emphasized that telecommuters are actually working.
Key Telecommuting ChallengeIn order for members of the sales/executive staff to telecommute, they needed the ability to access the information necessary to do their jobs from home. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) needed to be set up. In addition, the company needed employees who worked in the office to understand that telecommuters were not "cheating," but were working more efficiently without interruption.
- Recruiting and Retention: The company found that having a telecommuting program not only allowed them to retain a key employee who moved out of state, but has put them in a competitive position with prospective employees that inquire about telecommuting options.
- Work/Life Balance Good for the Company: Telecommuting enables the company to maintain service seamlessly for clients-whether a staffer takes college courses during the day and finishes work at night, needs to work on a project or complicated task outside of the office, or cannot make it into the office due to a personal reason.
- High Number of Employees Participate: Nearly 50 of the 57 employees telecommute when they need to, either full-time or as needed. For example, one employee works out of her home in Texas, another staff member works out of a client's office in South Carolina, three employees work from a remote office, several work at home when trying to complete big projects or during bad weather, and nearly everyone else works at home during off hours.
- Participants Represent All Departments: Telecommuting has been successful for all departments (Commercial Lines, Personal Lines, Life, Employee Benefits, Accounting). The type of work being done off-site is exactly the same as the work that is done in the office—servicing clients, processing policies, developing proposals, submitting claims to carriers, email communication with clients and carriers, creating spreadsheets, etc.
- Kim Connolly, Vice President, Smith Brothers Insurance