That’s because the company began building a remote worker program and business continuity plan 15 years ago, after learning hard lessons from the devastation Hurricane Katrina wreaked in our coverage area in 2005.
Because of this experience, we were prepared for the current COVID crisis with technology, security, practices, and policies already in place for remote work and for the important task of supporting our policyholders, the healthcare heroes in the trenches of the battle against COVID-19.
Despite this sturdy foundation, the emotions that arose across our workforce were unexpected: anxiety, fear, isolation, and discomfort. Prolonged working from home without the usual social support and interactions of the workplace left all of us longing for normalcy. But at the same time, most of us are experiencing gratitude for our health and safety and the appreciation our policyholders are expressing for our support. All of this helps strengthen our resolve and determination to offer frontline healthcare professionals as much support as we possibly can.
Impact of pandemic on employees
Emotions among our employees are heightened due to the uncertainty of how long this pandemic will last and what will happen next. Employees are beset by a number of concerns, including:
- Risk of exposure to COVID-19
- Balancing family caregiving and personal needs
- Lack of access to tools and equipment
- Fear of not contributing enough
- Guilt about safety
- Learning new communication tools
- Navigating technical challenges
- Adapting to a new workspace
During this difficult time, LAMMICO has found that communication is the key to empowering our employees to remain calm and maintain a positive outlook. Keeping staff connected and educated so they are safe, healthy, and engaged is crucial. Staff has responded with increased productivity and creative solutions enabling LAMMICO to pivot to meet insured and business needs during the sudden shift.
We hear from our employees how important it is to them to take care of others—especially those working tirelessly under stressful conditions to meet the needs of patients. This sense of purpose offers direction during a time of turmoil. Just as we witnessed during Katrina, our employees are taking comfort and control over their environment through work with 98% feeling connected and fully engaged. Work has become a rare oasis of consistency and security.
We recently conducted a survey of our employees to find out how they are handling this crisis. Although 97% of those who are working remotely report that it’s going well employees also say they miss being with their LAMMICO family. What do they miss the most? Social interaction with colleagues. Employees also report gratitude for the constant training that prepared them for this moment. Virtually all employees—98%—express confidence in the leadership of the company during this time.
Communication as a key to success
Keeping our employees informed is the most significant component of success during times of crisis. LAMMICO manages communication in a variety of ways, including:
- Through the company intranet, which includes an employee COVID resources page as well as resource and information posting
- Via management trained to listen to and emphasize staff concerns
- Through frequent and confident messages and updates, including regular CEO outreach to buoy spirits with inspiration from history, praise, gratitude, and personal offers of support
With little physical contact, departments can become more siloed, only interacting with those with whom they need to work. Our executive team, communication, and a virtual café have helped unite this disjointedness, encouraging a collaborative and inclusive community. Communication is never perfect and we still have challenges, but we have all grown personally and professionally.
Virtual meetings and even social gatherings via technology are common now. During Katrina we all learned to text, and likewise, COVID has taught us to Zoom. LAMMICO is offering our employees online exercise classes and sent care packages with office supplies, snacks, and toilet paper to all employees. T-shirts and safety supplies await each employee as they reenter the office.
A final word
Overall, we are doing well but we are struggling too, wondering what will come next, worrying about safety and about when life will return to normal. Fortunately we have the reassurance of a strong company and stable jobs.
LAMMICO and our employees are family and over the years our family has supported one another well. We will continue to do that and are confident we will come through COVID-19 stronger because of it.