One of the most potentially longstanding trends to emerge over the past year is hybrid working, with the working model expected to persist as the workforce becomes more accustomed to the work-life balance it offers them.
A recent blogpost by Novidea examined the five biggest challenges and opportunities that hybrid working offers for brokers, as raised by brokers themselves.
Regardless of how managers and business executives may see hybrid working, it is clear the model is likely here to stay. Novidea highlighted a recent survey conducted by the company on UK brokers found that 70% of respondents said some of their staff would continue to work remotely in the future.
However, there are still challenges for brokers in adapting to remote working for the longer term. What are these key roadblocks?
According to Novidea, the first big challenge for brokers is the lack of management information to base their decision on. The company said most brokers currently lack access to management information while working remotely – therefore they fail to have a full view of their business.
Novidea’s survey found that most brokers were unable to see what commissions they were generating from customers and which of them were most profitable. In addition, others found that they weren’t able to match customer needs to underwriting capacity as quickly as they may have liked.
This is leading many brokers to begin working on creating management information solutions where they can access all of their data in one specific place in dashboards and reports, which can help them to offer a full view of the business and underline where they can improve operations and boost revenues, providing the possibility of an increased competitive advantage.
A second key challenge for companies is the need to communicative effectively with employees, Novidea claims. The company cited its recent survey, which found that over half of respondents cited ‘less effective communication’ as their biggest challenge with remote working.
Novidea mentioned that by deploying the right technology, brokers can strengthen communication for remote workers and boost morale and productivity.
A survey respondent commented, “When you automate the workflow, with prompts for staff on what steps they need to take next, this takes out a lot of the communication around the basics. It frees up time for your staff to get on with the job without the need for back-to-back video calls all day, and without feeling like they need constant supervision – and that helps them to feel more productive.”
Thirdly, there are still persistent challenges for brokers in the area of system performance and scalability, with many brokers who were involved in the survey reporting performance issues with the systems they currently use during remote working.
Novidea mentioned that some brokers have had to spend more on licenses for their end-users since they now require access from multiple locations. Other issues highlighted include a lack of capacity, network performance issues and bandwidth limitations.
The survey found that many brokers are responding to this challenge by migrating more of their systems and applications to the cloud, giving them the ability to increase workloads within a new IT infrastructure.
The fourth challenge discussed was the inability to identify workflow bottlenecks, with several brokers claiming they were unable to spot or resolve workflow bottlenecks when they are working remotely.
One broker said, “We could have a major issue with productivity, but at present I don’t have enough oversight to know where those bottlenecks or obstacles might be.”
Brokers mentioned that they’re also looking to use management information to reveal productivity issues and bottlenecks – so as to flag them for managers to resolve.
Other brokers noted the benefit of automating workflows, which will enable them to prompt the right actions at the right time across the business – which Novidea claims will make bottlenecks both less likely and also easier to spot.
The fifth and final challenge for brokers with hybrid working is outdated legacy technology. According to Novidea, 24% of the respondents to its survey cited technology constraints as their number one challenge with remote working. However, the firm said after speaking to brokers, it’s clear that legacy technology is an issue for almost all of them.
The company stated that multiple back-and front-office systems can lead to multiple issues, including siloed data that takes manual effort to process, inefficiencies and human error due to the need to rekey data, inability to access all systems remotely and data security issues.
Novidea remarked that the key to overcoming these challenges is to migrate onto cloud-based systems that offer secure, remote access.
The full blogpost can be found here.
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