Working Mother

Training Leaders to Manage Remotely


When the virus hit, only 5 percent of the insurance company’s employees were regularly working from home. By March 17, only 5 percent were not.

The company used self-directed articles and videos to help employees adapt to technology and learn to manage people from home. But their biggest edge in moving so quickly was “the strong and trusted voice from the top leadership, which relieved a lot of anxiety,” says Adam

Schair, VP of corporate communicat­ions.

Leadership took an empathetic tone that “helped employees see they genuinely cared about their health and safety,” Schair says. For example, the company was scheduled for a series of celebratio­ns around its 175th anniversar­y that had to be canceled. CEO and chairman Ted Mathas sent out this note:

“While not a time to celebrate, this is a time to embrace who we are and what matters most. What matters most is our health and safety and the health and safety of those we love. What matters most is continuing to be there for each other and for our clients who rely on us, especially in a time of need,” he wrote.

The company also had a page on its internal website for the latest COVID-19 news and resources on self-care, mental health and flexibilit­y. Senior leadership served as visible role models by creating clear boundaries between their own work and personal lives.

Within 45 days of the move to remote working, training on this topic increased by more than 150 percent compared with the previous 45 days. Employees completed more than 25,000 related online or virtual learning courses.

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