Following the COVID-19 outbreak, US businesses have been making substantial changes to the way they conduct business. GC Insights is an ongoing series of interviews that shares, in part, how GCs and their teams are demonstrating flexibility during these unprecedented times.
Latitude Atlanta President, Logan Ide, recently talked with Conrad Brooks, General Counsel of AXIS Capital (NYSE: AXS), a global insurer and re-insurer headquartered in Bermuda with corporate offices in Alpharetta, GA, Dubai, London, New York, Singapore and Zurich, among others.
Logan: Although remote working is not new to you and AXIS Capital, what’s different about this experience?
Conrad: Since the AXIS management team is distributed globally, we are used to working at distance and had actually started implementing technology (video and other) to enhance remote office integration, which works well for remote working, too. Our Corporate Citizenship program that I lead has us pushing towards paperless, which has multiple benefits in this environment. We’ve just finished our third week under a global work-from-home order. We went earlier than some because of what our people in offices such as New York, London, and Zurich were experiencing. The primary tangible addition has been work at home kits for individuals and the primary intangible is adding the management of the environment to normal workload. So far we’re in pretty good shape, although you would expect that from a risk management company.
Logan: How has this experience impacted your team and the company in general?
Conrad: We’ve built a strong culture and sense of community within AXIS, and it’s critical that we maintain both through these extraordinary times. From our CEO’s weekly company-wide calls, to casual team meetings and virtual happy hours, I think this situation is bringing us even closer together. I know my team has been able to learn more about each other’s lives as we meet families and pets, and laugh at some of the unusual situations that occur during video meetings – much different than the normal office environment.
Logan: What advice do you have for other GC’s adapting to this remote working environment.
Conrad: I have a few thoughts. The first is to overcommunicate. Maintain contact at least as often as you’d have when you were all in the same office and know that some people will have greater challenges than others – be there for them. Second, make sure your team has the tools they need to work from home. A new desk chair or second monitor can make a big difference in productivity and morale. Finally, maintain a schedule with balance. In this case, I’m talking about taking time to turn off and walk away from your chair and screen. We still need time to decompress, and it makes our work product better. In my case, I’m grateful for the ability to walk down the hall and see a bit more of my wife and children while I can.
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