March 24, 2021

COVID-19, 365 Days later

On March 24, 2020, 80% of our staff began working remotely– for the first time in our history.

Thanks to the efficiency of our IT Department and the support of our Management Team, we were able to provide our staff with a complete remote set up.

When surveyed, 90% of our employees reported that they felt the management team at McFarlan Rowlands clearly communicated plans to support them, while showing compassion for each individual’s situation. When asked how McFarlan Rowlands handled the COVID-19 crisis overall, 93% of our employees said the company did well at addressing questions, concerns, employee safety and providing overall support at this time.

Throughout 2020, we worked both in the office and in our homes. Since we are an essential business, we were able to keep our offices open, but in order to keep our people safe, we asked most to work from home. During this time, our staff learned a lot.

We sat down with a group of our front line Brokers to discuss their experiences while they navigated the ups and downs of 2020. We found that five main themes emerged from our discussions:


Between our company and our insurance partners, between our coworkers, and most importantly, between ourselves and our clients.

As we made every effort to check in on our clients, for the first time ever, we were faced with the realization that it was not safe to be in the same physical space with one another. Clients were looking for answers, we were looking for answers from insurance providers. It was a hectic time in the beginning, but we soon realized how impactful our role is in providing our clients peace of mind.


Our clients were our first priority as we navigated the first few weeks of our new work from home life. Many were very concerned. At a time when there were no certainties, our clients needed to hear from us. Some had to shut down their shops and take vehicles off the road, which means making changes to their insurance policies. Some were now working exclusively on-line for the first time.

Checking in to answer any questions might have taken a digital turn, but we made it our priority to always be available to our clients and offer them an educated and informed perspective on any developments from our insurance providers.


As with everyone, many of our work methods had to pivot. In our industry, in-person networking lends itself to many successes, and when we were unable to do that, we needed to find new ways to operate. Although technology can make some processes seamless, we found that it also prolonged things that were once quick and easy. A conversation that was normally had in the same room over a few minutes turned in to one, two, or three phone calls. There is a lot of paperwork in insurance, so an insurance renewal took longer. Email volume doubled.

Being based at home for some of our staff meant a combination of parenting, working, teaching; you name it. Being present in all aspects of life at one time proved to be challenging. We reminded ourselves that setting boundaries and taking a break is important.

We certainly realized an appreciation for face to face communication, which is sometimes taken for granted.


Day to day interactions changed. Retirements turned in to small, COVID- safe gatherings or Zoom calls. Company events were cancelled. Staff luncheons put on the back burner. Social days turned digital.

Another lesson learned was understanding and appreciating each individual client’s communication preference. That is the way we want to do business. We’ve learned new technologies and adapted our ways, because we had no idea how long this was going to last.


We’re in a relationship industry, and we work so much as a team. From sales to service, our teams were frequently trying to troubleshoot the unknown.

Moving forward, we will keep the knowledge that anything can change at any time and we will be ready to adapt.

But in the end, we enjoy seeing our colleagues and clients in person. And we can’t wait to see you again!