September 22, 2021

Adjusters Working Harder AND Smarter: Going the Extra Mile

Sometimes in today’s 21st century workplace, it’s what you accomplish on the job after 5:00 PM that makes a difference.  I recall as a child growing up, my Dad arrived home at 4:30 every afternoon. I could virtually set my watch (if I wore one in those carefree days) by when his car rolled in as I waved and played in the neighborhood streets.  My Dad was no slacker.

Nowadays, someone who is home from work by 4:30 PM is likely the exception, not the norm.  Most everyone works at least 9-to-5 these days.  In fact, chances are, they are working earlier and longer.  It seems as though the work day has stretched.  (This must be due to all the “time-saving technologies, eh?”)

Particularly early in one’s career, the best investment to make is extra margin, extra effort.  Over time, management should notice that you have extended your work day in order to get more accomplished.  There is nothing wrong with being known for having a strong work ethic.  Some say that consistency is “the new radical” – just showing up, day after day, week after week, month after month.  This evokes Woody Allen’s quip comment that, “90% of success in life comes from just showing up.”

Woody has a kernel of wisdom but his quip masks a reality.  You must do more than just show up.  As an effective claims person, you must produce and get results.  You must do more than just take up space.  The daily challenge is – how do you add value to your work team, your department, your company through those extra hours and through that extra effort?

Forget Clock-Watching

By the same token, it can be career-killing to be seen as a “clock watcher.”  If you put in the extra time, make sure it is productive time.  Just occupying space will earn you no points.  Visibility for visibility’s sake is pointless.  You are wasting your time and your company’s/.  Plus, it’s boring to hang back at the office just to boost your visibility.

It’s the extra effort that helps set you apart.  For example:

  •  Make the extra phone call.  Maybe there is a lawyer or client in another time zone you can catch before leaving the office.  Initiate the call.
  • Type or dictate the additional letter or claim report.
  • Send an email propping a date and time for a needed conference call, with an agenda.
  • Pull one more file, maybe a couple, from tomorrow’s diary and get ahead on your diary.
  • Take one more stab at trying to track down that elusive witness.

Invest the extra effort.

It’s About Results, not Hours Logged

Make sure it’s productive effort, though.  The extra effort must yield demonstrable positive results.  This can become tougher once the clock strikes 5 PM.  An after-hours claims office has a different vibe after hours.  Co-workers and other colleagues let their (proverbial) hair down and may be more inclined to drop in and socialize or ruminate.  Some of this is necessary in order to get along, but bull sessions after hours are not productive and not what were discussing here.  Pro sports have a term for bench players sent in at the end of decided games to pad their stats or get some playing time.  This is called, appropriately, “garbage time.”

Make sure that you’re not putting in “garbage time,” relatively unproductive time spent in chit chat.

Have specific goals for how you want to spend the hours until 6:00 PM or 7:00 PM.  Use the time productively but don’t be a fixture in the office just so that you can be visible to higher ups.  Work hard.  At times, work long.  But work effectively, then get out of the office.  Relax, recharge and address the other crucial parts of your life.

Do not equate sheer number of hours worked with effectiveness.  There are claims people who can accomplish in six hours what it takes others eight or ten to do.  Hard work has a qualitative as well as a quantitative dimension.

Moral:  don’t necessarily equate long hours with effectiveness on the job.  It doesn’t matter how long you spin your wheels if you don’t get results.

Have there been times in your claims career where you felt the extra hours on a task, project or file paid off disproportionately?  Any times where you felt it did not pay off at all? 

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