I think it is an understatement to say that claims professionals are under a lot of stress. Nowadays adjusters are forced to do more with less, so in addition to the normal claim investigations they also have to do a billion other things along the course of a normal day. Add in to that rigid auditing standards, service promises, increased claim counts, and the list goes on and on.
Below we talk about some easy ways to take some of the stress out of your life in order to improve your work-life balance.
- Don’t Get Intertwined in Social Media
In today’s world, everyone is a mouse click away. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on have made it possible that you can be connected to everyone, at all times, and the stresses of other people can become your stressors as well. In fact people can reach out to you and vent about their own problems, which can take time away from whatever project you are working on. So limit your social media interaction during work hours, and focus on the task at hand. If you choose to get involved in a Facebook discussion about some hot political topic, do it away from work on your own time when it will not distract you as much.
- Leave Your Desk For A While
I know plenty of adjusters that work 10-11 hour days, and they rarely leave their desk except to go to the printer or to hit the bathroom. Not only is this crazy, but it is also not healthy. Getting up and walking around for a bit can be relaxing, especially if you can head outside for a while and get some fresh air. Maybe go out to lunch every now and then and get away from that office atmosphere. You don’t have to do it every day, even one or two days a week can make a difference. The world is not going to fall apart just because you snuck out and got a piece of pizza on your lunch break.
- Decrease Your Social Engagements If Possible
Don’t get me wrong, heading to seminars or after work engagements can be a great way to network and share some down time with your friends or work peers. But you have to keep your events in check. If you have a crazy week and need the time to focus on other things, don’t be afraid to skip out on an engagement or two.
This can especially be true if you have kids that are active in sports or other things that can occur after your work hours during the work week. Maybe the thing to decrease is the amount of activities they are involved in, since you have to be the one to pick them up and drive them to basketball practice. Your kid doesn’t have to be on 3 basketball teams during the summer, and in doing this you can decrease their own time stressors as well. Or let them skip a few practices and go out for dinner, or go to a movie and spend some quality time with your children. If they miss a practice or two I doubt that their ability to hit free throws will decrease.
- Put a Cap on the Hours You Spend at Home Working
Many adjusters and other professionals have the ability to access their work from any computer at any time. This is a great thing to have when you need it, but it shouldn’t be something that you have to engage in all of the time, every single night, and every single week. If you fail to complete a few diary items, your employer is not going to go out of business and lay everyone off. You have to prioritize what you HAVE to do at home after work hours, and what you COULD do.
The hard part here is that the life of a claims adjuster is never caught up. Rarely can any adjuster be totally done with everything on every file at any given day. It’s like a constantly spinning wheel. But there are plenty of things that can wait until tomorrow. Your time after work is just that—your time. If you choose to spend it plowing through countless medical records for a file then fine, but ask yourself if this is something that has to 100% be done right now and cannot wait until the following day back at the office.
- Take Time to Enjoy Your Hobbies, or Start a New One
If you love to golf, and you have had to skip your golf league the last few times because of working late, you need to make sure your time is a priority. Working late can sometimes be unavoidable, but that doesn’t you can’t hit the driving range after you are done. Whether it be hitting golf balls, hiking at the park, bowling, or going for a run, take the time to enjoy your hobby of choice. Don’t put off that time and spending it in front of a computer.
These sports and hobbies are things you do to unwind and take your mind off the daily stress. Not only will doing this reenergize yourself, but it will give you that quality “Me” time that everyone needs. Pencil that time in the calendar, and be sure to stick to it. Make that a priority for once, instead of pushing it back time and time again.
In this profession we are all faced with a lot of different stressors, and they come at you from all angles. Injured workers are stressed out because their balance of life is off due to an injury. They are no longer working, no longer being productive, and they are worried about getting their own lives back in order. So we not only have to deal with our own life stressors, but we have to figure out a way to try and solve the stressors of our claimants day in and day out.
Most of the adjusters use the excuse that “If I take some vacation time away from the office my workload only gets worse, which puts me farther and farther behind.” Part or all of this may be true, but you get vacation time or paid time off for a reason. Nobody can work 365 days a year without going insane. Pencil that time off in your calendar and stick to it.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.