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COVID-19 has forever transformed the workspace. Even before New York state government officials mandated all non-essential businesses to work remotely, Softheon leadership decided to employ a work-from-home (WFH) policy. We knew we could prioritize the health of our loved ones and each other while also remaining committed to getting Americans the coverage they need.

After a few months of WFH, the Softheon team has acclimated to the new normal and has even found ways to excel during these unprecedented, challenging circumstances.

Last week, we reached a new milestone in number of employees to support our growing business needs. We are proud that we have been able to ramp up hiring of qualified professionals and invest in our local communities and economies during the pandemic.

Taylor Knepper, our Talent Acquisition Specialist, has worked hard to virtualize the hiring and onboarding process, while also prioritizing the human element of compassion. Knepper acknowledged, “Just because you may have a job offer from us, doesn’t mean your hard times are disappearing.”

In seeing how the pandemic has created new kinds of uncertainties for so many Americans, Taylor said she has been hyper-vigilant of communicating with applicants. She is constantly explaining next steps, whether that is telling an applicant when they should expect their next interview or telling a new hire when they should expect their equipment delivery. “I’m here for their concerns,” Knepper said.

Heather Carrillo, a Sales Analyst who recently went through the virtual interviewing and onboarding process, said she enjoyed the “camaraderie of figuring it out together” with her virtual onboarding class, though she admits it was a strange experience at first.

On WFH, Carrillo said, “Now that I’m in the groove, I like it. I get a lot of work done, and there’s no commute time.” To promote productivity, she works out of a spare bedroom that she only enters when it is time to work. “I treat it like an office,” she said. And she makes it feel like an office too, with pens, pencils and notebooks.

She acknowledges how the pandemic and its consequences have been overwhelming at times, but said she is very thankful to have a job at a growing company and to be involved with a “resilient industry.” Many of her friends in the hotel industry, where she worked before, are, unfortunately, unemployed. She is “thrilled” to be able to support the health insurance industry to get people the coverage they need right now. “It’s a very timely way to give back,” she explained.

Carrillo is not the only employee noticing increased productivity. According to Kevin Deutsch, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Health Plan Cloud, “Since moving to WFH, we have seen an increase in overall productivity by upwards of 20%. We have been able to achieve this increase in productivity through the utilization of dashboards and data to support every decision and oversight into our processes. We truly have made a seamless transition into the new normal.”

In addition to dashboards and data, Deutsch said reduced distractions from working from home has increased his productivity. By not having to commute to work or travel to meetings, he is less stressed and more focused.

Randeep Gupta, Director of Product Management, agrees that WFH has also brought him less distractions. If he really needs to hammer out a project, he can step away from work messaging applications. “There’s a lot more quiet time,” he said.

Deutsch and Gupta have also both found that WFH has helped their communication levels. “While I miss the face-to-face interaction, I am actually able to connect with more people more frequently utilizing video calls,” Deutsch said. Gupta similarly said, “The team knows communication is key, so everyone is proactively communicating via ticket tracking.”

As we also continue to communicate and work with our partners, we appreciate their cooperation in protecting our communities. Now more than ever, we remain steadfast in our mission to make healthcare more affordable, accessible and plentiful for all. And we keep those directly affected by COVID-19 in our thoughts.

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