Sharon Brown, Managing Director of Harbour Underwriting appeared as a panellist at the Women in Insurance event at the Tower Hotel, London on Monday 8 November discussing mental health in the context of a remote workforce.
An engaging panel discussion titled ‘Strategies for a remote workforce: How insurance leaders can make a difference in mental health’ opened by discussing the challenges faced by leaders during the pandemic and the new ones emerging as we move towards a more hybrid workplace.
Sharon said that although the pandemic was a shared experience, it is important to understand that what people have been through has been different for everyone, especially where people have lost loved ones. “The problem is with people hidden behind screens, it is hard to identify those people struggling with mental health issues,” she said.
“When you are in the office and chatting by the water cooler, you get some sense of how people are feeling, their mannerisms and how they are reacting to each other. You don’t get that when people are behind a screen, so it is important as we transition to this different way of working to adapt and find out exactly what it is we can do to help.”
The panel was led by Caren Thomas, HR director of the Chartered Insurance Institute and Sharon’s fellow panellists were Claire Weston, Head of Great Lakes Insurance SE in the UK, Steve Collinson, Head of HR at Zurich UK and Natalie Graham, SVP Head of Claims at Mosaic Insurance.
Issues discussed by the panel included burnout, the practicalities of remote working and the importance of destigmatising seeking help for mental health issues.
Highlights of an excellent event included an inspirational opening speech by double Olympic gold medallist Hannah Mills and a closing keynote by Amanda Scott, Managing Director of Willis Towers Watson, about how to emerge from the pandemic a strong leader.