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In the past few years since its creation, Collector.Live! has become a mainstay of debt collection company education for all levels of the industry. It’s not surprising, at such a difficult-to-navigate time, many well-known ARM professionals answered the call to put on a special Home Edition of the event.
Unlike past paid events, Collector.Live! Home Edition was held at no cost to attendees. All the organizers asked was for donations from anyone able to give. The event raised more than $20,000 for first responders of the Covid-19 crisis.
Not only will that money benefit the community, but the content of the conference will also benefit all those in the ARM industry who attended – from front line collectors to agency owners. Each speaker focused on timely industry topics to help others navigate this unique reality we’re facing. One point of discussion for many speakers was the considerations and challenges that come with working from home.
Home Office Set Up to Meet AR Needs
In March, many businesses were forced to find work-from-home solutions with very little notice. The adjustment has been difficult for managers, compliance officers and owners as well as front-line staff. Many of the Collector.Live! speakers addressed the challenges of working from home during their sessions.
“All of our rules of the road apply, no matter where you are working.”Leslie Bender
Home Office Security
Maintaining FDCPA, HIPAA and payment security and compliance – all while protecting consumer privacy – can be tricky with remote workers. When you can’t standardize the workspaces you and other agents are using at home, there is higher risk of noncompliance or data breaches.
Leslie Bender, Chief Strategy Officer & General Counsel, BCA Financial Services, Inc., provided many tips on creating a home office that is functional, yet still mindful of security. A few of her home office set up tips include:
- Avoid Third Party Disclosure - Disclosure violations are more likely to become an issue in a home office. Be aware of the other people in your home, and consider whether they may be able to hear private work calls. Consider using a private room that is further away from the “high traffic” areas of your home to prevent others from overhearing your conversations.
- Report security incidents right away - There is always a chance something may go wrong, even if you try your hardest to prevent a security incident. In the event that you may have been victim to security risks or a data breach, write down the date, time, detailed description of what happened and what actions you have taken to that point. Then, be sure to report the incident through the correct channel in your company so it is properly handled.
- Privacy and video conferences - Be aware of windows or documents that are open on your computer when you are sharing your screen during a video conference. Become familiar with functions such as mute to prevent unwanted background noise. Also, this can help protect the privacy of others in your home so their conversations aren’t audible during your meetings.
Productivity While Working from Home
Many people are finding it hard to maintain past levels of productivity while working from home. While some interferences may be unavoidable, LaDonna Bohling, Chief Compliance Officer, Receivable Solutions, Inc., explains there are many simple ways to make your home workplace as functional as possible.
The main piece of advice for those working from home mentioned throughout Collector.Live! is to treat your home office just as seriously as a traditional professional setting. “It’s always been a golden rule to leave your work at work and your home life away from the job,” says Bohling. “Now, our work has invaded our home life. It can be frustrating, it’s confusing. We need to learn how to draw some lines and establish some best practices for the workplace.”
Bohling says that a dedicated workspace with ample area for your office equipment keeps you focused and reduces wasted time you’d spend moving throughout different areas of your home trying to get comfortable. She also advises keeping screens at eye level to maintain good posture and to use noise-canceling headphones, a fan or white noise machine to drown out distractions.
Irene Hoheusle, Vice President of Collections and Education, Account Recovery Specialists, Inc., also spoke during the virtual conference about the challenges of our new remote work reality. Her presentation focused on looking at the positive side of this time when most of normal life feels like it’s on hold. Not being able to take part in regular activities naturally gives us extra time to spend reflecting on goals and improving ourselves personally and professionally.
“Plan, plan, plan and then execute your plan. Make it flexible enough to change when you have no choice but strict enough so you feel like you’re making a difference in what you’re doing.”Irene Hoheusle
She says the first step to improving, even in this remote work environment, is to prepare your mindset. Maintain your everyday routine – wake up early, shower, get dressed and make your bed. Treat your work routine at home the same as you would treat a day preparing to go to the office. Hoheusle also advises getting to bed early on work nights. If you are not physically prepared for the tasks ahead each day, you will not be mentally prepared either. This will distract you from your self-improvement goals.
As a sponsor of Collector.Live!, PDCflow is proud to be part of the collaborative spirit of the event. There was so much information offered throughout the day, we are hoping to continue this attitude of professional cooperation by providing session highlight recaps throughout the next few weeks.
Don’t miss our next installment of this special Collector.Live! Home Edition recap. Subscribe to the PDCflow blog.