Agent Adaptation in a Work-from-Home World; Developing a Work-From-Home Model that Works for Your Company and Employees
As companies determine their post-COVID “new normal,” workspace planning must take into account employee productivity, satisfaction, and engagement. An engaged employee is a productive employee, so contact center managers should survey employees on various workplace topics, including productivity self-assessments, workplace happiness, loneliness, and technology accessibility.
How can a contact center business maximize employee productivity and satisfaction through a remote work model?
It is important to measure employee performance against established KPIs to get real data on employee performance while working from home. Employee surveys are also important to gauge employee satisfaction and self-assessment. Engaged employees are productive employees, and satisfaction is a significant measurement to understand what balance is right for your business.
Remote Employee Performance
According to a survey by 5th Talent, agent perception of their performance while working from home versus working at an office was significantly higher on all KPIs, including adherence, absenteeism, resolution, satisfaction, etc.
An important factor to note is that customer satisfaction and hold time metrics were improved when agents worked from home. Meaning when agents reaped the personal benefits from working from home, they achieved better results with customers, which has a tangible effect on the business' bottom line.
In this survey, supervisors also perceived better performance from agents, though on a slightly lesser scale.
When supervisors are trained in managing a remote workforce, their perceptions and outlook tend to improve. The training keeps the team engaged and boosts productivity, even while working from different locations.
Employee Work Location Preference
The majority of the 4,000 agents surveyed prefer a mix of working from home and going to the office, followed closely by those who wish to work 100 percent from home.
Many employees enjoy the socialization and connectivity that comes with working in the office, but hold equal value to the perks from working from home, such as avoiding a commute and its associated expense, not to mention the additional family time and the inherent flexibility that comes with working at home.
Only four percent of respondents indicated a preference for working completely in the office.
With results such as this, many offices are completely rethinking their workspace needs. Space is costly, and if employees are productive and happy without office space, a work-from-home arrangement benefits everyone.
Challenges to Working at Home
While working from home seems like an easy solution, some challenges come with it. Many employees experience frustrating power or connectivity issues, resulting in a decrease in productivity and an increase in troubleshooting.
Many employees also find it challenging to engage with co-workers, supervisors, and HR.
When planning for a home-based workforce, a business must invest in technology tools to bolster its infrastructure. This makes it possible for many employees to access the systems at once without dropped calls or lost connection. The investment in workspace now can be diverted into technology and digital infrastructure instead.
Employee engagement is also a challenge for a fully-remote workforce. Many employees report feelings of loneliness and disconnection when they work fully from home. With a global pandemic raging in our communities, that’s not hard to fathom.
However, these data are not inclusive of COVID-related responses. Therefore, it is important to build a work-from-home strategy that includes employee engagement to avoid those feelings of isolation in your workforce members.
While we know that happy employees are productive employees, it stands to reason that lonely employees may struggle with productivity at times and even may consider leaving the company. To avoid the attrition that comes with the lack of engagement, companies must plan ahead for this.
Solutions that Work for Employees and Companies
Every company is going to need a different set of solutions to serve its unique workforce. By taking the following five steps in planning workplace solutions, a company can determine the right solution to maximize employee morale and productivity.
- Understand preferences and needs: Don’t guess. Survey employees and get input on a variety of factors. Creating a plan without understanding its impacts is a sure recipe for failure.
- Create a cross-functional task force: There are many angles to workplace solutions and many inputs needed, from legal to HR, to operations and IT. Gather leaders from every line of business to collaborate based on their unique skills and role in the company.
- Assess opportunities and challenges: Understand the full spectrum of options and their associated costs and benefits before making a decision. Use objective information and be upfront about the sustainability of each option.
- Design a plan: The plan should account for any perceived challenges and create a roadmap for sustainability. It should also have contingencies and room for adjustment as lessons are learned.
- Test, analyze, adjust: Monitor the plan and be flexible to change if the need arises.
The New Normal
The COVID pandemic has proven to many companies what a select few already knew: most employees are just as, if not more, productive while working from home. When employees are comfortable with their workplace arrangement, they will deliver positive business results with less turnover. A work-from-home arrangement can grow a company’s profits through greater productivity, employee and customer satisfaction, and reduced expenses.
If your business needs a work-from-home CX model that works for your company and employees, reach out to us at SuperiorCX@transcom.com.