During May of this year, employee engagement consulting firm 5th Talent International delivered a survey to more than 4,000 agents and supervisors across 7 countries. The findings provide unexpected insight into the point of view of the work at home employee. Common industry wisdom favors a 100% work at home model while suggesting that only certain types of agents can be successful at home.
Yet according to a large majority of participants, their performance was the same or better at home. This provides evidence that success can transfer from the contact center to the home. When asked where they want to work, the top choice of employees is a mix of working between home and the contact center. Less than half of the employees want to work entirely at home. An analysis of comments revealed that COVID-19 had little influence on their future work arrangement preference.
Employees did identify several challenges to the work at home model that could impact its long-term sustainability. They expressed for example, that it requires more effort to work with each other and customers when working remotely. Employees also expressed challenges with technology, feelings of loneliness, and frustration with impersonal, computer-based communication. The supervisor is the key to a successful and sustainable work at home model and needs to be trained to adapt their communication style, reduce the effort it takes to work with their team, and develop each agent to become more self-managing.
Another opportunity to improve the work at home model is by implementing a mixed model that allows employees to work between home and contact center, providing most of the benefits while reducing most of the negative factors of both work arrangements. This model is the top choice of employees because it accommodates individual preferences and optimizes employee satisfaction. Since most employees want to spend most of their time at home in a mixed model, companies can significantly reduce their contact center capacity, and potentially replace a single center with multiple microsites.
5th Talent believes a “work where you want” model will emerge which allows agents to manage and schedule how often they want to work at home and in the center. This promotes employees to become more self-managing which increases satisfaction, engagement, performance, and retention. It also reduces COVID-19 liability because they choose if (and when) they work in the center.
Organizations must understand each location to create their best-fit work at home model. Use the link below to obtain a copy of the 5th Talent Contact Center Work at Home Industry Study 2020. For a limited time, organizations can use the 5th Talent Work at Home Questionnaire to survey their agents and supervisors. There is no cost to use the questionnaire.
For the 5th Talent Contact Center Work at Home Industry Study 2020 click here