By now, it’s no secret that a blended work model isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
While the push of the pandemic may have accelerated the timeline of the work-from-home movement, society has been heading toward a combination work from home and virtual workplace for a while. In fact, over 70% of the current workforce will be continuing with remote work in the coming years.
According to the National Association of Call Centers, more than half of the contact centers in the United States today (53 percent) have some percentage of their agent population functioning from a home office. As the contact center industry, and the world, continue to embrace remote workforces, we see the evidence toward positive blended work models increase, the benefits become obvious, and we learn how to overcome the challenges of working from home.
Today, we dive into the blended work model, and how to make it work in your organization.
- Increase Staffing Flexibility: Having a pool of work-from-home agents to call on when needed, on top of your on-location workforce, can be a huge benefit in handling busy seasons and unexpected call spikes.
- Increased Employee Satisfaction and Retention: Agents who enjoy remote work feel more empowered and satisfied in their position when they’re able to work from their own home. More satisfied agents lead to a higher retention rate, with one survey reporting the retention rate for at-home agents is 80%, compared to 25% for on-location agents.
- Shifting Between Multiple Contact Centers Is Easier: Large organizations with multiple locations can benefit immensely from remote agents, as they’re able to employ agents from anywhere in the world. Virtual training and onboarding is becoming more and more common, and remote workers can now be just as prepared for the job as on-location agents.
- Lower Operating Costs: Cloud contact centers and centers with smaller brick and mortar locations will naturally see lower overhead costs. Additionally, higher employee retention comes with decreased training costs as agent turnover decreases.
Adapting to a blended workforce, or a new work-from-home position, isn’t without its challenges. Being aware of your agents’ struggles and ensuring the organization stays on top of their needs is key to maintaining a successful blended workforce.
- No “On the Floor” Communication: Without a physical nesting area, agent communication may be limited. Making sure your team is well connected and has immediate access to the resources they need will help their day run smoothly.
- Harder to Escalate and Ask for Help: Agents feel stressed out and pressured if they don’t have the ability to ask for help. Beyond making sure there’s an open line of communication to their manager when needed, ensuring that your agents are fully trained and confident in even the toughest scenarios helps to reduce their stress, raises confidence in their abilities, and helps to provide an improved customer service.
- Isolation: Along the same lines of limited communication, working from home can be challenging when agents feel alone. Research shows that 41% adults living alone suffer from loneliness and isolation, and 60% feel a lack of companionship. Finding ways to connect your agents virtually, and ensuring they feel like a part of the team even if they’re working remote is a great motivator.
Adapt Your Current Training and Onboarding Practices
- Keep Your Agents in the Loop: There are many things employers can do to help keep their agents informed, such as having a reliable method of notifying everyone about process changes. It’s crucial to maintain a sense of continuity between your on-location, and remote agents.
- Ensure They Have the Necessary Resources at Their Disposal: Easy access to information is crucial for both workforces.
- Make Sure Your Agents Are Confident and Empowered: Agent empowerment can go a long way in the success of your organization. Agents that feel confident, empowered, and satisfied perform better and achieve higher CSAT scores.
Are you ready to get started with making the most of your blended workforce?