Navigating the Remote Work Hybrid

Navigating the Remote Work Hybrid

Apr 16, 2021

 

Who could have guessed that The Work From Home (WFH) Movement would continue well into 2021? Even though remote work rose by 173% between 2005 and 2018, the pandemic spawned a new WFH era with long-lasting consequences forcing the contact center industry to rethink how to keep agents happy, engaged and committed to customer success.

 

The Pajama Pants Uprising

It’s clear that companies now see the tangible benefits of providing employees with greater flexibility as to where and when they work. As of 2020, tech companies such as Shopify, Twitter and Square allow employees to work from home indefinitely, even after offices reopen. It’s hard to say how many companies will adopt a similar work from home strategy, but a 2020 Gartner survey indicates that 74% of companies will shift some employees to permanent remote work.

 

After analyzing employee preferences, performance and costs related to in-person versus virtual staffing, companies are evaluating or adopting a hybrid work model – a blend of remote and on-site work

 

Even though 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home, the WFH excitement is wearing off as remote workers are faced with a greater feeling of:

–  Isolation and loneliness

–  Anxiety

–  Zoom (virtual meeting) fatigue

–  Blurred lines between home and work life

–  Overwhelmed with compounded priorities (homeschooling, health, etc.)

To navigate this new reality, contact centers must rethink and reinvent their approach to employee engagement.

Optimizing The Employee Experience

Providing employees with a sense of connection can be a critical marker of employee engagement. Not only do strong connections at work promote individual wellness – it also impacts job performance. What’s more, a disengaged employee is 12 times more likely to leave their job than an engaged employee

So how can you promote employee engagement while allowing WFH flexibility?

 

1. Treat Employee Satisfaction As An Extension of Customer Satisfaction

You already know that employee satisfaction plays a critical role in customer satisfaction. Now more than ever, employees want (and demand) to feel valued on an individual level.  By 2025, millennials and Gen Z will make up 75% of the workforce. Much like your customers, they too want greater flexibility and options that align to their personal preferences.

–  The ability to work from home permanently

–  Work in a hybrid remote and in-office model

–  Greater control over their schedule

–  Additional options that promote self-governance

 

2. Keep Them Connected

To make WFH a viable option, contact centers must provide their agents with automation and connectivity tools that allow them to perform their tasks from any location. These tools must be user-friendly and efficient, otherwise agent dissatisfaction will grow leading to lost productivity and poor customer satisfaction.

Cloud-based contact center solutions and Artificial Intelligence-enabled digital channels provide agents with the features and functionalities they need to ease the agent function and create integrated customer interactions. For the contact center, investing in these remote enabled solutions is also an investment in cybersecurity.

 

3. Facilitate Continuous Communication and Regular Feedback

Regular communication and feedback are an essential component in alleviating employee isolation. Instead of waiting for an annual performance review, some companies are adopting more frequent touchpoints that address issues and challenges before they evolve into more serious problems. And perhaps as important, achievements and milestones should be acknowledged and celebrated providing employees room to grow and evolve.

Supervisors will need to invest considerable time with their agents on both the individual and team front to ensure that they are not only engaged, but also able to meet their goals. With greater compassion and empathy, contact centers can make their remote workforce feel valued and part of a greater team.

 

 4. Virtual and In-Person Events

And though we may be tired of after-hour virtual get-togethers, virtual events are still necessary. Managers should use these laid-back events as opportunities to check-in on agent wellness and keep enthusiasm high. With regularly scheduled virtual events, managers can instill a sense of fun and connection, and provide moments of team connection. And as we slowly return to in-person opportunities, regular formal and in-formal team events can reignite engagement and boost satisfaction.

 

It’s too soon to say whether the WFH movement will become a successful mainstay. What we do know, is that to be successful, you must invest in digital transformation and employee engagement.

Not sure where to start? Our WFH experts can evaluate your remote work environment and propose avant-garde solutions that will keep you aligned with the ever-evolving landscape.

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