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Remote Working – Good Bad or Ugly?

EditorMuch has been written about the benefits of remote working – some contact centres embrace the concept citing increased productivity whilst others see it as much use as a Starbucks Caffeine free latte.

Having been ushered around too many contact centres than I care to remember it is clear that any of the contact centre agents can easily work remotely but what are the benefits?

Not having been in a position of actually running a contact centre perhaps it would be easier for me to write about how contact-centres.com works.

I am always of the opinion that happy workers make for productive workers which is why there is always the obligatory Starbucks percolated coffee on the go – the office is spacious, is filled with reminders of our many ‘staff outings’ – it is home to our company dog Barney (who sleeps most of the day) – has ‘break out areas’ where staff can go to gather their thoughts, catch up with Sky News or simply play on the Company XBox.

“7 out of 10 workers either work from home or have a colleague that does, 24% want to work from home more often and 15% would only take a job in the future if it was home-based” – (Jabra Survey)

So a perfect working environment – one that in any ways mirrors a typical contact centre albeit without the obligatory sleeping hound in the corner.

Towards the end of last year it was clear that as part of our expansion plans we either had to relocate or loose the ‘break out areas’ – After interviews were conducted it became obvious that each of the new recruits could, if required, work remotely from the office.

A study of 2,000 workers by cashback site Quidco.com found that in an average month, the biggest chunk of our wages is spent on commuting into work with fuel, train fares and parking fees totalling around £161 every month.

The obligatory high speed broadband was duly installed – access to the company’s main server authorised – Unified communications ordered from Jabra (Other UC companies available…) – simple.

Having been six months since the introduction of the ‘remote working policy’ what is striking is the increased number of hours being worked, mostly ‘outside’ the normal working hours and, perhaps more surprising, the ‘can do’ attitude which has now become almost a company motto.

“Organisations have long understood the potential of Homeworking the problem has been they’ve not known how to unlock that potential.” says Steve Mosser, CEO of the Sensée HomeAgent Network

The negatives? Most people are gregarious – is all well communicating by Skype but somehow it isn’t quiet the same as communicating face to face – as a result the company has now introduced a policy of closing mid-day Friday to enable either the staff to spend the afternoon with family or, as has been the case on numerous occasions, winding down at the local trendy over-priced wine bar mostly at the expense of the company – no problem says our Managing Director as without loyal and hardworking staff you haven’t a company.

Food for thought?

Have a good week ahead,

Regards

The Editor

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