In previous posts, we’ve discussed what this sudden requirement to move the workforce home has meant for employers, but what has it meant from an agent’s perspective?
The past few months has seen hundreds of thousands of employees across EMEA move to a work-at-home (WAH) environment, many for the first time.
Just as companies have responded differently to the challenges and benefits of working from home, so too have agents. In most cases, agents have embraced the positive impact home working has had on their lives.
A recent survey of SYKES employees revealed that almost 2/3 would like to stay working from home permanently, or at least to some degree. Although many weren’t originally hired to work remotely, they’ve found that there are many personal benefits to being home-based.
One of the key reason’s stated why they would like to continue working from home was the improved work/life balance.
Many have habitually worked within a building throughout their careers. While this has always felt like the norm, it can often mean an hour commute each way to and from the centre. When working from home, agents have suddenly found that they’re getting those hours back. This might mean having time to exercise in the morning, more time to spend with their family, or time to prepare meals in the evening.
WAH also gives the flexibility to run errands and tackle chores around the house during breaks. This frees up time on weekends and days off as agents have ticked more off their to-do lists during the week.
It can also have a positive financial impact. Many noticed that they were making significant savings in areas such as travel and buying food on the go.
The vast majority found that their productivity increased significantly when working from home.
Being home-based removes many of the distractions that are found in an in-centre environment. For example, there are no random colleagues just popping by for a chat, meetings are less likely to run over and disruption by the general noise and activity of being in-centre are removed. This doesn’t mean that a home-based agent has no contact with their colleagues throughout their shift. Technology, like our OneTEAM platform, supports agents as they interact with team leads, ask and respond to questions within a secure messaging space, and catch up with colleagues in virtual team chat rooms during breaks. It also allows them to complete training and manage upcoming shifts.
Of course, it’s not for everyone
Not all agents have found the WAH experience a positive one. 1/3 of respondents to the survey stated that they were keen to get back to the office, with the primary driver being that they missed being around other people or realised that they didn’t have the space to work effectively from home. In a normal work-at-home programme these cases are identified during the recruitment process.
Going forward, companies need to keep in mind that the future of work isn’t about old, standard practices, but rather the ability to accommodate new ones. Employees who are given the flexibility to work at home for part, or all, of their working week, will be happier and more productive, resulting in a better customer experience.