In recent weeks, a few articles in the press have talked about employers’ use of “spyware” on employees working from home.

The call centre industry, in particular, is flagged as an offender, with claims that companies simply don’t trust their employees now that the majority are home-based.

But is this really the case?

Surveillance vs Monitoring

The use of ‘surveillance’ or ‘spying’ is emotive, creating images of Big Brother-style CCTV cameras capturing each employee’s every movement and word. This is a worrying term, which naturally raises concerns about personal privacy.

But this is far from what is really being discussed. Rather than sinister surveillance, the discussion is actually about monitoring – knowing how someone is working, the keystrokes they use, how they search information, if they’re available to take a call, if they’re on a break, etc.

Monitoring is normal

In a high production environment, as in customer service where many people are doing the same job, most companies monitor, record and review customer interactions handled by their staff. How else would they determine average production, help and support colleagues, and establish if support is working efficiently?

Whether Customer Service (CS) Colleagues are based at home or in an office, it’s normal to work to required standards. And the only way for businesses to confirm this is by monitoring activity and outputs.

Call monitoring and recording, measuring keystrokes and knowing when a CS colleague is available to take the next call is normal in a customer-facing environment.

Technology makes this more accessible and helpful for those now home-based. And these tools create a safe and secure space for all stakeholders.

For example:

  • Support not surveillance

Home-based CS Colleagues need to communicate with their team lead or supervisor to function daily. Tools such as chat rooms, video conferencing for coaching and one-to-one performance reviews, call monitoring and shared desktop portals all provide reassurance that support is there and available when it’s needed. When used effectively, these are incredibly useful for providing help in real-time.

  • Risk management

When CS Colleagues handle personal or sensitive data, such as financial information, technology supports them by restricting their access to only the information that’s necessary to carry out each transaction. This assures the business that customer data is secure and legitimately accessed while protecting the colleague, and ensures they are never put in a position where they can access more than they need.

  • Working environment

Visual monitoring might be used at certain check points in a support programme, however, this doesn’t mean the camera will be turned on with no notice. As with any normal need to communicate, proper warning must be given, or a time and date agreed. This might be used to ensure agents are working safely and appropriately, in their secure home environment. Technology helps by, for example, leveraging facial recognition software to provide multi-factor authentication at login, reduce the need for ongoing monitoring, while still achieving required layers of security and satisfy risk management needs.

SYKESHome recognises the many benefits that home-based support offers to both our Brand Partners and CS Colleagues. Supporting SYKESHome, OneTEAM provides a team overview, individual monitoring of customer interactions and colleague statuses, one-to-one colleague conversation, team chats and calls, coaching and much more.

To find out more about SYKESHome, and how OneTEAM can help your business, please get in touch!

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