Telecommuting is an offsite, operations program for call centers around the world. Millions of agents are working from home today. Yet, while it may be advantageous for you to consider. It may not be right for you, your call center environment, or your managers and agents. So, what are the advantages to telecommuting?
According to the North American Quitline Consortium’s “Call Center Metrics: Fundamentals of Call Center Staffing and Technologies,” they list 7 advantages to telecommuting.
Clearly, during peak times, having the proper number of agents covering the phones is paramount. That goes without saying. But, what about off-peak hours? Telecommuting for your ‘best and brightest’ agents can be a great, win-win for your center. First, it can build-in a natural incentive for growing agents to work to earn the trust of management to work from home. Secondly, it can provide a consistency of service by having the seasoned, veteran agents working from home when the phone calls are inconsistently ringing. As you know, it’s during those off-peak times when agents can get distracted by filling the time with other things to do that can cause a dip in high-quality, focused call service. However, a flexible schedule as a reward for your best agents is a great way to incorporate telecommuting.
Real Estate Savings
Workspaces are expensive. They generally start at about $2000 per cubicle. Then, add the hardware and the price goes up from there. So, another reason to consider telecommuting is the savings to your bottom line. When you consider other amenities required to make the working conditions competitive and conducive for optimal performance, like cafeterias, furniture, conference rooms, etc., the costs can literally go through the roof! Thinking of agents’ homes as workstations are a way of passing on the cost to them while giving them more autonomy throughout their workdays. It’s a good trade for everyone when managed properly.
Expanded Labor Pool
This one is great because it can score you points with the ADA (American Disabilities Act). Many great agents are ones who don’t have the use of their hands, feet, arms or legs. They have difficulty just commuting. However, many have a rare combination of compassion, language, charm and approachability over the phone. Also, there are valuable agents who are restricted to their homes simple because they have parents who cannot take care of themselves. If it makes sense, why not take advantage of a situation that can benefit the agent and your call center by employing a homebound
Quality of life is an increasingly popular incentive for agents. As you know, the call center workday has more than it’s fair share of stressors. Agents who telecommute from home have more time to recover from those stressors, especially when they avoid a transportation commute that can amount into tens of hours a month. Furthermore, investing in agents is expensive. You want to retain the best ones, of course. Many times, your best agents have spouses who are relocated by their employers. What better way of retaining them is there than allowing them to telecommute from their spouses’ relocation?
Comfort, increased job satisfaction, and decreased distractions are the factors that make up increased productivity from telecommuting agents. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If the agent has created a comfortable, home environment, then it stands to reason how much more productive a responsible, hard-working, mature agent would be. The payoffs of greater job satisfaction and fewer distractions provide benefits for everyone.
Nothing is more threatening to your call center than contagious illnesses! When the flu starts, what is the first item of business to address in the next floor meeting? Sure, you remind your center about the protocols of healthy living and what to do after one gets sick. Again, telecommuting can allay fears of spreading an outbreak of malaria if you have some strong agents working from their homes. Also, if your call center is on a coastline or in the north, chances are great that in the next 12 months, the weather will play a factor in your center’s productivity. If a hurricane on the coast or a blizzard in the north threatens, what will you about the demand for numbers in your call center?
For all of my eco-friendly colleagues, carbon footprints have an impact on the environment. One way to diminish the impact of each agent’s footprint is to allow agents to telecommute. Less carbon emissions means more clean air for all.
Encouraging telecommuting in your call center has even more advantages than the 7 listed in this post. Overall, making your center a destination for all agents will get you the best the market has to offer. Agents talk to each other. And, the best ones know each other. So, by entertaining and managing a telecommuting program, you will be able to take advantage of the best talent and maximize your leverage for greater productivity.
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