Looking to say thank you to the people who have supported your business through the tough last few months?
Last night, SensĂ©e, the work-from-home contact centre specialists, teamed up with Bubbledogs to meet its clients, partners and friends online for a novel Grower Champagne Tasting virtual event.
Ran entirely virtually via Zoom, the event featured an educational session on Grower Champagne from TV sommelier and presenter Sandia Chang, a fun champagne quiz, and the opportunity to sample two amazing grower champagnes. Guests also received a hot dog home kit so they could create Bubbledogs’ most-loved hot dogs from the comfort of their own kitchens.
âConducting business effectively in a virtual world has been a learning experience for everyoneâ said Mark Walton, CEO of SensĂ©e. âIt calls for a virtual approach to everything that you do, and that includes how you recognise the value of those that are the vital to the success of your business. We felt that the event was a big hit. Sandia and the Bubbledogs team were very professional and entertaining, and it was a great way to say a big thank you to clients and others that we work most closely with.â
ONLINE SEMINAR:Â Wed 14 Oct 2020,Â 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Over the last few months the vast majority of UK contact centres have operated on a work-from-home basis and, for most, itâs been a steep learning curve.
Initially, concerns about connectivity and the health and well-being of remote workers dominated. Then management and performance issues took centre stage, with many centres experiencing severe challenges as sickness levels increased, and both productivity and staff engagement fell.
Now, contact centres must decide on the way forward. Will it be 100% homeworking or hybrid office/homeworking? How will staggered rotas work? Will work-from-home be voluntary, compulsory, or both?
For this online seminar, the CCMA has invited SensĂ©e to share its experiences of managing homeworking teams.
Topics to be covered include:
- The importance of creating a complete end-to-end homeworking technology ecosystem
- Why your Virtual Workplace must, as closely as possible, replicate the physical office environment
- Employee engagement in a virtual world
- Remotely managing performance, productivity and quality
- Monitoring the health and well-being of homeworkers
- Infosecurity in a virtual world
- Should you treat your homeworkers and office-based staff the same â or differently?
- The benefits of homeworking: a real life case study of how homeworking has increased productivity & CSAT and reduced cost & attrition
- Great tips and advice on managing homeworking teams
Sign up today to find out how your business can get more from homeworking â and get answers to your burning issues from SensĂ©eâs experienced Consultants, Operations Managers and Team Leaders.
Planning ahead when the future is as uncertain as it is today is difficult. But youâve got to start somewhere. So how about with a list of objectives, and a list of âhighly probableâ circumstances and conditions under which you are likely to operate in 2021?
When it comes to running customer contact operations, your objectives for 2021 may well look similar to those this year. For example, to deliver excellent customer experiences and create positive outcomes. To improve customer satisfaction & loyalty. To keep your people engaged, motivated and happy, while looking after their mental health & well being. To cut costs…. and so on.
The problem comes when trying to define the circumstances and conditions that will prevail next year. For the truth is we simply donât know. Social distancing and staggered rotas look set to remain, and with a strong possibility of future Covid-19 spikes, no-one can confidently base their planning on the likelihood of having open and fully populated offices. We also donât know what effect a subsequent Covid-19 spike would have on the nature and volume of customer contacts, peopleâs ability to travel, or on employeesâ mental health & well being.
So where does that leave contact centre planning? Well we know (if you believe the research) that the majority of businesses are planning to open their bricks and mortar (B&M) contact centres in 2021. Indeed when asked âWhat Will Your Working Environment Mainly Look Like in 2021?â 57% of UK contact centre leaders interviewed as part of the Call North West/SWCCF/Talkdesk Post Lockdown survey said that they expected it to most closely resemble a Socially Distanced B&M Centre, with 35% expecting it to look like a Work-from-Home centre, and only 7% a Normal Contact Centre. And if thatâs the case then the vast majority of contact centres are highly likely to be operating hybrid models in 2021 (i.e. part B&M centre working and part homeworking).
If you are considering a hybrid model, here are six things to consider:
- Homeworking isnât for everyone: The public debate around homeworking during lockdown has often focused on whether homeworking is a good idea or whether office workers are more productive. But is that the right question? I would say that itâs more important to ask âWhen would homeworking work effectively for us?â and âWho would make an ideal homeworker?â If youâre operating a hybrid model, prioritise those who WANT to work from home as full or part time homeworkers, not those who donât want to or those who are less productive working-from-home.
- Flexible scheduling is key: Almost three-quarters of contact centre homeworkers choose to work-from-home to have a better work-life-balance (WLB) according to the 2020 UK HomeAgent survey, with 44% saying that they can self-select their working hours. Flexible hours is a key benefit of homeworking especially if it means people can fit work in around their other daily priorities. So consider flexible scheduling as an incentive to encourage people to homework, including the use of split shifts. 49% of Employers responding to the 2020 UK HomeAgent survey said that they currently allow their homeworkers to work multiple shifts on a single day.
- Donât just assume your in-house technology and systems are suited to homeworking: Just because your technology is cloud-delivered doesnât mean that itâs optimised for homeworking. Does your workforce scheduling technology enable homeworkers to self-schedule and work split shifts for example? Does your training platform support virtual training? Does your communications technology provide a virtual community workspace for homeworkers with live chat and team rooms? If not, you may benefit from a technology ecosystem thatâs purpose-built for homeworking.
- Pay particular attention to peopleâs well being: Anxiety/Mental Health has been the biggest concern for organisations operating work-from-home centres during the current crisis according to the Call North West/SWCCF/Talkdesk Post Lockdown survey, with 66% of contact centre leaders stating that it had been a signiïŹcant or very signiïŹcant issue. Only 25% of leaders saw Anxiety/Mental Health as being less of a challenge across their entire estates in 2021, with 30% seeing it as more of a challenge.
- Treat homeworkers and in-house personnel the same (wherever possible): If you are operating a hybrid model itâs important that you donât penalise employees for choosing to work-from-home or work from the office. While itâs not always possible to deliver the same advantages to both sets of workers (e.g. you canât lay on free fruit, coffee and games machines for homeworkers), itâs important that you set similar expectations when it comes to contact handling quality and performance.
- Recognise the uniqueness of the work-from-home environment: As many organisations have found to their cost in recent months, if you simply lift employees out of a contact centre, ask them to work from home, and then not give them the right tools then the move can be counterproductive, leading to lower productivity, lower morale, high instances of absence, mental health issues and lower revenues/profit. Do it properly, and thereâs plenty of evidence that homeworking can boost productivity, reduce absenteeism/attrition, cut costs and generate huge work-life-balance benefits. Recognise the uniqueness of the work from home environment and ‘overcompensate’ and ‘overcommunicate’ if appropriate!
According toÂ Rightmove, the number of City residents contacting estate agents to buy a home in a village rose by 126% in June & July 2020 compared to the same period last year.
This increase in buyers looking to move outside cities began in April according to the company and is continuing, with the uplift in village enquiries most notable among people living in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Birmingham & London.
Rightmove’s announcement mirrors our own experiences.
“The current crisis has led to a lot of people re-evaluating and re-prioritising various aspects of their work and home lifeâ said Mark Walton, CEO of SensĂ©e âand it is no surprise to read that some are opting for a simpler life away from the cities.
“The rise of homeworking over the last few months will have played a part in decision-making as many people have not only come to realise that they can work from home but also that they can do so effectively.”
74% of long-term homeworkers say that a better work-life-balance is a key benefit of work-from-home according to The 2020 UK HomeAgent Survey.Â 86% say that they incur no travel-to-work costs, and 81% that they have removed time wasted travelling to work.
(Pic) SensĂ©e homeworkers – some views from the office window. Top row L-R: Tracey (Menai Strait, Gwynedd, Wales), Nicola (Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan); Bottom row L-R: Â Cherie (Looe, Cornwall), Beverley (Snowdonia National Park, Wales), and a cycle ride after work with Hannah (Wasdale, Lake District)