My Homeworking Story (Episode 3): Living the Dream

Fiona was brought up on a small island in the Outer Hebrides and, for most of her life, has yearned for the day she could return to her birthplace, or a similarly remote location.

But work always got in the way. Fiona has had a long and fulfilling career working in the voluntary sector and undertaking community development work (including managing a Citizens Advice Bureau and running a Careers Centre) but this was mainly living in an around large cities in Scotland.

Five years ago, however, she figured it was time for a change. Partly this was because she had a medical condition that made traveling difficult but also because she wanted to do something at home.

Fiona says she found Sensée by accident. Soon after joining, however, she knew she’d made the right choice.

Fiona started working on the Argos account, moved to Aviva and then Photobox, before joining the Bupa team. This is when she really found her niche. “It’s challenging” she admits “but I’m a problem solver by nature and able to use my listening and counselling skills to good effect. I also find it the most rewarding account I’ve worked on at Sensée because you can really make a difference when dealing with matters of health and well being. It makes what you do feel very real.”

In 2020, Fiona upped stick and moved from Galashiels (near the English border) with her partner and five cats to a remote area at the very top of Sutherland. “We’re on a single track road, and the nearest house is 500 yards away” she explains. “The nearest big city is Inverness and that’s 150-200 miles away. But none of that makes any difference when it comes to doing my job effectively. We even have remarkably good broadband for such a remote location.”

“I can earn a living and be where I want to be. Plus, Sensée is probably the best place I have ever worked in terms of people engagement. Despite the fact that we all work remotely, you always feel part of the work community and never isolated. The training we receive is excellent too. I really am living the dream.”

My Homeworking Story (Episode 2): Coping with distractions

In the second article in our ‘Homeworking Stories’ series, Sensée Training Manager Sam Goldney explains another secret to her success as a homeworker.

Coping with Distractions

Sam GoldneySo you’ve dropped your daughter off at school crying and the teacher has peeled her off your leg as she fancies a day at home with Mummy.

The dog has chased a bird into what felt like the next county and wouldn’t come back so you’re running late to get back home with a sulky dog firmly on a lead.

The cat has brought a mouse into the house and it is currently squeaking its way round the lounge with said cat in hot pursuit….. and you need to be on a conference call with a new client in five minutes. Arrggghhhhhh!

All of those (and more) have happened to me during my work from home journey.  And I’d put part of my success at homeworking down to an ability to switch off and concentrate on the job in hand…. just as if I was in a contact centre where I wouldn’t have those distractions around me.

Here are my 9 tips for coping with distractions:

  1. If you have pets, shut them away in another part of the house so they don’t disturb you when you’re working
  2. Get dressed – it doesn’t have to be in a suit but the act of getting dressed ready for work psychologically amends your mindset
  3. Have a dedicated work space which is always kept clear so you can focus on the job in hand
  4. Switch off your phone or at least put it on silent and log out of all social media
  5. Ensure family members and friends know that you’re working. You can’t stop for a coffee if someone happens to ‘pop-in’ whilst you’re working
  6. Start the day with a realistic to do list and set yourself goals to achieve
  7. Stay active, stand up, stretch your arms. Generally avoid getting uncomfortable whilst you’re working
  8. Take breaks – get some exercise, plan a lunch time walk, or go for a bike ride or run. You’re always much fresher after exercise and it’s good for your mental health too
  9. Plan time to speak with your colleagues – then you can ignore the ping of Teams without worrying about appearing rude

Sensée and Allianz Partners homeworking team scoops top prize at the 2020 Northern Contact Centre Awards

Work-from-home specialist Sensée and Allianz Partners, a world leader in assistance, travel insurance, international health and mobility services, are delighted to announce that their customer service homeworking team was named Frontline Team of the Year at a virtual ceremony for the 2020 Northern Contact Centre Awards last Thursday night.

The Allianz Partners Homeworking team is made up of Customer Service Advisors, Trainers, Team Leaders, Managers and Quality Analysts and handles breakdown assistance and operational calls for many prestigious automotive manufacturers.

Lockdown has been an extremely busy time for the team, managing major changes as the Covid crisis affected the breakdown industry, with many new systems and processes needing to be introduced. Throughout it all, the team maintained its high quality and service standards. The Sensée team has also lent its experience and expertise to Allianz Partners as it transitioned its own personnel to work-from-home during lockdown.

The annual Northern Awards are a celebration of contact centre excellence for businesses operating in the North of England. Other winners at the Awards included The Co-op, Reassure, ATOS, Barclays, QASSS, RSA Motability, Slater Gordon Solutions Motor, Regenda Homes and IAG Loyalty. The event is organised and operated by Call North West, a networking organisation that supports over 700 contact centres in the region.

Sensée was also named joint winner in the Covid – Best Homeworking Programme category at the Awards.

“Congratulations to Call North West for organising such a highly entertaining virtual Awards evening” said Paul Whymark, Chief Operating Officer, Sensée. “The last few months have been a very testing time for everyone in the customer service industry and it was inspiring to witness the professionalism of people prepared to go the extra mile to help customers and deliver solutions. We are very proud of the hard work and dedication of the Allianz Partners Homeworking team and delighted that their achievements have been recognised with this Award.”

Sensée scoops top prizes at the 2020 Northern Contact Centre Awards

Huge congratulations to the Sensée and Allianz Partners homeworking team which, last night, was named Frontline Team of the Year at the 2020 Northern Contact Centre Awards during a glittering virtual ceremony.

The Sensée and Allianz Partners team handles breakdown assistance and operational calls for many prestigious automotive manufacturers.

Sensée was also named joint winner in the Covid – Best Homeworking Programme category at the Awards.

The annual Northern Awards are a celebration of contact centre excellence for businesses operating in the North of England. Other winners at the Awards included The Co-op, Reassure, ATOS, Barclays, QASSS, RSA Motability, Slater Gordon Solutions Motor, Regenda Homes and IAG Loyalty. The event is organised and operated by Call North West, a networking organisation that supports over 700 contact centres in the region.

“Many congratulations to Call North West for organising such a highly entertaining virtual Awards evening” said Paul Whymark, Chief Operating Officer, Sensée. “The last few months have been a very testing time for everyone in the customer service industry and it was inspiring to witness the professionalism of people prepared to go the extra mile to help customers and deliver solutions. We are very proud of the hard work and dedication of the Allianz Partners Homeworking team and delighted that their achievements have been recognised with this Award.”

(Contact Centre Webinar) People Development in a Virtual World

Date: Thursday 12th November 2020
Time: 12.00 pm to 13:00pm
Host: Jane Thomas, Managing Director, South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West

Adapting to the new world of contact centre homeworking – and doing so in a way that is ethical and works optimally for both businesses and their employees – is far from easy.

From learning how to connect remote workers securely to managing productivity & quality, and ensuring positive health & well being, the transition to homeworking has created a host of complex challenges. And those challenges are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

With 2021 fast approaching, we appear no closer to a full return to the office; work-from-home will be a key part of the contact centre landscape for some time to come.

In this webinar we look at how contact centres can move their homeworking operations to the next stage – including addressing employee engagement issues in these most difficult of times.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Who make the best homeworkers?
  • Virtual or office-based recruitment?
  • Virtual recruitment processes and on-boarding
  • Virtual or office-based training?
  • Induction and on-going training in a virtual world
  • eLearning and continuous learning
  • Team Leader training

The South West Contact Centre Forum/ Call North West will be joined by Mark Walton, CEO @ Sensée, Sarah Cocks, L&D Champion @ Sensée and Sam Goldney, Training Manager @ Sensée who will lend their expertise and experience to the debate.

During an extended Q&A session, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss their most burning People Development issues.

Agenda

12.00 – 12.05: Introductions and Agenda – Jane Thomas (SWCCF/CNW)
12.05 – 12.15: Homeworking in 2021 – Mark Walton (Sensée)
12.15 – 13.00: Question and Answer session – Jane Thomas (SWCCF/CNW) and Mark Walton, Sarah Cocks and Sam Goldney (Sensée)
13.00: Ends

Click here to register for the 12th November SWCCF and CNW Webinar

(Event recording) The Great Flexible Working Debate: Gig Working vs The Employed Model

Did you miss last week’s Great Debate organised by the Contact Centre Managers’ Association (CCMA)?

If so, you can click here to view and listen to a recording of the whole online event.

The Great Debate pitched Mark Walton, CEO, Sensée against Megan Neale, Co-Founder and COO, Limitless.  Mark was spokesperson for the Employed model and Megan for the Gig Working model.

Who won? You decide!