Sensée Creates 500 New Work-from-Home Contact Centre Roles

Sensée, the work-from-home specialist, is creating 500 new permanent and temporary positions to meet the growing demand for homeworking staff.

The vacancies are for Customer Contact Advisors, Team Managers and back office staff to work for new and existing clients. Start dates are immediate.

Applications from people of all backgrounds, levels of experience, gender and age are welcome. Contact centre experience is preferred but not essential. Customer service and other job-specific training is provided.

Sensée is the UK’s only 100% work-from-home contact centre specialist with fully-employed homeworkers. The company has 17 years experience of operating and refining its homeworking model and manages customer contacts on behalf of many household brands as well as a number of Government departments.

“We are delighted to announce these new permanent and temporary roles in response to the growing demand for work-from-home personnel” said Paul Whymark, Chief Operating Officer of Sensée. “A vast number of people have experienced the benefits of homeworking during lockdown and many are now considering their options as organisations contemplate a full time return to the office. We predict a major surge in demand for full and part time homeworking careers where people can balance work with their other daily tasks and priorities.”

Candidates can apply today for the new roles at www.sensee.co.uk

When is homeworking right for you?

Sensée maybe a business that’s been 100% homeworking (and promoting home and hybrid working best practice) for over 17 years but we’ve always been the first to recognise that homeworking isn’t for everyone.

So how do you know when it is likely to  work? And how do you estimate its true potential?

With the Government currently considering its stance on ‘advising’ businesses to go back to the office, and many organisations announcing their post lockdown office-versus-home strategies, there’s never been a better time to address those questions.

Deloitte’s recent statement certainly attracted a lot of attention. The professional services giant said that 20,000 UK workers can decide how often they come into the office once the pandemic is over ‘in balance with their professional and personal responsibilities’.

It is a bold move, and in contrast to some of its rivals.  PwC, for example, said it expects its workers to spend at least 40% of their time with colleagues, in the office, or on client visits, once COVID-19 restrictions allow; while it was reported in May that EY expects UK workers to spend around two days a week working from home, splitting the rest of their time between the office and client workplaces.

The only logical conclusion one can draw is that there’s no blueprint for hybrid working success yet, even amongst those in the same sector.

Another interesting question raised by Deloitte’s move is ‘when will homeworking be in balance with someone’s professional and personal responsibilities?’ For it’s not always down to the individual to decide whether work-from-home (WFH) is desirable or appropriate.  Sometimes it’s more down to the employer.

The obvious example is when a job is location-specific. If you work in a shop or a factory, WFH is rarely an option (unless of course you take your business online).  The same is true if you run a leisure centre or play football.

Then there are those who can’t do their jobs as effectively at home because their employers don’t provide the virtual tools and processes to enable them to do so. Being a Management Consultant who can operate effectively with a computer, a broadband connection, a phone and a headful of knowledge is one thing. Being a contact centre advisor that works as part of team, reliant on specialist systems and processes to operate, communicate, manage, train and schedule efficiently  is something else.

To operate WFH successfully often takes a virtual mindset across everything from recruitment to scheduling and that can take a lot of planning, knowledge, investment – and commitment.

When considering your hybrid options, it is also important to take into account that many people don’t want to WFH. It is probably not what they signed up to when they joined your business.

Some people – and especially younger age groups – crave the social interaction and the coffee machine chat they get in the office. The drive into work can be a valued part of their daily work routine too. It is part of who they are… and we are all different.

There are advantages to working in the office just as there are advantages to working from home. Where WFH works best is when the advantages of ‘voluntary’ homeworking (flexible working hours, no commute to work, no time wasted travelling to work etc.) outweigh the advantages of working in the office. And then, only when your job is conducive to WFH and your employer has made all the necessary investments and prepared properly for the move.

There’s been a temptation during lockdown to think of WFH in binary terms: i.e. it’s a good idea or a bad idea. Home and hybrid working is actually a lot more complex than that.

(Online Workshop) Communications, Training and Colleague Engagement in a Hybrid World

Chair: Jane Thomas, South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West
Date: July 1st 2021
Time: 12.00 to 13.00pm

In this interactive Q&A panel session, we will discuss the importance of Communications, Training and Colleague Engagement in the new world of Hybrid (home/office) working and 100% work-from-home (WFH).

  • Are there quick solutions when it comes to Colleague Engagement
  • How will the role of the Team Leader change post-lockdown?
  • What role can Communications play in keeping Engagement high? And the role of on-going Training?
  • How do we ensure home and office-based employees are treated the same?
  • What should a homeworker set up look like?
  • What does a great TL development programme look like?

Jane Thomas will be joined by experts from Sensée, the Work From Home specialists: Andrea Daggett (Trainer), Sarah Birch (Department Head) and Caroline Pile (Team Leader).

Agenda

12.00 – 12.05: Introductions and Agenda (Jane Thomas)
12.05 – 12.15: What Will The World of Hybrid Work Look Like? (Sarah Birch)
12.15 – 12.35: Q&A panel (Jane Thomas with Andrea Daggett and Caroline Pile)
12.35 – 13.00: Open Floor Q&A session led by Jane Thomas

We hope you can join us.

Register for the online workshop

Is The Office Water Cooler Really A Font Of Innovation?

Most of the supporters of office culture say that you don’t get those all-important water cooler conversations when working from home. There is no random meeting with people from outside your immediate team or serendipity. Innovation comes from bouncing ideas around a busy office.

But the reality is usually nothing like that. Many people are dreading a return to the office not because it means they will have to start commuting again – although that is a good reason in itself – but because they feel lonely and isolated. They don’t enjoy the shallow relationships they have in the office environment. They feel more connected to colleagues through digital tools rather than physical proximity.

Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of organisational behaviour at the Insead business school in France, and Constance Hadley, an organisational psychologist at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business recently published a study in the MIT Sloan Review after interviewing hundreds of executives just before the pandemic.

Almost 80% of the research participants said they struggle to connect to team members and 58% felt that their work relationships are superficial. The study suggests that when work structures were more strictly hierarchical it allowed better relationships to form because workers spent more time with people doing similar tasks. The global 24/7 team is more agile and cost-effective, but people can be working on different time zones or hopping in and out of projects for short periods.

The Financial Times recently quoted one of the workers featured in this study: “I am interchangeable, they have made it so anyone can do my job on the team. Maybe they would miss me, but I am not so sure.” This loss of camaraderie cannot be fixed just by getting everyone back in the office again, it is a cultural failing if workers feel that they are merely an interchangeable cog in the machine.

It’s clear that some professional jobs require an in-person experience – banking or consultant roles that rely on apprentices learning on the job rely on this – but in most cases office-based jobs can be performed remotely. The past year has proven this and most companies are now exploring a hybrid future where workers can stay at home more often.

However, this Insead research demonstrates that for many professionals there is no daily lightning bolt of innovation by the water cooler, merely the drudge of listening to conversations about football, nights out, and the soaps. Banter doesn’t lead to productivity or a feeling of control over your working day.

Many digital natives, particularly those in Generation Z and millennials, are familiar with tools that allow them to interact virtually with friends and colleagues. When these workers say that they have better relationships with remote colleagues than the people they work with in the office, then you know that there is a cultural problem in your organisation. Hauling everyone back to the office is not the answer.

 

(Free eBook) Work-Life Balance: How To Get More From Homeworking

Sensée’s recently published ebook ‘How’s Your Work-Life Balance?’ explores twenty tried and tested tips to help homeworkers get a better work-life balance.

This is an important subject as over 90% of contact centre workers were working from home during lockdown (Source: Gartner) and Sensée’s own research found that 86% of companies that used home working during the pandemic were considering it as a long-term strategy.

The ebook was primarily created for Sensée’s own homeworkers, but is now freely available.

Sensée’s homeworkers have always chosen to work-from-home (WFH) – so their situation is different to most office-based workers affected by the pandemic. However, a lot has changed since 2019. Many workers forced to WFH during the pandemic may soon be asking their employers for more flexible work schedules. And most employers are now in the process of defining how they will manage the slow return to normality that is becoming possible because of the vaccination rollout.

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to work from home. There is no typical homeworker but one reason is repeated more often than others when homeworkers are asked to explain their preference for avoiding the office: work-life balance.

If your life involves caring for children, caring for elderly relatives, living with a disability, or living in a remote location then the idea of a long commute to an office followed by eight to ten hours in an office, followed once again by a commute home isn’t a positive vision of how work should be. We all have responsibilities away from our job, but too many people are often forced to make difficult choices about how to prioritise these activities.

Many people actively seek home working opportunities because they want to balance these responsibilities with their work. They want to remain employed and to gain the sense of achievement and fulfilment we all get from working, but not at the expense of everything else in their life.

Recent research by Citrix found that 90% of Millennials and Generation Z – meaning everyone under the age of about 40 – do not want to return to full-time work based in an office. Younger workers are demanding flexibility even if they are not 100% working from home. The overwhelming number of workers demanding greater flexibility shows that a greater acceptance of working from home will be one of the major changes caused by the pandemic.

The ebook advises on setting agendas in advance, getting into a daily work routine, and reducing your distractions. It is full of tips that can help homeworkers to gain more control over their working life so it can be more easily balanced with their other responsibilities. This will be a new reality of working life in the 2020s even for those workers that occasionally need to visit their office.

Read the new Sensée ebook ‘How’s Your Work-Life Balance’ by clicking here.

(Free White Paper) Did 2020 kill the BPO industry as we know it?

With contact centres facing unprecedented challenges, 2020 should have been the year when the customer management BPO sector stole the limelight.

But as Davies Consulting Group Director Mike Havard explains, it didn’t quite work out that way – at least not for the more ‘traditional’ providers.

Instead, as clients have begun to realise the opportunities from more virtual working as well as automation and digital innovations for their customer service operations, it’s time for the BPO sector to carve out a new role: as specialist providers, adding value to the customer experience rather than just helping cut operational costs.

In this paper, in collaboration with Sensée, Mike considers how BPO providers can adapt to this changing landscape – and how prospective clients can ensure they’re using outsourced partners more effectively within their customer management.

View the White Paper (Best viewed in 2 page format)