Companies Need Flexibility To Handle All Unforeseen Circumstances – Even A National Rail Strike

Throughout the Covid pandemic there was a constant debate in the media and on business platforms, such as LinkedIn, around when workers would return to the office. It was an ongoing debate around how much has changed or will change with workplace culture and traditional practices – such as commuting.

McKinsey said that companies would need to embrace the ‘next normal.’ They believe that working practices have fundamentally changed. Many analysts starting calling the post-covid work environment a new normal, but I think that McKinsey were more insightful by declaring that there will be a change, but this will then lead to further change.

When McKinsey asked employees all over the world if they wanted to return to a traditional 9-5 shift from Monday to Friday in a corporate office almost 9 in 10 people said no (87%). All these people insisted that their experience throughout the pandemic has led them to believe that working from home is viable and preferable.

Naturally, many leaders have tried to opt for a third way – the hybrid. This is when the company retains their offices, but mandates that employees must attend the office occasionally. The guidelines on this differ from company to company, but it is becoming clear that a large number of companies are now allowing home working on Mondays and Fridays with an expectation that employees will commute to the office for 2-3 days a week.

But arranging this hybrid option also creates new difficulties. If the purpose of spending some time in the office is to meet with colleagues then the office and home days need to be aligned. It takes away the flexibility of a hybrid option if the company starts mandating the days when workers must attend the office, but what is the alternative?

The reality is that many workers are now returning to the office only to find that their office day does not match with colleagues so they are commuting just to spend all day on video calls they could have done at home.

It feels like companies embracing this hybrid model are fearful of a completely remote model. They talk about ‘water-cooler moments’ in the office that can ‘spark innovation’ and yet even before the pandemic most business experts were advising leaders that the office environment kills productivity through constant interruptions.

The review company Yelp has faced this challenge. They used to have mostly office-based employees and went entirely remote throughout the pandemic. They tried to move into a hybrid post-pandemic model, but the CEO has called it ‘hell.’ Yelp doesn’t believe that hybrid work really functions and is led mostly by executives that want to keep using the office they paid for. 

Yelp is closing down offices and doubling-down on an entirely remote work culture. The CEO indicated that employees can work for the company from anywhere indefinitely. Yelp believes that there will be considerable savings from their office closures and this is being reinvested into new staff perks. The company does plan to organise in-person events that will allow teams to meet and socialise, but there is a complete focus on remote work being the future of the company.

The kind of flexibility this will give to Yelp is impressive. It’s something that more British companies may want to embrace. The UK is a smaller country than the US and it has a comprehensive rail network so employees based anywhere can get together for events fairly easily.

But speaking of the UK rail network, look at the recent headlines focused on a national strike affecting service for over a week. Commuters facing misery. Employees told to work from home. More strikes may follow… just imagine if your entire team was not relying on the rail network because they were already working from home.

There are many different situations where a remote work from home strategy can help a company to remain agile and productive. Why would any business leader want to return to the days of a long commute and dependence on transport networks and office landlords? There is another way, the next normal.

Sensée’s Jo Hodge named Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year

Sensée Service Delivery Manager Jo Hodge has been named the Gold winner in the ‘Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year’ category of the 2022 UK National Contact Centre Awards (UKNCC Awards). 

‘Outsourced Contact Centre Manager of the Year’ recognises Managers that have demonstrated key leadership skills in the last 12 months which had an impact on their team, team performance, or the relationship with their client.

The UKNCC Awards winners were announced at a gala awards dinner at Old Billingsgate, a prestigious Central London event venue on Monday night.

At the event, Sensée Team Manager Emma Gunner was also recognised as a finalist in the ‘Rising Star in a Large Contact Centre’ category.

The Awards event was organised and operated by the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA), an organisation that has been bringing contact centre leaders together to share best practice and experiences for over 25 years. The UKNCC Awards, in its 27th Year, is the longest running contact centre awards programme in the UK.

Simon Hunter, CCO, Sensée, commented, “Huge congratulations to Jo. She is an awesome and very hard working leader and all Sensée colleagues are delighted with her success. Very well deserved! I’d also like to congratulate the CCMA for putting on such a wonderful event, and all the winners and finalists for their achievements and amazing stories.”

How Green is Your Work-From-Home Household? (The Winners – Part 2)

Yesterday, we highlighted two of the winners’ stories from our recent ‘How Green is Your Household’ internal competition, showing how committed many of our homeworkers are to protecting the environment and reducing their carbon footprint.

Here are two more.  These are Victoria and Jasmine’s stories….

*****************************************************

“When I think about how green my home is I think about all the small things that make a difference.

We recycle our paper, plastic, glass and tins, we use reusable glass containers which we take to the fill station at our local supermarket for things like sugar, flour and rice.

Victoria collage

We upcycle our old furniture instead of buying new to match our rooms. Furniture manufacturing is one of the planet’s biggest causes of greenhouse gas omissions so just simply painting old furniture can make such a difference.

I have chosen not to drive and I can’t justify the impact on my carbon footprint. And of course working from home has a huge benefit on our environment. Using smart meters to manage my energy consumption is not only saving money but lowering carbon footprints – every little thing adds up.

I am at heart an environmentalist. I believe education is worth its weight in gold, so during the first lockdown I started and ran a local wildlife group, the Rossendale Wildlife Group which now has over 2000 members. We share images of our amazing wildlife to educate people on why it is so important to care for the world we live in.

We work in conjunction with our local civic pride group to provide street cleaning services where volunteers pick up rubbish, maintain community gardens, install bird nesting boxes and much more. The group brings attention to environmental issues locally and on a global scale and we provide information for our members to do their bit for the world.

Wildlife photography is big part of my life capturing the amazing flora and fauna we have to inspire people to get out and about and see what they can see themselves. I am very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country and I want it to stay beautiful.”

Victoria

*****************************************************

“I have actively been trying to live a more sustainable life and have made both small and big changes. I:

  • Drive less and walk more 
  • Consciously consider purchases if they contain single use plastic and make sure to try and re-use packaging if I don’t have any other option
  • Don’t buy plastic containers and opt for glass options, when out I make sure I always have my bamboo cutlery as well as reusable bags
  • Make my own body soaps, creams and shampoos to help reduce the number of plastic bottles within our household and also gift this to friends and family
  • Frequent beaches quiet often and also take my gloves and do a cleanup, this started when I once was on holiday and shocked at the litter, after filling up 2 bags very quickly I made it a habit to clean areas I visit

Jasmine collage

  • Am part of a local community group where you can exchange and offer items you no longer need. I also post items I no longer need and offer them on to someone else who might (as this may save them purchasing new and stops an item reaching landfill so quickly)
  • Have recently started growing my own vegetables, starting with tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, chillis and peppers 
  • As a rule of thumb I try really hard to follow this rule: reduce, reuse, recycle…. with each decision I make”

Jasmine

 

How Green is Your Work-From-Home Household? (The Winners – Part 1)

Every working day Sensée employees play their part in helping the environment….. by avoiding the daily commute.

But for many colleagues, their commitment to the environmental goes a lot deeper.

Here are two of the winners’ stories from our recent ‘How Green is Your Household’ internal competition.

These are Donna and Rachel’s stories….

*****************************************************

“In our home we really enjoy finding ways to support and help our lovely world. We recycle all the usual suspects (paper, glass and plastics), clothes and toys and share with friends and local charities.

We also buy eco-friendly household products whenever possible and the odd box full of fruit and veg (a brilliant scheme set up to stop hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables going to waste).

Donna Collage 2

I’ve just started an etsy shop called Pops Vintage Home where I sell vintage furniture. I love the process of taking something that’s about to go off to the tip and giving it some love and care ready for someone else to use and enjoy. I use eco-friendly and natural products whenever possible when working with the furniture.

Finally, we recycle old magazines to make collages/life boards filled with inspiring quotes and images. It’s fun to create and lovely to stop and look at and the images and words afterwards. They help us stay positive and focused.”

Donna

*****************************************************

“My garden was an uneven overgrown space and I‘ve transformed it with recycled materials.

I posted on social media asking for free scrap metal, wood, plants and anything odd that people had hanging around. I had a great response and this is what I’ve done with it all……

  • I’ve taken some old radiators and placed a threaded rod through them to make railings. The structure doubles up as a climber for my passion flower (Donated by a random old lady!)
  • Acquired an old gate (from a skip) and supported this by 2 lock cheeks that were donated by the Canal and River Trust
  • Taken an 8ft old pole from someone’s garden, topped it with a glass skull and filled it with solar fairy lightsRachel pics
  • My next door neighbour was throwing out a BBQ. I chopped it up and mixed it with some wood and metal scraps to make a very strange planter
  • Old Belfast sink and strange glass thing from a local school science lab (I did make a donation!). Not sure what I am doing with it yet but it is attached to my veg growing bed that is made out of recycled decking boards
  • A donated bird station that I upgraded to include a walking rail, water funnel and emergency tap
  • Self-made pond from donated sleepers, a concrete step and donated plant cuttings. In 2 years, I now have frogs, crested newts and a paddling pool for Buddy!
  • I refurbished some old tractor lights with Leds and hard wired them for ambient lighting… for when one has friends over for drinks and nibbles

Rachel

(Contact Centre Webinar) Addressing Today’s Key Homeworking Challenges 

Thursday 30th June 2022, 12:00 – 1.00pm

Chair: Jane Thomas, South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West

In this webinar, we’ll discuss the key homeworking issues facing businesses today, including:

• How to better manage the consequences of cost of living increases
• Dealing with vulnerable customers
• Overcoming recruitment challenges with a WFH/hybrid model
• Addressing ‘time to competency’ concerns
• Employee engagement in a WFH/hybrid setting
• Retraining team leaders to better manage/communicate with homeworkers
• Bursting the bubble of WFM misconceptions
Using WFH resources to overcome imbalances in consumer demand

Who should attend

This online workshop is targeted at Senior Directors and Managers who are currently reflecting and strategising on the current and future challenges for quality service delivery, as well as Team Leaders involved in the day-to-day management of home and hybrid working teams.

Jane Thomas will be joined by experts from Sensée, the work-from-home and hybrid workplace specialists: Dan Philp (Service Delivery Director) and Jo Mallalieu (Team Leader).

Register for the webinar