Business in 2019 looks dramatically different than it did 30 years ago. One of the most significant advancements has been the explosion of remote work opportunities. Hiring remote workers can be a competitive advantage for companies, especially contact centers. But there are a lot of misconceptions about remote workers and how they impact a contact center’s productivity and culture.
The reality is, with the right call center software and workforce optimization technology, teleworking can be a win-win for both the organization AND the employee. Here we will debunk the top three most common myths about hiring a remote workforce and discover the reality below.
Myth #1: Remote work decreases productivity and increases attrition
Reality: Remote work can lead to astonishing productivity and retentionrates
Stanford University conducted a two-year study where they surveyed 500 remote workers and those who worked in a conventional workplace. The results were astounding. Each week, the productivity boost among home-based workers was equivalent to a full day’s work.
The same study found that overall home-based employees were 50% less likely to leave the organization. Factors that contributed to these results were
- No commute
- Control over work environment
- Flexible schedules
- Improved work-life balance,
- Less distractions.
It’s safe to say that call centers don’t need to worry about productivity or retention among home-based workers.
However, it’s not enough to send agents home with a headset and hope they are productive. You need the technology infrastructure to make it a reality. With cloud-based software, having remote and productive call center agents is a feasible business strategy because it provides consistency, equality, and help if any technical issues appear; all of which are necessary components to a successful remote contact center program.
It’s also important to empower agents with the right tools to manage and track their own analytics in real-time from home. They need a performance management platform that provides them an individual, intuitive dashboard that will alert them immediately if they are off track. Allowing agents to see how they are performing and where they stack up against their co-workers across the globe will keep them accountable. This type of performance management tool will give supervisors room to breathe easy.
Myth #2: Remote work is for startups
Reality: Hiring a remote workforce is a wise financial decision for almost any company
A common misconception is that remote work is for startup companies because they don’t have the capacity to afford office space and hire the talent locally. This might be true for some startups, but hiring remote workers also solves problems that apply to more mature organizations as well. No matter how established a company is, it would be beneficial to consider hiring remote workers to decrease overhead costs and hire a more diverse workforce. Here’s why:
- In 2018, there was nearly five billion dollars in cost savings for U.S. companies with employees who worked remotely—and that’s just counting part-time workers (Remote.co, 2019).
- Companies that offer a remote work program report 63% less unscheduled absences (PGI, 2013).
- 68% of millennial job seekers said a work from home option would greatly influence their interest in working for a company (Fundera, 2019).
Myth #3: Company culture suffers with remote work programs
Reality: Remote work can foster a positive company culture
A 2019 report on the state of remote work found that “remote work is here to stay” (Remote.co, 2019). With the right technology, call centers that want to stay competitive by offering a remote work program don’t have to sacrifice culture.
Call centers have the option to promote friendly competition and collaboration through gamification and performance management. Peer and team competition options can help unite teams even if they aren’t in the same room. Customizable agent profiles and gamification can help create a virtual community among remote contact center agents. Agents can communicate through messaging and chat modules, so they are always connected to each other and their supervisors. Other methods of communication to consider are video chat or conference calls.
If the remote workforce trend continues, eventually companies won't be able to afford not having remote workers. The technology to establish a successful remote contact center program is available now.
To learn more about incorporating remote workers into your contact center, check out this on-demand webinar “Going Mobile- Building a Remote Workforce.”