Work Life Balance in the Contact Center

Work Life Balance in the Contact Center

When I first began working for NICE inContact, I incorrectly described a contact center as a ‘facility’ in some of the written materials I was working on. “That’s not totally accurate” an editor colleague commented in the margins. “A contact center is an ‘operation.’ Using the word ‘facility’ to describe it insinuates that all contact centers are physical locations from which agents perform their duties. Today, many contact center agents can operate from anywhere on a remote work or flex-work schedule.”

Then it struck me. Digital transformation and the gig economy have made remote work common across the globe—the contact center industry was no different! In fact, due to the huge array of digital interaction channels, virtual assistants, and more, the contact center field is even better positioned for remote work.

To deliver exceptional customer experience, today’s contact center workforce optimization solutions make it easy for leaders to align agents’ schedule preferences and availability with business needs. Organizations often need flexible workforce management solutions to fill early or late shifts, account for seasonal hires, meet requirements for on-site workers, and allow for offsite agent work, as well.

While businesses can meet their workforce management goals with the above technologies, there are many tips and tools that contact center supervisors and agents can keep in mind to make the best of their remote or flex-work schedules. If you’re telecommuting within your organization for your contact center work, we’ll discuss some of those tools and tips that are most effective for your work/life balance below!

Investigate Wellness Benefits the Organization May Offer

Many organizations that facilitate excellent customer experience via digital communication do the same for their agents when it comes to health and wellness benefits. What does that mean? It means that these same organizations realize the value of telemedicine and telehealth. And they make it available to their contact center agents, supervisors, and managers!

Separate Work and Home Within the Same Space

In 2015, the Psychological Science in the Public Interest review published research findings indicating that telecommuting boosted job satisfaction, performance, and organizational commitment among employees. The research found that remote employees experienced less stress and exhaustion, but drawbacks included blurred boundaries between work and personal life.

It may sound obvious, but for remote or flex-environment contact center agents, knowing when and how to separate the work and personal environments within a home can be hard! Maintaining clear, distinctive boundaries for contact center work is critical.

Understand the Value of Questions (and Accountable Answers)

Different people work in different ways. For example, my supervisor is a morning person. She feels more ‘on the ball’ in the a.m. I find that I’m usually moving faster and doing my best work in the afternoon. If you’re a contact center agent or supervisor working from home some (or all) of the time, don’t be afraid to ask for a flex schedule that matches your best working hours. If you’re a night owl, there may be an available evening shift that you could take over with much success—but you’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Along the same lines, ask questions about your organization’s scheduling processes. Find out if you have the option to trade shifts with other workers and how easily that can be done. Connect with remote colleagues, ask about their work/life scheduling needs, and inquire about potential shift trades that you could both make in the future if necessary.

Colleagues and supervisors who ask questions of you can be highly beneficial for your work accountability, too. See if your supervisor will hold a daily or weekly 1:1 session where they’ll ask you what you have accomplished and what you hope to achieve. If you’re able to deliver answers on how you met or exceeded the goals you’ve discussed, you’ll have put smart accountability checks in place that will keep you motivated and moving toward success in the future.

If you’re a contact center supervisor or leader interested in the industry’s most intelligent omnichannel forecasting and scheduling technology, check out our workforce management solutions today!