Remote and Hybrid working

With hybrid working becoming the new norm, many organisations with contact centres have looked to transform their customer support processes and operations significantly. While there is not a one-size fits all solution, many in the sector are looking to others for how to strike the right balance for remote working going forward. In this article, we will be exploring some of the key topics impacting business leaders for the foreseeable future.

What are the impacts of remote and hybrid working on contact centres?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and hybrid working has provided a lifeline for many organisations operating contact centres. This has offered up a series of benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity: With the elimination of commuting time and distractions often present in office environments, this has led to improvements in productivity.
  • Expanded talent pool: Greater access to a global talent pool, providing opportunities to hire highly skilled individuals regardless of their location, particularly in roles that include data analysis, customer service, content moderation or administrative tasks.
  • Fractional Labour: The ability for individuals to work for shorter periods, sporadically and balancing working from home or on holiday, means organisations can recruit individuals to better meet their customer demands.
  • Cost savings: Optimisation of office space and reduction in overhead costs relating to office space, utilities, and related expenses by reducing or eliminating the need for physical office infrastructure.
  • Work life balance: Increased flexibility for employees to manage their work and personal responsibilities more effectively, resulting in improved job satisfaction and wellbeing.

What is the future of remote and hybrid working for contact centres?

Many organisations have successfully adapted to the new opportunities that hybrid work brings and are embracing what this means for the future of their operations.

Some of the key considerations for those operating contact centres are:

  • Hybrid working isn’t going anywhere: In a report recently released by the McKinsey Global Institute ‘Empty spaces and hybrid places’, they note that office attendance in cities is down on average by Commercial in Confidence 2 thirty percent, with office workers going into the office around 3.5 days a week. While this varies by industry, those working in professional services, information and finance are, on average, spending the lowest amount of time in the office. Thus, resulting in an excess of traditional office spaces remaining empty. This is likely to drive a need for infrastructure to be designed more effectively to accommodate for the move towards hybrid working, including a mixture between individual and collaborative working and the adoption of new digital capabilities.
  • Talent management and training: Similarly, talent management strategies will need to be continually adapted to cater to ongoing changes. Organisations may choose to implement remote onboarding processes, virtual training programmes, and performance management systems that account for remote employees’ needs. Emphasising clear communication channels and regular feedback will continue to help maintain employee engagement and ensure that remote workers feel connected and supported.
  • Technological infrastructure: The pandemic accelerated the adoption and transformation of digital solutions and an omni-channel approach across the contact centre sector, but it is likely that more investment will need to be made to support employees with these changes. This includes ensuring that employees have secure access to cloud-based company networks and data, collaboration tools, video conferencing software, and other remote work. Enhanced cybersecurity measures will equally be crucial to ensure data protection and minimise the risk of cyber threats.
  • Redefined office spaces: Organisations may decide to rethink their office space entirely to cater for customer and employee needs. Office spaces may be redesigned, for example, to accommodate a more flexible and collaborative environment. The emphasis will be on providing a productive and engaging office environment for in-person interactions when employees are on-site.
  • Focus on employee wellbeing: Organisations may develop policies and initiatives to greater support work-life balance, promote mental health, and provide resources for remote employees to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle. This could include greater flexibility with working hours, wellness programmes, virtual social activities, and resources for managing remote work challenges.

The hybrid workforce is here to stay within contact centres, and it will be up to business leaders to ensure that their agents remain engaged, motivated and supported. Technology and cloud-based systems are sure to play a key role in ensuring that agents can succeed and deliver on maintaining customer experience. Organisations looking to the future should take this new flexibility and agility as a means to drive positive organisational and operational transformation.

About the author:

Spencer Brooks, Chief Growth Officer, The Knowledge Group (tkg) and Maistro

Spencer has worked in the BPO sector for +25 years. With an accounting background, Spencer has been part of some of the industry’s most innovative commercial arrangements in the BPO Market. From this platform, Spencer has worked both buyer and sales side of the procurement line, using this knowledge to establish The Knowledge Group (tkg). The Knowledge Group is a disruptive sourcing and procurement firm, specialising in delivering outsourcing solutions for clients. Recently, The Knowledge Group merged with Maistro, a procurement technology service provider. Together, the organisations are aligned in connecting buyers to suppliers, harnessing a combination of powerful digital solutions and industry expertise.

LinkedIn Bio: