During 2020, the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door for a new kind of working. Although companies had been experimenting with the potential of remote employees for some time, we only saw the true impact of this strategy when offices began to shut down. Unable to continue running cluttered physical contact centres, organisations everywhere were forced to adapt.
Despite some initial growing pains, the majority of today’s contact centres are seeing the benefits of a flexible workforce. Not only are there fewer overhead costs to consider with remote workers, but employees appear to be happier and more productive too. However, when the pandemic begins to shift, we may find that the workforce doesn’t move definitively in one way or the other. According to a recent study of 2,000 UK employees, around 67% of team members working remotely since the pandemic would prefer to split their time between the home and the office.
Hybrid is the Best of Both Worlds
The rapid introduction that most businesses had to remote working in 2020 was an excellent opportunity to see how effective these strategies can be. The remote contact centre benefits from a more flexible workforce who can work anywhere in the world, at virtually any time. Remote employees are happier, more productive, and generally less expensive to employ than their counterparts. However, there are some downsides to remote work too.
Not every remote employee will have a dedicated office environment at home where they can shut off from the rest of the world and focus on their work. Some people are working in kitchens where their families are walking in and out or struggling to get things done from a bedroom. On top of that, working remotely all the time can be an isolating experience. Although employees are generally happier working at home, they’re also less engaged. It’s difficult to fully manage and motivate your team when they never come into the office. The combined issues of at-home distractions, lack of internet connectivity, and poor engagement levels means a 100% remote landscape may not be perfect for everyone.
The Future of Flexible Work
The COVID-19 pandemic was an opportunity for many companies to discover how successful remote working solutions could really be for their employees. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone will be willing to give up on the office entirely.
While there’s no doubt that companies will need to invest more money and time into remote and flexible working strategies, it’s important to find the right balance. To achieve the best productivity and satisfaction levels, contact centres will need to think about how they can help their employees split their time between the office and the “work anywhere” landscape.
Home working might be the solution of choice for employees working on less complicated projects, while people come into the office to discuss difficult clients and have in-person meetings. Balancing the real and virtual world could be the future of contact centres.