Work From Home Policies for Cloud-Based Contact Centers Agents

Work from home call centers

Zoom’s popular video conferencing platform made its first billion-dollar transaction when it acquired Five9, a multi-tenant cloud contact center service. The all-stock purchase valued the company at $14.7 trillion, making it the second-largest tech deal of the year.

But why pay so much for a business centered around cloud-based contact centers?

The answer is simple: although these contact centers have been working from the cloud for decades, they’re now more in-demand than ever before. As we’ve previously discussed in our blog, this is mainly because the pandemic caused the average consumer to become “impatient and digital,” spurring the majority of businesses to switch to digital.

However, continuing health and safety restrictions mean remote and hybrid work setups are becoming the new normal. It’s now crucial to provide transparent policies that can help agents perform at their very best, despite working from home. Below are some frameworks that cloud-based contact centers can refer to.

Clear scope and expectations

To begin with, your policy should define when agents are allowed to work from home. Consider factors such as the pandemic, the aftermath of natural calamities such as hurricanes, or if agents can work remotely by request.

Under this policy, clarify what you expect from agents in terms of communication, output, and accountability. For instance, will they work a standard 9 to 5 shift, or will you allow for flexibility as long as they reach a certain quota each day? Are there allowances for overtime and sick leaves? For agents who need to be trained remotely, what software will they use, what will training schedules look like, and are there any virtual courses they can use to supplement their learning?

You can also use productivity-tracking tools like Time Doctor and Proofhub in setting guidelines for accountability. Mandate the use of remote tools like Slack and Trello for efficient and fully transparent communication. This will help reduce the risk of miscommunication and help agents work better toward your clearly defined goals.

Necessary provisions

It’s also important to note that everybody’s home situation is different, and not all staff will have the space and tools needed to work from home. It’s worth considering providing agents with the necessary equipment to access your company’s systems remotely, especially as most cloud contact centers centralize multiple communication channels into one network. Such equipment may include company laptops, headsets, and even webcams.

For example, company laptops should use processors with enough computing power to accomplish the job at hand (usually an i5 or better). Meanwhile, headsets should make use of printed circuit boards with high signal integrity, which will reduce any distortion in their audio equipment. The reduced ground loops will also ensure that their calls will always be received despite the quality of their network connection. Finally, ergonomic furniture such as office chairs can prevent agents from developing health issues caused by sitting down for too long.

Best practices for management

To begin with, your policy should define when agents are allowed to work from home. Consider factors such as the pandemic, the aftermath of natural calamities such as hurricanes, or if agents can work remotely by request.

Under this policy, clarify what you expect from agents in terms of communication, output, and accountability. For instance, will they work a standard 9 to 5 shift, or will you allow for flexibility as long as they reach a certain quota each day? Are there allowances for overtime and sick leaves? For agents who need to be trained remotely, what software will they use, what will training schedules look like, and are there any virtual courses they can use to supplement their learning?

You can also use productivity-tracking tools like Time Doctor and Proofhub in setting guidelines for accountability. Mandate the use of remote tools like Slack and Trello for efficient and fully transparent communication. This will help reduce the risk of miscommunication and help agents work better toward your clearly defined goals.

Above all, creating work from home policies, you should remember that agents are humans and should always be treated fairly, as WFH arrangements can blur the lines between work and everyday life. Provide both structure and agency at the same time by avoiding micromanaging and make sure managers are empathetic toward any mental health issues that are being reported. Implement an effective telework feedback system that prioritizes one-on-one manager-agent interaction. This will help boost morale by making employees feel valued, and acting on constructive feedback can improve the work from home experience for everyone involved.

Affording agents the empathy and respect they deserve can serve to enhance the effects of your work from home policies, so always be kind, as your contact center adjusts to its new normal.

Ultimately, there are lots of rules, equipment and software that will need to be rolled out to ensure cloud contact center agents stay productive when working remotely. And while this may be a big undertaking, the end result will be more than worth it to keep your operations working efficiently.

 

Authored by Renee Jimena. Exclusively written for squaretalk.com

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