Working from home – for better or for worse?

50% of UK employees will work remotely in 2020, according to research by the Office of National Statistics.[1] Working from home is a subject guaranteed to divide opinion – is it better or worse for agent productivity and happiness? Does it increase customer engagement and satisfaction? Will it drive revenue or is it a drain on resources?

Remote working comes in many different forms, from working entirely at home or in a shared space to working a few days a week and commuting the rest of the time. As of 2019, 66% of companies have some form of remote working option according to research by Forbes, with 99% of employees saying that they would want to telecommute at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.[2]

It is clear that teleworking is becoming increasingly common and increasingly sought after, especially in the contact center industry. However, that does not mean that it is always the best way of working for every organization. We spoke to Scott Fulton, Technical Training Manager at Content Guru, about the possible pitfalls of working from home.

Trust and wellbeing - an issue for contact centers?

For the contact center industry in particular, enabling agents to work at home brings a whole host of potential problems. The main issue is trust: can agents work as effectively, and at the same level of quality, without supervision? Additional training, at additional cost, is also needed for agents to work at home, as they won’t be able to ask quick questions to colleagues around them.

For contact center workers, there is also the issue of safety. What if an agent working from home receives a threatening or distressing message? Without a network of support from colleagues and supervisors, it could be difficult for agents to deal with complaints and negative situations. Although a homeworking environment has the same technology as the contact center in terms of headsets and software, it is far less controlled. Family members and housemates, who would be unauthorized in a contact center, could come into contact with personal information or sensitive customer data, posing questions about how GDPR will be upheld in home environments.

Is there a way to get around these issues? 

Derek Townsend, Solutions Consulting Director at Content Guru talks about possible solutions and the future of remote work in our next blog post.

[1] Call Center Helper, Working Remotely: The 2019 Recipe to High Productivity, 19 February 2019

[2] Forbes, ‘A Quick Guide To Staging Your Transition to Remote Work This Year’, September 2019