While some business leaders are trying to overlook “the great resignation” and urge employees to come back to the office, many data scientists believe remote work is here to stay. According to Ladders research, 25 percent of professional jobs will be remote by the end of 2022 and new remote opportunities will increase into 2023. Additionally, in the field of data science, where connectivity and digital collaboration are paramount, agents work remotely, further solidifying the trend towards remote work.
Ladders CEO Marc Cendella believes this is the largest societal change in the way people work since World War II stating, “Hiring practices typically move at a glacial pace, but the pandemic turned up the heat, so we’re seeing a rapid flood of change in this space.”
Allowing agents to work from home can:
- Reduce turnover
- Expand the organization’s hours of operations, while simultaneously giving agents more flexibility with their schedules
- Ensure business continuity for any issues or crisis
- Expand the talent pool for recruitment.
Let’s dig into a few areas of consideration to evaluate the future of remote work.
Remote work and agent turnover
Working from home is here to stay, at least in a hybrid capacity, if contact centers want agents to stay. In a survey implemented by FlexJobs in early 2022, 58 percent of respondents said they would go job hunting if their current employed removed the option to work remotely.
Furthermore, The State of Remote Work Report from Owl Labs showed 90 percent of 2,050 full-time remote workers included in the survey said they were as productive or more productive as when they were in the office. Eighty-four percent said working from home after the pandemic would make them happier, with many even willing to take a pay cut.
With attrition being the contact center industry’s biggest challenge, contact centers are losing money by losing employees. Because of this working from home will continue to normalize for agents.
“Leaders need to embrace the concept of radical flexibility. You have to build your organization around a hybrid workforce, empowered to decide when, where, and how they work.” – Lynne Oldham, Chief People Officer at Zoom
Remote work and cloud contact centers
Having a fully cloud based contact center with all the tools needed to ensure your agents can route calls, receive calls and track performance gives your agents flexibility to efficiently work from anywhere. Once in place and If implemented correctly, agents should have everything they need to do their job and have the correct metrics to grow.
While this is a plus in the long-run, if your remote work plan needs a facelift post pandemic, some additional tools may be needed to address security, IT support, data/ Internet for employees without reliable WiFi and new cloud technologies with integration.
Remote work and costs
There are several ways having your agents remote saves you money, but having fewer or no physical people in a physical location is a huge one. When employees are inside of an office, rent, utilities, equipment, and office supplies are basic daily expenses, plus, depending on the contact center’s benefits like snacks, lunches and incentives, these will all be greatly reduced if not non-existent.
Considering productivity levels, real estate costs and decreased turnover and absenteeism, calculations from Global Workplace Analytics suggests companies can save around $11,000 per employee per year if they allow their employees to work remotely 50 percent of the time. Some of the organizations included in the analytics included IBM, who reduced real estate costs by $50 million and McKesson, who showed savings of $2 million per year since shifting to remote work.
If you are looking to save money, getting rid of a physical office location is an easy way to do that to understand how much you’re spending on rent, office equipment and supplies.
Remote work and the agent talent pool
A quick scroll of open job positions on Linkedin will show a lot of organizations have opened their candidate pool to anywhere in the state, country or even world. When you open the pool of talent eligible to work at your organization, you can find the applicants that have the strongest skills, productivity level and education.
Not only does this impact organizations, but without the need for employees to live in specific large cities to commute to an office, and influx in growth for smaller cities is expected. “Those cities will see an influx of high-earning well-educated professionals, which will change their school boards, their planning commissions and even the services offered to residents. Remote work at this scale will transform some communities completely,” Cendella explains.
Due to the great resignation and the fact that much of the technologies required to be secure and efficient in the cloud were jump-started by the pandemic, contact centers will listen to their agents and let them work where they want to reduce turnover. Plus, with the move to a more automated, digital world during the digital transformation of contact centers a broader skillset of agents will be needed for more advanced tasks, so recruiting may be more difficult than what we’ve expected in the past.
Our prediction for the rest of 2022 and 2023: contact centers will follow suit with the rest of the professional working world and continue allowing agents to work remote in some capacity with hybrid opportunities continuing to grow.