Businesses and governments are increasingly asking employees to work from home or are shifting work to employees in less affected regions to maintain business continuity and handle large swings in interaction volume during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. 

We can quickly help your organization implement the technology for your employees to work remotely.

Work From Home – Best Practices

Remote Worker

Considerations when enabling Remote Workers Technology, Environment, Connectivity

Computer/Laptop −

  1. Issue company laptops pre-loaded and tested with appropriate software and tools for in-office and remote worker.

  2. Headset Considerations − Mobile Headsets for mobile phones − Wired USB Headsets with active noise cancelation for Softphone

  3. Corporate Software − System Access: CRM, Knowledge Base, Ticketing System.

  4. VPN capacity and dependency.

  5. Capacity Planning to ensure enough VPN resources ▪ Application VPN dependencies, DR planning in the event of VPN outage −

  6. Communication tools to contact support staff (Supervisors/Managers) via chat or video call (with WebCam) for updates, escalations, meetings, and assistance Technology -

  7. Physical Environment − Establish remote worker requirements for dedicated space & closed door. Consider photos for validation − Ergonomic workspace (desk, keyboard, monitors) to help promote employee health and employee productivity − PCI & HIPAA, consider alternative payment methods (IVR based, payment portals)

  8. Background Noise (dogs, children, television) − Establish working hours, consider a small dry-erase board to prevent interruptions from children/spouses −

  9. Increased QA of remote worker calls, process for coaching if employees have excessive background interference.

  10. Remote Agent Telephony − PSTN - hard phone or cell phone.

  11. Platform Requirements Agents utilizing Softphone can experience call quality issues if bandwidth is inadequate or impacted by other internet users (i.e. kids home from school streaming Netflix)

  12. Internet Connection − Required for Agent Application − Testing ▪ Call Quality Testing, Require agents to place outbound call to QA Team or leave a recorded message to verify no sound quality issues ▪ Usability Testing, Require agents to login, navigate the Agent Application to ensure proper functionality − Most broadband routers support packet prioritization to prioritize voice traffic.

Employee Engagement Considerations when transitioning to Remote Workers, Agents, Supervisors, Management, Training

Work Habits −

  • Establish and follow at work-from home routine; (set your alarm, get up on time, take a shower, grab coffee and breakfast, and prepare your lunch, just like you would if going into the office) 

  • Keep a task list to stay organized and on task.

  • Get up at least once an hour to stretch and move; Exercise and stay active.

  • Consider a standing desk appliance

 

Company Interactions −

  • Use video whenever possible. Seeing a friendly face is very important in long term remote situations

  • Engage with your team. Working from home can be isolating. Use Microsoft Teams or Skype or other company communication channels to socialize appropriately. (Good Morning, how are you, etc.).

 

Background Noise

Background noise issues are bound to occur with remote agents.

  • It is important to be up-front and address any background noise concerns during the call rather than pretend they didn't occur and inconvenience the caller.

  • Most callers are very understanding as long as background noise issues are addressed.

 

Agent Tips 

Replicate in-office experience

  • Promote use of Webcam & Video Conference software (webex)

  • Daily Stand Up Meetings

  • Supervisor Coaching

  • QA Coaching

 

Management Tips

Visibility/Monitoring −

  • Supervisor Application for monitoring, reporting, skill administration

  • Team messaging about real-time KPIs

  • Dashboards

  • Adherence Monitoring (WFM) Supervisor Tips 

 

Remote Worker Policies

  • Employee Equipment (laptop, monitors, VOIP phones)

  • Internet Reimburse vs Company Provided/direct-bill

  • Mobile Reimburse vs. Company Provided/direct-bill

  • Office Expense Budget (headsets, keyboard, mouse)

 

Remote Communication

  • Effective communication is a vital component in the success of the work from home contact center approach.

  • Emergency Communication via SMS, Email, Phone Tree

Employee Engagement

  • Utilize Incentives and Games to help inspire KPI performance and reward top performers

  • Team & Department Meetings via Video Conference

  • Internal Blogs, Announcements, Public Recognition

Remote Worker Transition

  • The first few weeks will be novel, and people will enjoy the change. By week 2 or 3, expect the impact of social distancing to start showing up. This may be hard on Management and your employees. You may need to loosen some metrics to help keep morale in line.

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  • Different people work differently when working from home. Look for trends in performance and be prepared to counsel with employees that may struggle under the change.

 

Preparation

  • Document Expectations and Policies

  • Ensure proper training for any changes to user experience

 

Remote Worker Transition

  • Onboarding New Remote Employees

  • WebCam enabled Interviews

  • Typing Test, Computer Usability Test

  • Simulated Test Calls (tone, engagement, adaptability)

 

Prepare for onboarding new agents virtually

  • Application Training

  • Process Training

  • Incorporate Videos, and Learning Management Systems for training and assessments.

  • Training and Side-by-Side Engagements (How do you plan to do this when remote?)

  • New Hire Buddy