A 2019 report on the State of Remote Work concluded that “remote work is here to stay.” The survey of nearly 2,500 remote workers found that an overwhelming 99% said they wanted to work from home, at least some of the time, for the remainder of their careers. And that was long before any “shelter in place” order from any government official.
So, what now? Acknowledging and embracing the fundamental truth that working has already changed drastically for most people, without much warning, is a great first step. This is no longer something that’s coming, a future state to plan for, or an ideal option to offer employees. IT IS HERE. And I am willing to bet the unforeseen nature of needing to move contact center agents and other employees to work remotely was - and continues to be - beyond painful for most companies.
Every company scrambled to cobble together a plan to make it happen fast. But we have the tools, the insight, and the power to help them plan better for how things are in the COVID world. Let’s start by asking our clients a few pertinent questions:
- Are we *actually* set up for people to work from home?
- Can we serve customers from anywhere, anytime, without disruption?
- Can we ensure voice quality from employees’ alternative work environments?
- How do we maintain compliance when we have a remote workforce?
- Are our operational costs usage-based, or are we absorbing a lot of unnecessary costs, like unused licenses?
The answers to these questions can give us insight into how we can best help the companies we serve. To them, we need to be more than just salespeople. We need to be strategic partners, we need to be helping them plan for and execute on resolving an enormous challenge that was likely not on anyone’s radar six months ago.
A two-year study by Stanford University of 500 people who worked both remotely and in a traditional office setting concluded that productivity among home-based workers was equal to a full day’s work each week. COVID-19 has served as an [unfortunate] opportunity to show brands that sending employees to suddenly WFH does not mean everyone’s going on an extended vacation. Quite the opposite, in fact. With the right thinking and technology, employees may actually be more engaged and productive than ever. Have you felt it these past few months?
Here are some things for employers to think about:
- What hardware do your people have and what more do they need?
- What software is in place to enable WFH and is it enough?
- What regulations is your business subject to and how does this affect employees working from home?
- How will you manage security and privacy?
- How will you maintain regular communication and company culture with a remote workforce?
- Refer to this compliance and operations checklist for more.
Here are some things for employees to think about:
- What do you need to create a better routine and workspace at home?
- Do you have a reliable high-speed Internet connection?
- How have you managed the transition and stayed connected with colleagues thus far?
- What will things look like for the remainder of 2020? What do you think will change?
- Refer to this employee WFH checklist for more.
And we must be the ambassadors of the technology and the strategy to get our clients to the other side of what will surely be a changed world. For the better. It’s finally taking shape.