Work-from-home is no longer an option. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) shelter-in-place order, this strategy is vital to business continuity and compliance. Contact center software vendors have done a great job responding to the pandemic by offering turnkey cloud solutions to customers, and in some cases, for free. But, there is a big disconnect between implementing a solution and operationalizing the processes to support working remotely. As I’ve been getting tapped to write operational processes for newly formed remote teams, I researched companies that successfully manage remote teams for guidance and relied on experts in human resources.
Many organizations already have a telecommuting policy and procedures that allow employees to work at home or some other off‐site location for all or some of their regularly scheduled work hours. Most policies include eligibility requirements, such as employee tenure and past performance. But, COVID-19 requires modification to those agreements to provide greater flexibility to adjust to the ever-changing situation. Technology, equipment, a home safety checklist, and approval processes have all become streamlined to accommodate a quick setup for remote agents.
Taking a page from companies that successfully manage and run 100% remote teams, new processes are critical to support remote team management. Right now may be the first time managers have had to lead teams remotely. While employees are still expected to do their job, clarifying tasks and processes is important to ensure everyone understands who does what and when. Clear communications and effective meeting management are the basics of good management regardless of where the work gets done.
Monitoring team members’ activities and keeping track of work progress remains unchanged, but data transparency is important to keep remote teams aligned. Workforce management monitors workers as if they’re on the desk right next to you. Quality monitoring tools that include using screen capture, and recordings, go beyond productivity and efficiency of the agents. They ensure that calls are being handled properly. Real-time dashboards and scheduled reports provide all the data needed despite working in separate locations. This information needs to be shared, published, and communicated, now more than ever.
Finally, putting extra effort into building a culture of accountability through trust is key. Working remote means trusting your employees to do their jobs and giving them the support they need to do it right. Allow your remote workers to discuss the aspects of their new work life, address those concerns, and build a feedback loop for organizational transparency. Help them feel more connected to their work, the team, and the organization, and we will get through this together.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected.
SCTC Perspective" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.