One of a series of blogs about homeworking in our industry, this week we look at what you can do to ensure your agents have a safe, comfortable and productive environment to work in at home.
It’s important to ensure your employees have the basics of a workspace you would provide in the office. These principles apply to any employees but here we are focusing on the needs of the agent role in particular.
The tools for the job
- Some centres provide homeworkers with a laptop, others will enable employees to use their own laptop or PC with dial-in access. Check security on any equipment used and check the local broadband speed is up to the job.
- Check what systems can be accessed off-site. Firstly, they will need access to whatever is providing the agent with work which may be the ACD to take calls, the CRM to do back-office tasks, email/chat system etc.
- Also, check access to email/chat apps for communication with colleagues/managers.
- Can your agents access shared drives for documents/spreadsheets etc?
- Do your agents have access to the WFM systems to view their schedules/breaks, arrange swaps and book holidays etc. Can they access the WFM or ACD reports for self-performance monitoring?
- Cloud-based systems will make all of these jobs easier.
Are you sitting comfortably?
- For the right posture, the agent must be sat on a ‘proper’ chair, there’s a reason why office chairs are height adjustable, have a soft seat, back rest etc and they don’t look like a dining chair!
- Ensure agents are using a separate keyboard if using a laptop, the keyboard on a laptop should only be used for a couple of hours at most as it leads to incorrect position of your arms, wrists and back.
- If appropriate they may need a headset and also camera for video calls.
- Have you ever noticed that offices are nearly always decorated with blue or green colours? There’s a reason, it’s well documented that these colours promote a calm and productive working environment. I’m not suggesting you should redecorate their homes! But let them know this so they can pick a good location in their home and if your agents are working in a neutral room, give them a blue company mug to look at or a green mouse mat!
- And finally to avoid eye strain and for general well-being, your agents should ideally work near a window to the outside world so they can take a look at a distant tree or building, letting the eyes focus on something away from the screen and adding a little bit of nature/architecture to their day!
A little luxury
- It’s not always possible but ideally the agent should be working in a separate work space and not perched at the dining table.
- When leaving the office we go through the process of unwinding from the day, singing along to your radio, leaving the work place behind. We still need this when working from home so having a door to shut and stairs to walk down can replicate the feeling.
- I have a colleague whose office is in his garden shed so his walk through the garden is his unwind.
I hope this gives you some food for thought! There are more blogs on homeworking for the contact centre industry focussing on Recruitment, Management and WFM Processes.
Good luck with your Homeworking ventures! ?