Remote Work in CX: Work from Home or Work from Anywhere?
As remote working is becoming commonplace, work models have to be reconsidered to meet the requirements of the customer experience (CX) industry.
Although the benefits of working remotely have been known for a long time (a first study on “telecommuting” was published as early as the 1970s), few organizations had been willing to implement it, as it would have been disruptive and required major changes and investments.
Technology has made major progress since making remote work a lot easier. But still, only a few organizations took the leap — until very recently.
There’s no turning back today: remote work has become the new normal, and employees appreciate working at home: A recent survey by IPSOS for McKinsey shows that in the U.S., 87% of employees would work flexibly if given the opportunity, and 58% work from home at least one day per week.
Organizations need to find ways to offer their employees this flexibility in order to attract and retain talent and improve the employee experience. While work from home is definitely a step in the right direction, it also comes with some issues that need to be addressed. The solution might be a hybrid approach combining work from home and from the office.
1. The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Work
During the pandemic crisis, remote work became (almost) mandatory within days, and organizations needed to find solutions to guarantee service continuity. Suddenly, it was possible to implement tools to allow remote working. There were security and other glitches in the beginning, but results were positive overall.
A few years later, most logistical issues have been addressed, and the benefits of working from home cannot be overlooked today. But remote work still represents several challenges, and some of them are critical for CX operations.
- Data security: There are industries that need to guarantee the integrity of their customers’ data, with banking being one of the more obvious examples. Some companies avoid offering remote work, at least for the most sensitive activities and requests because of security issues.
- Collaboration and level of information: In order to offer the best service from home, CX organizations must make sure that their associates have the tools that enable a seamless, omnichannel handling of all requests.
- Onboarding and learning: Although there are a lot of online learning tools that help with initial and ongoing training, there’s nothing better than seeing best practice directly, learning by observing more experienced colleagues, etc.
- Last but not least, socializing: The benefits of socializing with colleagues mustn’t be underestimated. It is important for team building and the transmission of company culture.
Work at home has proven a success, not only for the wellbeing of employees but also in terms of productivity and employee experience. It is definitely the way to go, even as some issues linked to the physical presence in an office space remain. These can be solved with a hybrid model such as Work from Anywhere.
2. Work from Anywhere: A Hybrid Approach Combining the Best of Two Worlds
There are different kinds of hybrid work models, such as limiting office presence to employees handling sensitive data or leaving the choice to the associate whether they want to work 100% in the office or at home.
But as it is getting harder to attract talent and employees’ expectations are growing, making them choose between one and the other isn’t so appealing.
Work from Anywhere offers the flexibility employees are looking for while giving organizations the possibility to address the pain points raised by an all-remote workforce. Associates come in for on-site training, exchanging best practices and socializing, according to their personal preferences and/or corporate imperatives.
This hybrid model implies changes in the organization of office space. Not all associates are present at the same time, so the number of desks can be reduced significantly, allowing companies to downsize but requiring them to rethink the space, too — less space for operations, leaving more room for socializing, “classrooms” for on-site training and, best-case scenario, room for sports, child care, etc.
3. Our Approach: Work from Anywhere with MAXhubs
Sitel Group® launched a work from home solution as early as 2007 and has been delivering complex CX programs through Sitel at Home™ for leading global brands while maintaining the highest levels of data security.
To solve the challenges of remote working, Sitel Group introduced a new approach to office space called MAXhubs, with room for sharing ideas, exercise and relaxation, childcare, professional and personal development labs, and social interaction.
Our new MAXhub concept reimagines traditional contact centers as spaces where our agents can engage with each other, develop their skills and foster stronger links with the local community while absorbing Sitel Group’s business culture. Yet, they also serve to maximize the benefits — from work-life balance and flexibility to better wellbeing and greater job satisfaction — that come from working from home.
Olivier Camino, Founder & COO, Sitel Group
A fully connected work from home employee experience, completed by an innovative hybrid approach to work: Sitel Group is offering its associates the flexibility they ask for and a best-in-class employee experience. The future of work is hybrid, and Sitel Group is well prepared.
Rethinking Remote Work
All organizations need to rethink their approach to work as the war for talent continues. This is particularly true for CX operations where the employee experience is very closely linked to the customer experience that the associates help to create. By improving the employee experience, Work from Anywhere helps improve the customer experience and gives a competitive edge to organizations.