If your contact center has remote agents or plans to implement a Work From Home (WFH) program, here are the top things that you need to think about.
Implement a Solid Technology Solution
The key items to address from a technology perspective are the ability for agents to make and receive phone calls, get access to your business applications and obtain technical support. Some of the other specific things you need to consider when determining the right technology solution include:
- Will the agents be recorded?
- How will they access their business applications?
- How will you remotely support the at-home equipment? Will your existing Support hours suffice?
- Where are the support boundaries drawn for personal equipment? Is this solely the employee’s responsibility?
Determine Legal and Financial Policies
Addressing these items up-front and clearly communicating them will avoid gotchas and angst down the road. You need to be proactive in clearly documenting and verbally communicating these policies to the employees, avoid such things as employees attempting to submit expense reports for printers or expensive office equipment/furniture. You want your legal team to weigh in on the compensation considerations and on how you will handle the approval of the work area; many legal teams do not want the liability of one employee visiting another employee’s home for business purposes. Legal and financial considerations to address include:
- Will you pay your employees if their Internet connection is down and they are unable to access your applications?
- If their schedule has them “on-call” and you don’t need them, are you going to pay employees for that time?
- What is expected of the employee to protect Confidential Information?
- Is the use of personal equipment allowed? Will the employee be compensated for equipment usage? How will you handle personal equipment failure or support?
- What is expected of the employee to protect employer assets?
- What items are reimbursable? Supplies, Internet, and phone?
- What items are not reimbursable? Heating/AC, furniture, electricity, commuting expenses?
- Will the agent’s homeowners/ renters policy cover employer equipment?
- Will initial and/or on-going photos and site visits be required to ensure employee’s physical environment meets your expectations? What are the legal implications of these?
- How will the employer be compensated for equipment that is broken or not returned?
- Will PTO be mandatory for unproductive time (equipment failure, power, Internet, etc.)? Or, will the employee be required to work out of the corporate office in such situations?
- How will the employer educate and enforce adherence to compliance requirements, i.e. HIPAA, PCI etc. How will calls be delivered remotely? Are there additional costs or constraints?
- Will your agents need a headset? If so, what unit will they use?
- How do you ensure call quality isn’t compromised? Are wireless or cellular phones acceptable? How will supervisors monitor their agents?
- Will the agent’s calls and activities be included in your existing reports? Will the agents’ calls/screens be recorded?
Cloud Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Simple to design and even easier for callers to use, the Cloud IVR is delivered through easily customized pre-built scripts that deliver the exact call flows and features you need.
Build a Work From Home Program Guide
An over-arching program guide is essential to a successful Work from Home program. Sections that should be included in the guide:
- Program overview.
- Policies & expectations.
- Reimbursement criteria and process.
- Troubleshooting - should include as much descriptive step-by-step setup and troubleshooting information as possible - with lots of diagrams / pictures, to make set up and troubleshooting as easy as possible for the employees.
- Support contacts – should outline the support process that the at-home workers are expected to follow, along with the appropriate support contact information.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- A Work from Home Agreement document that the employee signs that is kept on file by the HR department. After you’ve fully documented all the policies, procedures, expectations, and reimbursement criteria, having the employ- ee sign off that they understand and acknowledge all those items will eliminate confusion and issues later on.
Select Employees to Work From Home
- What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
- Is the agent meeting those KPIs now?
- Does the agent have the “right” personality / motivation to work independently?
- Is the agent willing to work flexible hours or shifts?
- Will the agent accept “on-call” hours?
- Who is responsible for the employee’s dependent care?
- Is there a high-speed home Internet connection?
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