And while micro-managers no doubt dream of a day when normal transmission will resume and everyone will return to the office, realists know that isn’t going to happen. The remote-work genie is out of the bottle, as evidenced by various studies that show how wholeheartedly the concept has been embraced by employees.
While the vast majority of companies have reopened their offices, 68% of employees say they want a hybrid environment1 that mixes remote work and the office. The rush to hybrid workplaces was reinforced by a survey2 of 400 US and UK contact centre and customer experience leaders that showed 69% of agents worked in a physical office in 2020. Only a year later and the trend had flipped, with 64% of agents working remotely.
While COVID was the reason for the initial revolution, the long-term implications are evident as the same study revealed contact centre leaders anticipate a future environment where 53% of their agents will head to the office and 47% will work remotely. Contact centres that are yet to embrace hybrid options for their agents are not only already behind the eight-ball and risk being stranded there as competitors fine-tune their models.
With that in mind, this article will shine a light on the hybrid concept, explore the benefits for both agents and managers, and highlight the key steps needed to ensure long-term success.
A hybrid workplace model combines remote and on-site workers, with some or all employees having the flexibility to choose where they work. While contact centres traditionally had an exclusive in-office approach, technologies such as the cloud have allowed businesses to rethink how often they expect agents to physically attend a communal site. Such in-office time may be allocated by days or teams or even on an as-needed basis, with global consulting firm Gartner3 saying: “Where and when work gets done will be determined by what makes the most sense to drive the highest levels of productivity and engagement.”
While some micro-managers may suggest workers only want hybrid environments to be out of sight and hopefully out of mind, the reality is the workplace model offers a range of benefits for contact centre agents, their employers and the customers they ultimately serve.
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