Transitioning Back to the Center from Work from Home
By Craig Montgomery, Answeron
There will be many adjustments for agents as they transition back to working on the floor after remote work. Commuting, working with coworkers directly again, following professional dress requirements, adjusting back to the old routine – just to name a few. For some, this transition will be overwhelming and lead them to consider leaving their current role.
Outside of the general safety and cleaning protocols of recalling your agents to the call center, here are some considerations to make so your agents feel successful during this next transition.
Within appropriate safety and health constraints, host a team event to boost morale! If constraints keep you from having the event in person, host a virtual game hour on Fridays via video call and screen sharing. A budget for a delivered meal before or after the event could be a great touch!
Remind agents they can come to you with issues and maintain regular check-ins with agents. Key questions to ask: How is the transition back to the floor going—highs and lows? What organizational gains and struggles are you facing? Are you experiencing any home/work friction within the new transition?
If your call center has gone to a more flexible schedule system during the remote time period, plan for how the transition back to a stricter schedule and loss of autonomy will be difficult for agents.
As agents return to your brick and mortar call center, consolidate digital channels and outline which communication methods will be the preferred method going forward. Restate to all agents how information will be delivered and how team meetings will take place.
Focus on achievements and daily victories! Highlight successes on a team and individual level.
Address the Anxiety
Returning to shared spaces will cause anxiety for many people. Help address this anxiety by having resources ready for those agents needing mental health support. Also, be transparent with policies and safety precautions being taken at the call center BEFORE agents return to the space. n
Craig Montgomery may be reached at email@example.com. For more information about AnswerOn, go to www.answeron.com.
How do you assess ongoing training requirements?
Training for the agent shouldn’t stop after the new-hire training is completed. Training is an ongoing evolutionary process. The goal of your call center’s training program is to provide training for the skills necessary to perform the job, plus training for the skills necessary to enhance ongoing performance.
In developing your ongoing training program, it is useful to define what employees need to know and be able to do at 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and 120 days. For each of these timeframes, a checklist can be developed that outlines critical knowledge or skills so training gaps and performance issues can be identified.
- Some typical questions you might ask at each of these stages are:
- What additional things does the agent need to know?
- What policies and procedures could affect job performance?
- What behaviors should be reinforced?
- What specific tasks can be assigned to allow for growth?
- Is it time to expand the level of authority and empowerment?
- What feedback is needed on each agent’s performance?
- What training objectives have been met or not met?
And in addition to expanding an agent’s abilities in their current role, there may also be opportunities to learn new skills or enhance general skills like time management, stress management, telephone and e-mail best practices, vocal skills, written communications skills, and so on.