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.

Team-Building Event

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!

Regular Check-ins

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?

Flexible Schedule?

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.

Consolidate Digital

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.

Daily Victories!

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 craig.montgomery@answeron.com.  For more information about AnswerOn, go to www.answeron.com.

Training Tips

Ideas to Help Ensure Trainees Retain Information

As a trainer, you work hard to make sure you cover every bit of information that your agents will need when they get out on the floor.  However, with the volume of information, sometimes it’s hard for them to remember everything they’ve been taught. Here are some ideas to help them retain what you’ve taught them.  

Each One Teach One

Author Richard Bach says, “We master what we teach.”  So the best way for trainees to learn something is to have to teach it to someone else.  Upon the conclusion of a training program, have students break into groups and create a new presentation to teach the high points of what they have just learned. They can do this with PowerPoint slides, posters, class activities, or any other method they choose. Give them this activity to do at the end of a day with the responsibility to come in and teach it at the beginning of the next day.  Creating the presentation will cement the material in their minds, and hearing about the material in a different way will help other learners also better remember the content. Those that have to teach it will really remember it better, since the extra effort they make to review the information and then present it will help with retention well beyond any other study technique.

You can also do this as an activity where Group 1 gets Day 1 material to present in a one-hour session, Group 2 gets Day 2 material, and so on.  Also, you can take 8 days of training material and have a 9th day to hold eight one-hour review sessions on all the material previously learned before they test on Day 10.

Get One, Give One

For a fun end-of-day review, ask participants to make a list of the biggest takeaways from the training they attended, then have each participant share their notes with the others in the class. If there is something on one list that it not on another, make sure they jot it down and vice versa. This technique helps reinforce key learnings.

Shout it Out

At the end of a training module, ask the group to shout out a number between five and ten.  Use that number and have the group come up with that number of facts about the topic they’ve just learned.  They shout out the facts and you record them, adding any clarification points needed. Famous trainer Bob Pike once said, “Adults don’t argue with their own data.” By having learners verbally repeat the information you’ve taught them, they will “own” it more and be more likely to remember it.  As a variation from shouting out a number, you can use two big fuzzy dice and have them roll a number, have a number wheel to spin, or pick a number out of a hat.

Break the Silence in a Training Class

Have you ever asked a question during your training session only to be confronted with silence so deafening that you can hear a pin drop? Well, here are a couple of sure fire ways to change the atmosphere of your class from dead silence to total participation.

Discussion Question

If there is no response to your question, simply say, “Turn to the person next to you and discuss this.” You will magically transform your room from absolute quiet to lively discussion in five seconds or less.

Ball Toss

Another way to make sure you get feedback is to toss a ball to one of your students and ask them a question. Once they’ve answered, have them toss the ball to the next person who will be “up” for a question.  If you’re reviewing more difficult content, break your group into teams so that players can work together on their answers and don’t feel that they are put on the spot.