Since the beginning of 2020 and the inception of COVID-19, contact centers have had to make adjustments as to the way we work and employees’ daily lives. This shift in the workplace proved to be specifically challenging for contact centers and help desks. Agents were used to being in an office and not working virtually. The change to in-person and effectively assisting customers had to take place quickly and efficiently. On any given day, agents might experience more extended workdays due to higher call volume, handling of complicated subjects, and customer complaints, and aggravation.

Agents are now going to transition from work-from-home to the office each day. This will be a slow process due to the sensitivity of the Pandemic, and there are mixed outlooks as to the right time for agents to switch back to face-to-face.

 

Below is advice for managers as agents that begin to return to offices and are no longer working from home.  

  • Ensure employees are educated about safety and wellness in the workplace. It would be best to have transparent processes for the teams to understand the new job design and workplace setting. Managers should have constant contact with their employees to support team members and ensure they are safe upon them returning.
  • Conduct regular meetings to discuss shifts and changes that may occur. These meetings should take place daily, give appropriate updates to the teams, brainstorm new ideas in the new setting, and discuss how to handle complicated situations.
  • Scheduled breaks need to be encouraged for agents do not feel overwhelmed or frustrated with their jobs. This is a time to rejuvenate agents for when they return to the phones. Creating a better customer experience will benefit the team and the business goals.
  • If a team member needs additional support after COVID-19 and switches back to face-to-face work, offer them extra support and reinforce the importance of their schedule breaks and recharge. If additional support is needed, please refer them to employee assistance programs available through the workplace.
  • Due to the large number of employees that work in a contact center and shared workspace, managers should ensure that the following areas are cleaned and well maintained:
    • Workstations
    • Keyboards
    • Telephones
    • Desks and chairs
    • Rest Areas
    • Photocopier and printing areas