During the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home models spread throughout the call center industry. Some BPO providers were fortunate enough to have a remote work infrastructure in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, but many had to quickly adapt to new quarantine regulations. As a result, many call centers were forced to make short-term adaptations to their employees’ working processes in a blink of an eye. The long-term impact of these changes remains to be seen, which leaves many potential clients uneasy.
While concessions needed to be made when it came to work-from-home during the pandemic, those days are over. Just like wearing a mask in public, remote options are no longer being deemed a necessity. With this in mind, a growing number of clients are requesting in-office agents as part of their outsourcing deals. To accommodate the needs of their clients, outsource call centers have no choice but to initiate return-to-office procedures and reduce work-from-home flexibility for their agents.
One major hurdle BPO providers face while making the transition is a negative impact on employee morale and increased attrition. Many agents prefer to work from home, citing better work-life balance and mental health. To ease these concerns, Outsource Consultants has compiled a list of ways to add excitement to returning to the office.
Offer Entertainment and Recreation
The reality of the working world today doesn’t have to consist of sitting in traffic, then in an office filled with white noise, followed by another bout with traffic on the journey home. As many agents look toward the future of returning to the office, they may imagine this same scenario and feel dread. Thankfully, there are several ways to break this illusion without negatively impacting your KPIs.
The first is to offer a dedicated lounge space. If you have extra room that isn’t being utilized or the ability to reorganize to make space, this is a great option. A television, couch and even arcade-style games give call center agents a safe space to unwind, get to know each other, and even team-build. These areas also give employees incentives to show up a little earlier. Rather than anxiously sitting in traffic, agents know there will be somewhere to have a meal or watch the news before their shift.
Once you have a space set aside with a television and seating, why not take things to the next level? Hosting get-togethers to watch important events such as the World Cup and the Olympics is a great way to build morale. Your employees will appreciate a chance to catch up on their favorite competitors’ scores and liven up their day. You may even find a fun way to incorporate the event into team building, such as fantasy teams, brackets, or gold medal counts.
Partner With Local Businesses to Provide Perks
Every agent loves a little downtime during the work day, especially when food or unique experiences are involved. Partnering with a local food truck to come to your building and offer hot meals to employees is a great way to get agents excited to come in. Not only do agents save time they would have spent packing a lunch, but they may also get to try new foods or find a new favorite dish!
Another fun experience you can offer call center agents is a pop-up market. By setting aside space for local businesses and artists to sell their products, you help call center agents save time during their busy days. Instead of agents needing to set aside precious free time to travel to stores, have the stores come to them! These events are especially appreciated during the holiday season when employees are on the lookout for great gift options for their family and friends.
Provide Ways To Improve Work-Life Balance
We’ve talked about inviting businesses to sell products and food, but what about services? Trips to the dry cleaner or doctor are a huge inconvenience for agents. Bringing these services in-house can help save agents time and may even help them limit the time they need to take off.
Service providers often don’t need a dedicated space in your building to operate. Dry cleaners, for example, can pick up and drop off any dry cleaning needed, keeping your staff looking fresh for big meetings. As for medical needs, many clinics offer mobile services including vaccinations and quick physicals on scheduled days. Some call centers even have doctors and nurses on-site permanently to help ensure their agents are happy and healthy.
Partnering with local daycare centers is another great way to reduce the stress agents may face when planning a return to the office. Children’s care costs have been rising in the United States and abroad, causing many families to consider staying at home or working remotely. Connecting your employees with convenient, low-cost daycare centers will help them keep more of their paycheck and eliminate childcare logistics as a barrier to returning to the office.
Children aren’t the only family members that may need to be watched while agents are working. Many families adopted pets over the pandemic, nearly 1 in 5 in the USA. Leaving these new family members at home alone can make coming into the office stressful. Collaborating with a nearby doggy daycare can help ease owners’ minds. Finding a facility that can offer a discount to your employees ensures that agents can focus on work instead of what Fido may be chewing up at home.
Find a BPO Partner With Happy In-House Staff
Many of the examples in this blog have come straight from our BPO partners. Our vendors are dedicated to keeping their agents happy while offering you cost-effective, in-house agents. If your company is having difficulties finding the right fit, contact our expert advisors for a no-charge consultation.