Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some interesting conversations with senior leaders particularly those operating in the digital transformation space.
A number of conversations have gravitated to the lack of ‘red tape’ during the latest digital transformation projects aimed to get teams working effectively but remotely.
A number of businesses have seen large scale transformation projects, expected to take months or years, accelerated to happen almost over night. The need for an increase in urgency when taking business from a BAU busy contact centre, to throwing all efforts (particularly from the IT teams) into directing a large volume of team members to work from home.
The most popular discussion piece, across business – both large and small has been the realisation that when business continuity relies on it, projects that would typically take 6 months of planning, sign off and preparation have all been conducted in less than two weeks, with two extreme cases that I’ve encountered taking just 48 hours.
What’s amazing, is that the transformation is truly adding value and keeping businesses contactable and compliant with the current nationwide lockdown restrictions.
Something that I have challenged the key stakeholders with that I have spoken to, is whether this sudden implementation of remote contact centres teams gives a true representation of what we can achieve post-crisis?
From my discussions, here are some key take-aways from this situation that I believe could improve “working life after COVID-19”:
- Diversity and Inclusion – Could we open up the options for a diverse working culture i.e. people that are unable to travel to attend a regular place of work, perhaps due to a condition or, disability as they could operate functionally from the comfort of their own home?
- The meeting that could have been a phone call – Could we replace meetings and travel expenses and key stakeholders time by holding meetings remotely to decrease downtime within a busy working environment?
- Flexible working to control peak times out of core contact centre hours – The RAC are one example of a business that utilise home working agents to pick up additional call and digital contact out of hours by logging on remotely – is this something that could span new market sectors?
- Decreasing dependent absence leave – Could we empower with the opportunity to work from home when dependants are ill? Typically, in this situation, businesses see their stakeholders required to take a leave of absence from work to cover this time – accounting for around 5% of absences within the corporate world.
- Empowering key stakeholders to make decisions – This could alleviate the need to request permission to advance transformation projects, and for individuals to be accountable for project budgets and to make informed decisions to decrease project guidelines.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. What impact do you believe COVID-19 will leave on the workforce within the contact centre space?
Holly Beeston is a Executive Search and Recruitment Consultant at Douglas Jackson. Holly specialises in the Utilities, Telecomms and Technology – SAAS vertical markets. Contact Holly on firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01543 231074