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Achieving work-life balance in the hybrid contact centre

Hybrid working has become the norm for contact centres across the UK. But maintaining a healthy work-life balance while working from home still has its challenges.

Hybrid working has become the norm for contact centres across the UK.

Thanks to cloud contact centre solutions – like Puzzel – customer service teams can now take calls, manage interactions, and collaborate with their colleagues from anywhere. Managers can work from any location too, with cloud access to all the tools they need to monitor calls, track performance, and make service changes in real-time.

This has been a huge step forward for the industry, considering just 4% of contact centre agents in the UK worked remotely full-time before the pandemic [1]. It has brought a number of benefits for employees, including:

  • Less time and money spent on commuting
  • More freedom and autonomy
  • Increased flexibility to work around personal commitments

In turn, businesses are also benefitting from:

  • Higher employee engagement and retention
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced real estate costs

But when it comes to improving work-life balance – there’s still more to do.

The work-life balance challenge

Simply enabling employees to work from home doesn’t guarantee them a better work-life balance. During the pandemic, many homeworkers actually reported working longer hours than usual and struggling to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day, which led to high rates of burnout and attrition in some industries [2].

Remote working removes the physical boundary between employees’ home life and work life. This makes it easier for them to work overtime and skip breaks, which can lead to poor mental health long-term. So as a contact centre leader, it’s important for you to understand these challenges and set clear expectations for your staff.

Three ways workforce management (WFM) can help

A workforce management (WFM) solution can help you facilitate a healthier work-life balance for your employees in three ways:

1. Agent self-scheduling

Agent self-scheduling is a feature of WFM that enables agents to submit their availability and work preferences to managers, request shift changes, trade shifts with colleagues and manage their holidays via a portal. This not only reduces your administrative overhead, but provides agents with greater control over their work schedules and work-life balance. Research shows autonomy is one of the strongest motivators for workers [3], so it’s a quick win for you and your staff.

2. Monitor real-time adherence

If you manage a remote team, you can’t physically see your staff at work. That means you can’t see if they’re working through breaks or in need of support. With a WFM solution however, you can monitor adherence in real-time to ensure agents are sticking to their schedules. You can see what each member of your team is doing versus what they should be doing according to their schedules, and therefore when staff are working overtime, skipping breaks, or in need of support.

3. Improve forecasting and scheduling

Forecasting and scheduling are essential when it comes to agent work-life balance. Accurately forecasting contact volumes across the day and planning schedules accordingly will allow you to meet customer demand and provide the best experience for your agents.

Forecasting and scheduling used to be an arduous process requiring the cross analysis of spreadsheets from multiple communication channels, but now WFM programs can automatically generate forecasts using historical data direct from your omnichannel contact centre. With the right WFM solution, you can generate accurate forecasts and plan optimal schedules to ensure your contact centre is always effectively staffed, while reducing agent overtime.

Achieve work-life balance with Puzzel WFM

Puzzel WFM is a cloud-based, multi-skill workforce management tool for omnichannel contact centres. It includes easy-to-use forecasting, scheduling and real-time adherence tools to help you deliver the best experience for your agents and customers. If you’re looking to facilitate a healthier work-life balance for your agents, then book a demo today.

[1] The Inner Circle Guide to Contact Centre Remote Working Solutions

[2] https://www.puzzel.com/2021/01/26/five-ways-to-look-after-your-mental-health-while-working-from-home/

[3] https://hbr.org/2021/10/forget-flexibility-your-employees-want-autonomy

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