As You Plan for the Next Phase
In a recent post, I talked about how leader mindsets will play a major role in how brands fare as they ramp back up to re-enter a post-COVID world. Companies who see their current, COVID-driven accommodations as necessary-but-temporary solutions are likely sending a clear message to their customers and employees that once the crisis has passed, everyone will work as hard as they can to get business “back to normal.”
But that mindset is unlikely to work out too well. Because, in all likelihood, we’re never going back to the old normal. In that post, I also talked about how, right now is the right time to step back and identify the lessons you’ve gained from this rapid, unexpected, unprecedented jolt to your business. How has this pandemic forced you to re-assess old paradigms, new solutions, and the potential for moving forward with better processes, tools, channels than you had before. For many American brands, this has been a time of discovering better ways of doing business, not just hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass.
If you doubt me, just ask the employees you transitioned from on-site to at-home. If they’re anything like the many at-home agents I know, here are some things they’d like to tell you:
- I Control My Workspace
One of the reasons at-home customer care agents love working from home is that, they have a much broader span of control over their actual working environment. If they need silence, they work in silence, without coworkers chatting in the background. If they need the windows open or white noise or low music, they make it happen. Don’t underestimate the power of this fact. It is a perk that is highly treasured by employees and delivers a better experience to your customers.
- I’m More Productive
I’ve cited this large-scale study before, showing that remote workers are, on average, 13% more productive. Even if that’s not the number you’re experiencing during the pandemic (because right now, quarantining with school-age children or other dependents might be disrupting some of your at-home employees’ work hours), the facts show that you can expect higher productivity from at-home workers.
- I’m a Happier Employee, More Likely to Stay with the Company Longer
Last year, in a study by Owl Labs of 1,200 remote workers validated what we’ve known at Skybridge Americas for many years: these employees enjoy better work-life balance, less stress, and higher employee retention rates.
- I’ll Call in Sick Less Often
There are two reasons for this. First, once removed from the seasonal rounds of colds and flu, employees get sick less often. Second, employees who know they’re starting to show early symptoms of these illnesses (sniffles, little coughs, etc.) – but aren’t too sick to work – can work as long as they feel well enough, without worrying about infecting coworkers.
- I Love Not Commuting
At-home employees place enormous value on the specific benefits gained from forgoing the daily commute. There is, of course, the basic math of the number of hours they regain for themselves. Then there are the cost savings associated with gas, car maintenance, etc. But, for most remote workers, the overall payoff is far greater than a simple sum of the parts. Commuting isn’t just a time thief. It carries with it the stresses of multiple unknowns, from traffic incidents to bad weather to car problems, and the tedium of daily traffic. Ask your newly remote workforce how they now spend their old commute time each day. They won’t just describe activities. They’ll describe freedoms that they treasure.
As you map out your post-pandemic path forward, talk to your remote workers. Factor in the benefits and the trade-offs of keeping people at home and keeping them engaged through the smarter use of technology and talented, motivating supervisors. That’s how we do it at Skybridge Americas. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, please reach out. We would love to talk.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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