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With most of the United States now a month or longer under stay-at-home directives, readers continue to seek information on managing through the coronavirus pandemic and work-from-home issues. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 and remote-work-related posts once again topped the list of most-read content on the Pipeline blog.

Contact Center and COVID-19: Lessons Learned
To say the Coronavirus pandemic caught many contact center executives unprepared would be an understatement. As the seriousness of the virus became increasingly apparent and the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) continued to be refined and narrowed in terms of social distancing and number of people allowed in a single gathering, the gravity of this threat to the contact center industry became crystal clear. Immediate action was, and is, required.

The Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make with Remote Work
Remote work in contact centers has evolved from an alternate staffing strategy to a core employee benefit. In fact, 80% of contact centers today embrace flexible scheduling and remote working for some segment of their population. Based on remote-work consulting and conferences with hundreds of clients, trends that we see in terms of mistakes and key learnings that companies have experienced in the last eight months include the following…

Call Center Preparation for the Coronavirus
Call centers are a hub of germs! Reps sit close together in pods, they sometimes share headsets with their supervisors, they are stuck inside without fresh air every day, and they share bathrooms and breakrooms. If someone in your call center gets the coronavirus, it could spread quickly. Having your call center quarantined can result in lost revenue and lost clients!

Coronavirus = Business Continuity Plan
Operational service delivery has changed rapidly due to the Coronavirus. Those organizations that have not had success with a work-from-home model must rise to the challenge and learn from their failures, and learn from others that have a successful model. During the budget planning process for 2020, I doubt organizations planned for a significant capital budget for a surplus of laptops, desktop computers, etc., for their entire staff. I talked to several organizations who are scrambling to enable their teams with the appropriate computer equipment as well as ensuring network connectivity can handle the remote traffic.

Embracing Remote Work
The ability to work from home continues to top the list of desired benefits for employees seeking better work-life balance. Over the past five to 10 years, technology has enabled the growth of remote work across sectors and professions, and research suggests that nearly one-third of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely by 2025. Within the contact center world specifically, remote work programs have been on the upswing as more companies recognize the value they offer in attracting and retaining top talent.