Business leaders, analysts, and pundits agree: flexible work environments are the future of contact centre work. Cloud technology, mobile devices, and advances in cybersecurity make it possible and cost effective for associates to support customers from virtual contact centres. At the same time, certain industries and organisations require employees to carry out critical functions in brick-and-mortar contact centres. And some employees may not have the ability to work from home.
This is why success in our new reality will be defined by an organisation’s ability to help employees feel confident about working in a brick-and-mortar contact centre as well as a virtual one. Here are 9 must-do’s to make brick-and-mortar contact centres as safe and secure as possible, based on measures that we at TTEC have implemented in our own contact centres:
Be proactive in addressing health and safety concerns
1. Prevention measures. Have protective measures in place to ensure the safety of agents returning to the office. This includes thermal screening, mask requirements, workstation barriers, having employees sign health attestation forms, pandemic training (reviewing prevention measures and good hygiene recommendations), as well as social distancing, and a zero-tolerance sick policy for the workplace. Provide paid sick leave so that employees don’t report to work while sick.
2. Response protocols. Create a protocol for addressing agents that had confirmed exposure and/or test positive for COVID-19 (e.g., require agents to self-quarantine for 14 days, have the site deep cleaned and deploy professional antimicrobial fogging services, etc.) This includes creating a site closure protocol that determines when to close a site, how to proceed while the site is closed, and define criteria for reopening a site.
Be ‘safety obsessed’ when it comes to the work site
3. Stay informed. Monitor and implement safety and health precautions from the World Health Organization, Communicable Diseases Network of Australia, and local government protocols that are applicable to your workplace.
4. Visual guides. Post internal signage to promote and reinforce hand washing and social distancing guidelines. For example, placing floor stickers in areas that have the potential for a line to form (turnstiles, Kronos clocks, vending machines, thermal screening stations, etc.) to illustrate proper social distancing.
5. Sanitise. Sanitise. Sanitise. Set up sanitation stations at all entries, common areas, bathrooms, and throughout the production floor. Additional sanitising wipes should be made available at workstations and common areas.
6. Indoor air quality. Evaluate HVAC systems for maximum air quality and make adjustments where needed. Ensure there is a good airflow in all areas.
Stay vigilant together
7. Keep employees involved. Each site should elect at least one health & safety ambassador who is responsible for ensuring these guidelines are observed and can obtain feedback from the teams in what could be improved.
8. Communication. Create a cadence of communications about upcoming changes and its impact to help employees feel included and ease fears.
9. Virtual collaboration tools. Invest in online collaborative tools that make it easy for remote employees to communicate with colleagues at B&M contact centres. From town hall meetings to team activities, ensure that everyone is included, wherever their work station is.
Ultimately, the key to thriving in our new reality is making it easy for company leaders, employees, and partners to work together in keeping each other safe and healthy. By accomplishing that, employees can get back to what they do best, delivering an exceptional customer experience.