Customer Contact Strategies Blog

Laguna Beach Remote Working Master Class

Posted by Michele Rowan

October 6, 2014 at 7:20 PM


Two Days of Thought Leadership:  November 12-13, Laguna Beach, CA

Nathan Hickman, Director Workforce Management, and Michele Rowan, President Customer Contact Strategies, lead this two-day meeting on all things remote working.  Topics are attendee-driven, and will incude the following:


Topics and Dicussions Points:

  • Building a remote working infrastructure that will scale in the future
  • Identifying attributes and characteristics of high performing remote team members
  • Cultural connectivity and engagement of remote staff
  • Best practices in collaboration and peer recognition
  • Virtual performance management - getting it right
  • Innovtive technology to leverage a remote platform
  • Virtual learning - design & delivery

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Deep dive discussions, benchmarking, and thought leadership in an intimate setting.  Attendees are surveyed in advanced on topics of high interest, ensuring you walk away with exactly what you came in for.


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Topics: Remote Working

More Evidence that Telecommuting Augments Performance

Posted by Michele Rowan

September 25, 2014 at 2:30 PM


Unversity of Illinois 2014 Telecommuting Study:

Results from a recent study on benefits and limitations of telecommuting was released by the University of Illinois; here's the scope and top line findings:


  • 500 surveys were mailed to full-time US based professionals across a broad scope of jobs
  • 300+ employees responded, and another 150 (managers of the employees) also responded
  • 1/3 of the respondents worked from home or in a satellite office part-time, 2/3 worked from home full-time.
  • Home-based employees were rated on job dedication and working well with others (vs. their in-house counterparts)
  • Telecommuters have lower stress and tend to work longer hours

Could it be that telecommuters still often represent the "cream of the crop", or highest performing employees, and therefore skew survey results like these?  Certainly on the enterprise side of remote working, this could be the case.  Many organizations have invited just a fraction of their corporate or enterprise staff to telecommute.

But another meaningful reference point is telecommuters in contact centers.  80% of companies surveyed by Customer Contact Strategies in February 2014 reported that their home-based contact center employees had lower absenteeism, similar or better productivity, and higher employee satisfaction scores compared to their in-house counterparts.

So two more meaningful reference points that both en masse and from this recent smaller sample, telecommuters perform (at minimum) as well, and often better, than their office-based co-workers.

More data and case studies on telecommuting returns for enterprise workers, contact centers and support roles will be shared at the Remote Working Master Class, Laguna Beach, CA, November 12-13.  Two days of extensive thought leadership and benchmarking.

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Topics: Remote Working

Nathan Hickman: Building a Scalable Work at Home Model

Posted by Michele Rowan

September 4, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Meet Nathan Hickman, Director Workforce Management and Technology Planning, BECU Credit Union

Driven by a keen curiousity surrounding physical vs. virtual distance in the workplace, Nathan conducted his graduate thesis at Gonzaga University on remote workers and was published in the 2011 Journal of Business and Leadership.

Take a listen to the 15-minute podcast, and then join Nathan and 25 additional subject matter experts  in Laguna Beach, CA, November 12-13 for the Virtual Agent Conference.

Listen to Nathan's insights on:

  • How to build a scalable program on a small program budget
  • Separating virtual distance challenges from physical distance
  • Efficiently and securely utilizing employee-owned equipment in a highly regulated environment

November 12-13 Laguna Beach, CA Virtual Agent Conference

Two days of intense thought leadership, benchmarking,
and - paddleboarding.

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Topics: Remote Working

Drivers and Returns in Remote Work

Posted by Michele Rowan

December 12, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Remote working is exploding as a result of mobile technologies. An estimated 33 million Americans work remotely for all or part of their workweek, and the forecast doubles by 2016.

Enterprise road warriors are getting more work done now than ever before, with less down time. Flexibility and convenience is driving speed to market at a newfound pace.

For mid and back office support functions, remote working is liberating people to choose their ideal workplace - while controlling or reducing the high price of real estate.

And for contact centers, remote working opens up massive pools of US-based talent, flexible, variable staffing, sky-high employee satisfaction and retention, and improved attendance and productivity.

A recent survey conducted by Customer Contact Strategies by 200+ organizations revealed the following results:

  • 74% of participants reported improved attendance
  • 64% reported improved employee retention
  • 58% reported productivity improvementscost20improvements

But how do we ensure that remote workers are as engaged, and as productive as their in-house counterparts?  Three critical success factors:

1) Well defined expectations.   Employees perform at their best when they know what is expected of them, check. For remote employees, that equates to well-defined job responsibilities, highly visible performance results and clear expectations on participation from a virtual perspective (i.e. virtual meeting attendance and contributions, response times to written communications, etc).

2) Job matching. Not every job is a good fit for remote work. And not every employee is attracted to it. Highly successful companies are careful to assess both before transitioning positions.

Best suited for remote work are roles that require less than 60% extensive face-to-face collaboration to produce output. Customer facing positions, content development, data processing and management, quality assurance and verification are terrific fits for remote work, along with the manager roles that support them.

Not every employee wants to work remotely. It's an extremely personal decision, with many factors that play into it - some of which change over time, based on the personal conditions of the employee and the role the employee holds.

Successful companies invite employees to complete a self-assessment for a remote position, before the organization conducts an assessment or makes a commitment.

3) Strong company culture. This is the big nut to crack, because it requires a very truthful and transparent assessment of current cultural state to be successful. Organizational values and beliefs are conveyed through meaningful and inspirational leadership, and embraced by employees via purposeful activities. Connecting the remote community calls for leadership preparation, business process reworking and technology enhancements to ensure that remote employees are highly visible, engaged, informed, supported and trusted -  as equally as their in-house counterparts. 

Some hugely successful companies in remote work include American Express, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Remote Working

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