Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Feeling Pressured to be More Productive when Working Remotely?

May 14, 2014

As contact centers become more and more dispersed and reliant on remote agents, those agents are turning to their mobile devices increasingly to stay all ways and always connected.  A few questions arise concerning this trend and the impact it is having on remote/mobile workers. In fact, it is a quest to understand what is going on with such workers, and how they feel about the value and pressures of using mobile technologies to be constantly available, Aspect (News - Alert) Software’s European operations recently conducted a survey of U.K. remote workers. The results, as contained in a posting on CallCentre Helper.com, are food for thought.

In response to the top-level question posed in the headline, the answer was an impressive YES! Over 65 percent of U.K. workers surveyed said they feel pressured to be more productive when they are mobile working.

Where it gets interesting is that only 38 percent of respondents felt they had seen significant increases in productivity as a result of using personal devices. However, 58 percent felt their productivity would be enhanced if job-role specific mobile apps were developed for them.

Smart device use is popular

There is good news and bad news from other parts of the research. The good news, and this might be good news for remote workers as well as their employers, is that over 70 percent of respondents said they are using their smart device every day. In short, supervisors know they are reachable, and unlike those working in physical contact centers for example, workers have the benefit of not being glued to their remote desks.

The not so wonderful findings were that despite the reliance on personal devices, businesses are not leveraging the utility to be gained and “appear sluggish” in adapting to fast-changing work environments, worker habits and preferences. Illustrative of this were the following results from the survey:

  • Only 16 percent of the sample stated that their employer had a clearly defined and well-publicized policy on the use of devices
  • 26 percent claimed to be working on a policy
  • 28 percent, unfortunately, said their organization did not intend on developing a policy

Paul Thomas, Senior VP Northern Europe at Aspect Software in comments about the survey noted that, “It is evident employees feel the positive effects of being increasingly connected.” He added, “Despite the pressure over productivity expectations, it is vital organizations respond, adapt to, and harness this new-found mobile mentality.”

The posting goes on to cite an example from Thomas who noted, “If, for example, a sales force or customer service team uses a CRM tool, they need to have full access to this when they are on the move…Access to these resources – via hosted (cloud) business-focused applications – will allow employees and businesses to effectively harness the increased levels of productivity that mobile working can offer.”

There is a very old proverbial saying (that originated in the mid 19th century in the U.K.), “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The optimized use of mobility, as indicated by respondent interest in customized apps, needs to be considered the equivalent of teaching somebody how to catch fish. There are significant long-term productivity gains from doing so, and management needs to be a lot less “sluggish”.    




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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