Work from Home Call Center Agents – The Pros and Cons

According to a Global Workplace Analytics survey, the number of workers who now list “home” as their primary place of work has increased 73% from 2005 to 2011. Call centers are among the workplaces that now allow employees to work from home. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Call Recording andWorkforce Management (WFM) software provides agents with the same technological capabilities they would have at their office. This is particularly true when hosted call recording and WFM are accessed through cloud computing. 

But is it a good idea to allow agents to work from home? Here are three arguments in favor of this arrangement – and three arguments against. 

It’s a Good Idea Because…

1. Comfortable Employees are Happier Employees

The comforts of home can make a call center agent more content in his or her work, and more motivated to maintain their employment by working hard and meeting the company’s needs. And depending on the home environment, there may be fewer distractions there than there would be at a busy call center. 

2. It Saves Money

Agents who work from home avoid the two-way commute every day, which saves money on gas. Parents can also save on daycare for their children and the need to maintain a ‘professional’ wardrobe for the office. The arrangement is more economical for the company as well, as it does not have to provide a workstation on its premises. 

3. A Sense of Independence

An agent may feel more confident in knowing that he or she is trusted enough to work from home without a manager looking over their shoulder throughout the day. 

It May Not Be a Good Idea Because…

1. Potential Loss of Productivity

It takes self-motivation to work from home. Agents who lack this virtue may be distracted in a home environment, and their job performance will suffer. 

2. The Motivation of Competition

In an office environment there can be a sense of healthy competition between agents, who measure their performance on first call resolution and call times against each other. While it’s certainly possible to compare notes via email, it’s not the same as when agents are working side by side. 

3. Communication

Without face time with coworkers, agents may not find out about new projects or opportunities as quickly (or at all). Work-from-home agents may also miss out on the camaraderie and support they receive from fellow employees and managers.