Supporting Agent Wellbeing in a Hybrid Working World

That means that investing in ensuring their wellbeing is vital to your business.

The pandemic and lockdowns have dramatically increased the importance of focusing on agent mental and physical wellbeing.

The discussion ranged across five broad areas:

1. The Growing Focus on Wellbeing

81% of the audience said that the focus on staff wellbeing had increased in their company due to the pandemic, with 12% saying it remained the same.

Given that there’s a clear link between happy employees and high performance, has it taken a pandemic to make wellbeing a business priority?

Angela from Salesforce felt that COVID-19 had forced every company to deepen what they were doing, and pointed out that it had helped normalise talking about mental health, removing any stigma that may have previously been attached.

As Chief Happyologist at Ascensos, Yvonne is responsible for ensuring individual and overall wellbeing amongst the company’s staff, who are spread across multiple countries and locations.

For her, employees need to be happy at home and at work, with distractions such as managing children and other worries impacting wellbeing.

You need to take a holistic approach. And while homeworking has a positive side it is much easier to skip breaks and to overwork when not in the office. Backing this up, 27% of roundtable attendees listed working longer hours as the challenge that had grown most amongst their staff during the pandemic.

2. The New Challenges for Frontline Workers

As well as longer working hours, frontline workers also faced pressure from more angry or emotional customers, listed as the challenge that had increased the most by 23% of attendees.

Yvonne from Ascensos agreed that customers now expect more, and are more likely to become angry  – and that it is a lot easier to deal with angry customers when in the office, surrounded by colleagues.

Ascensos is using Teams chats and groups to fill this gap, giving agents a way to communicate and share their feelings in real-time.

As Mohammed from Microsoft pointed out, generally technology has stood up well – but that the primary group that has benefited has been information workers.

What is needed now is to do more to digitise processes and support agent productivity and wellbeing.

WellKom’s Anthony stressed the importance of treating the root causes of these challenges, rather than the symptoms. For example, there’s a proven correlation between high blood pressure and being forced to use unfamiliar technology.

Prescribing tablets for high blood pressure won’t solve the bigger problem.

3. The New Challenges for Contact Centre Organisations

At a basic level, employers need to treat their staff as human beings– they need to demonstrate that they are authentically putting them first when it comes to wellbeing, adds Noorzaman of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors.

Value-driven businesses will prosper according to Angela from Salesforce – companies need to treat employees as adults, and that starts with trust.

4. How Technology can Help

When lockdowns and remote working began, the first focus was on technology to help people do their jobs. Now organisations need to look beyond this to new ways of working that help with wellness, especially in a hybrid environment, pointed out Mohammed from Microsoft.

The company has looked at how you can replicate some of the positive elements of office working using technology. This includes enabling more relaxed meetings and helping employees to adjust between the end of the working day and moving back into home life.

Microsoft Teams has acted as a communication and collaboration foundation for many organisations, including Ascensos. It has brought staff from across Europe together, ensuring that everyone sees the same information at the same time through a common news channel.

This is supplemented by more straightforward communications – quick check-in phone calls with staff, not to talk about work, but how they are feeling.

Analysing calls and collecting post-interaction feedback from agents can help show where support is needed to help with wellbeing concerns.

5. Moving Forward to a Hybrid Future

The final poll asked how companies were changing to support the hybrid workforce. Unsurprising the vast majority (58%) were putting in place team collaboration/communication tools, with a further 15% offering a broader range of flexible working options.

Overall Angela from Salesforce stressed that technology can be the greatest friend and greatest enemy of wellbeing. Collaboration tools can bring people together and provide the ability to make work less formal and more human, but also need to be balanced with an understanding of human needs.

In conclusion, Yvonne from Ascensos pointed out the key takeaway from the webinar – if people are happy, they do a better job. Starting from that point and building a human-centric strategy is essential to wellbeing, and business success.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Enghouse – View the original post

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