Cake on someone’s birthday, Friday office barbeque, team building excursions. You know, normal office employee stuff. Because, ahem, your remote agents are normal office employees.
Remote agents can sometimes feel left out or less valued than their colleagues who work on premises. That’s why as a manager, employer or team leader, it’s important to consider your entire workforce when it comes to motivating staff and planning benefits.
The New York Times reported that 43% of employees occasionally or permanently work from home. Just because they’re not in your direct eyeline doesn’t mean they don’t need attention.
We’ve put together a few ideas on how you can make your remote agents feel more like part of the team.
Give them healthcare
Everyone wants to be healthy. And healthy employees don’t call in sick often. Bonus!
Health care can sometimes be seen as a luxury, but it should be essential. According to human resource firm Robert Half, 66% of US companies offer health insurance to their staff. Giving your employees the health coverage they need or even partly paying towards their health scheme, is one the best things you can do.
And remember, just because Jane works remotely, it shouldn’t exclude her from the same health benefits as the rest of the team.
Update their tech
You need to enable your agents with the tools they need to complete their tasks away from the office. Without the right headset, your customers might not hear your agents or the noise in the background could become very distracting.
Consider giving your agents the right equipment for remote working or even an annual technology allowance.
Read our blog about what to look for in contact center headsets.
Get together more often
Remember, home agents work and live in the same place. This might sound like a dream come true, but there are definite disadvantages. They can become overworked, alienated, lonely and even depressed. Cabin fever is real.
When your agents go above and beyond their duties, organize a get-together with your whole team and celebrate everyone’s good work. Your agents will be able to relax and hang out with teammates who work outside of the office. We bet Peter, your team’s stay-at-home-dad, would love an afternoon off to chill with his colleagues.
Throw in some home office perks
Hard work isn’t limited to location. All agents, whether on-premise or remote, will benefit from an incentive.
MeetEdgar pays the bills for monthly house or workspace cleaning as a benefit to employees who work from home. Consider getting a cleaning company to send someone to your top agents’ homes to clean once a month – this can even become an incentive they can work towards.
Everyone loves surprises, right? You can arrange a surprise delivery of cupcakes or lunch to your agent’s house on special occasions to show them you remembered. Or you could go and visit your remote agent once in a while and surprise them with some much-needed human interaction. Being surprised by your boss may not seem like a fun idea, but if the aim of the visit is to deliver a gift, then that’s completely different.
Birthdays, long service, company milestones – always keep your remote and home agents in mind too.
Value their ideas
According to the results of Project Aristotle, a research project undertaken by Google to better understand how their teams functioned, feeling valued and respected is essential to healthy team dynamics.
Communicate often, listen, and show you value your home agents not only as employees but as people. According to the research, psychological safety, or put simply, feeling safe to be yourself at work, is one of the most important factors for employees to be happy.
When you think about it, it’s not that difficult to support your remote agents, is it?
If you don’t have remote agents yet, read why your contact center should embrace the home-based agent.