What Was WFH Due To COVID-19 Is Now WFH Permanently
A new trend is quickly emerging as we all navigate a world that seemingly changes every five minutes. What was once “We sent our workforce home because of COVID-19” is now “Hmmmm…. that’s working out better than expected, we’ll leave our workforce at home, permanently.”
The change seems sensible for many reasons, but let’s examine the “why’s” a little more closely. For many, WFH is creating happier employees, which is cited as the number one reason to stay WFH (though your kids may be driving you a little nutty!). Number two is to protect the business from future disasters. Number three (very interesting to me) is improved environmental impact. The other top factors are all business related, including: technology performs well, improves productivity, and real estate expenditure savings. While the latter is lower on the graph, I think we’ll see savings emerge as a top reason as companies begin to publicly share WFH standards and reasoning.
Let’s think about this cascading effect. Less time in traffic equals greater productivity (even if you log on at the time you would have normally arrived at work), decreased pollution, decreased wear and tear on your vehicle, maybe even less vehicles per household, less people eating out at lunch, less people in commercial buildings, etc. All of these results affect the workforce supporting the infrastructure and have even broader implications. Does this mean we’ll be growing our own food? Grinding our own flour to make all of that delicious sourdough roaming around every social channel? Home cooking for every meal? Probably not--dabbling a little in each of these disciplines most certainly, but we still do WFH.
I think there will be a bloom of new offerings in the service industry as trends that emerged because of COVID-19 become the new normal, such as increased meal and grocery delivery. Commercial real estate lunch counters may go away somewhat, but I see delivery lunch options replacing them. Our core legs of industry (banking, retail, healthcare, etc.) will all continue to evolve their virtual presence rapidly.
Essential to all these services are the contact centers. They consist of potentially virtual teams that ensure delightful customer service as you interact with these companies. Contact center agents will grow and evolve right along with the changing habits of our society. These helpful humans become ever so important as we navigate our way into a new frontier.
So, the next time you talk to an agent that has helped you, make sure you thank them! I feel grateful that I am aligned with Five9 – a company that ensures these agents, their supervisors, their company and in turn their customers (you and me) have an exceptional customer service experience.
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