Do service teams lack the tech and skills for long-term remote working?by
Many British firms do not have the technology or in-house digital skills to support a long-term shift to mass remote working, should the coronavirus outbreak demand it.
25th Mar 2020
Around a third of UK organisations do not have the necessary technology infrastructure in place to support mass remote working on a long-term basis during the COVID-19 crisis, a new study has revealed.
And the new poll of senior business decision-makers by Leonne International and Censuswide, indicates that these problems are compounded by a lack of in-house digital skills to cope, reported by over a quarter of organisations.
Contact centre operators appear to be better prepared than companies in most industries, with estimates indicating that between a quarter and a half of all providers currently employ homeworkers.
Even so, the UK lockdown means that the scale of remote working now taking place is unprecedented, meaning that even customer service teams are unprepared - not least because calls from anxious customers have escalated as they seek support and advice.
Unsurprisingly then, according to the recent poll of 200 senior business decision-makers from large and medium-sized companies, 41% plan to boost their tech investment over the coming weeks to try and cope with the ‘new normal’ of remote working.
Such expenditure is also being spurred on by the fact that many (35%) are afraid of entering their own workplace due to the possible infection risk, and large numbers will be working from home for the foreseeable future.
Sridhar Iyengar, managing director of online office application suite Zoho Europe, said: “The COVID-19 crisis poses an existential threat to many businesses, with a significant number of companies completely unprepared for the sudden shift towards 100% remote working.”
Mark Walton, CEO of Sensee, believes that many organisations will now come unstuck if they haven't properly considered homeworking technology as part of their disaster recovery plan.
"Many organisations make the mistake of thinking that their in-house technology ‘ecosystem’ will work seamlessly in a homeworking environment. Sadly, that is rarely the case," he says. "Ensuring that IT ecosystems are effective, secure and compliant for contact centre homeworkers can be very complicated - and may need new investment."
The consideration process should involve organisations asking themselves the following questions, according to Walton.
- Does homeworkers’ technology meet your specifications?
- Do your customer communication channels/systems have the capability to support homeworkers?
- Can you effectively train remote workers?
- Is your recruitment and onboarding software optimised for homeworking?
- Will your quality and performance monitoring software be effective in a work-at-home environment?
- Does your security framework support homeworking?
- Can you provide secure access to business mission-critical applications?
- Are your solutions compliant with ISO27001, PCI-DSS and GDPR regulations in a work-at-home environment?
- Can you provide real time support for advisors that may be experiencing difficulties (using virtual technologies, instant messaging etc.)?
Walton concludes: "If the answer to some or all of those questions is ‘no’ then consult a homeworking expert about solutions that can deliver a complete 360 degree homeworking solution - one that provides full visibility, control, engagement, and of course information security for remote workers.
"Finally, If homeworkers are using company equipment (computers, phones) to conduct their work, ensure that you can support this equipment effectively."
Read more from Cath Everett
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