The Best Contact Centre is Not a Centre at All - #homecaring

Posted on Monday, May 12, 2014 under Healthcare

There has been a great deal of debate recently in the media about allowing employees to work from home. Last year Marrissa Myer the CEO of Yahoo virtually banned teleworking for a time because of the perception that people need to be physically collocated to effectively collaborate and thereby produce bottom-line enhancing innovation.  While some might argue that the success of Yahoo vs Google vs Apple might be dependent on some other factors besides the location and amenities of their campuses there is evidence that for problem-solving and teamwork there is something to be said for working together in the same place. That is of course unless you are working with and helping people who are by definition not in the same room as you; people who may be stuck on the side of the road, tending a child with a fever or trying to manage a legal issue. 

In the assistance world, we work one on one with the people we are trying to help. Our focus is on them, seeing them with our mind's eye and attempting to calm them by smiling and "leaning in" on the phone or even at a keyboard. In this environment we believe that there is something to be said for providing our employees with a work environment that allows them to see their families, spend less time behind the wheel, avoid rain, snow, sleet and ice and more or less work when they want and just as importantly when we need them. 

In a case study that you will find on this site, we tell the story of how we dealt with the H1N1 Pandemic in 2009-2010.  One method to prevent the spread of the influenza virus is through social distancing. In 2009 we were very fortunate to have over 30% of our full-time staff that worked from their own homes. By definition, they were socially distant from each other. They could also help us and our customers by taking extra shifts when things got very hectic. This benefit to our callers and customers is repeated across all of our services where we have committed to supporting employee choice when and if possible regarding where they work.   

Globally Sykes Enterprises, Inc. has over 50,000 people that make up a vast virtual contact centre environment. These people do not have to face long commutes, pay for parking, or pack a lunch.  They simply close a secured door in their home and through the magic of technology enter a virtual workplace that is linked to our core operating networks allowing them to theoretically support callers from anywhere in the world. SYKES® has been a world leader in what some have called "home shoring" of employees for many years. For more information on SYKES Home please visit 

Working from home is not for everyone. It requires self-discipline and the ability to work independently. We also have to ensure that employees have secure, private workspaces free from barking dogs or even needful family members.  When our @ home team are working, they are at work. This, as mentioned above, takes discipline but also provides tremendous benefits to the worker and the company alike, which is reflected in our ability to provide very easily scalable and reliable solutions to our customers. If you would like to find out how this innovative approach to staffing can help you, please contact us by clicking on one of the tabs below this article.