June 2021: Bringing People Back to Site…by Marco Colaiacovo

Bringing People Back to SiteWant to bring your people back to sites?  We can help!

Early in 2020, Covid-19 thrust all organizations into the ‘send people home quickly’ mode. We all did our best to piece technology and logistics together. The scenes of employees leaving our sites, boxes in hand, not sure of how long they will be working from home is a testament to the flexibility and adaptability of the Contact Centre sector and how we cared for our employee base during a difficult, uncertain time.

Fast forward 15 months, vaccines have been developed and deployed with ~75% receiving the first dose; restrictions have been eased (albeit cautiously); people are seeing hope. Now, we must address the question that has been in the back of our collective minds for the past 15 months:

When do we start bringing employees back to B&M sites and how do we do this?

The question does not have a right or wrong answer, it should be based on each organization’s ethos and risk tolerance. Some factors to consider:

  • Do your employees want to return to sites? This question is critical.
    • Now that they have a taste for working from home and the inherent advantages, this question becomes extremely relevant. Attrition risk exists by forcing people back to the site; anxiety increases by reintroducing large groups of people (albeit socially distanced) in an indoor environment.
    • Conversely, there are employees chomping at the bit to return to offices and socially interact with coworkers
    • As an aside, the entire Hybrid approach will gain more prominence solely based on this question. This is a topic for another day and one that is gaining significant traction globally.
  • What restrictions/guidelines are you going to use?
    • Will only those vaccinated with first/second dose be able to come back to your building?
    • Have the social distancing renovations taken place? How have you cared for common areas? are masks mandatory and if so what exceptions are in place? Are you implementing temperature checks for people as they enter the facility etc.? All these questions need to be answered.
  • Has productivity and/or communication suffered during the pandemic period?
    • Simply, and to steal a common phrase, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
    • Each organization is different and is affected (or not) in different ways. The pace of repatriation to sites can be dictated by asking this question.
  • Create a schedule of returning employees
    • Ensure adequate support is on-site
    • We May have to adjust schedules at the beginning to ensure manageable on-site working hours
    • All stakeholders need to be a part of this schedule
      • IT will need to ensure equipment is in working order and on desks socially distanced
      • Facilities will need a deep clean and create the social distancing areas
      • Operations will need to ensure all equipment is returned to the site and support is available
      • HR must coordinate communications and policies around repatriation

Most organizations I speak to are stating, rightfully so, that bringing people back to the site will be more difficult than sending people home 15 months ago. This is a true statement, but there is not a sense of urgency as there was in 2020, so proper planning and coordination can take place.

CCNS is hosting a Lunch and Learn session on July 8th to talk in more detail about bringing people back to the site. Look for the invitations and please plan to attend, it should be a very interesting discussion.