Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Homeworking – A Flexible Approach for Contact Centre Employees

Homeworking is being investigated by Creative Sheffield as a flexible alternative for contact centre services to complement office space in London.

Homeworking is an increasingly common trend across all sectors, for businesses across the UK. As employment law shifts to accommodate family life, flexible homeworking is being built into the very fabric of working life. And even in sectors traditionally associated with offices and team work, such as the contact centre industry, homeworking is being considered.

The Digital Home Working Initiative

Creative Sheffield – the city economic development company – has spearheaded ambitious plans to create a legion of entrepreneurs in the city who will offer contact centre services from their own homes. The scheme is called The Digital Home Working initiative; individuals interested in spear heading their own customer service or contact centre services in their homes will be supported by Creative Sheffield to do so. It's a visionary attempt to bring homeworking into the contact centre sector, and Creative Sheffield will offer not just skills and training for homeworking schemes, but business investment and start-up advice.

Homeworking Pilot Scheme Kicks Off

The homeworking initiative for contact centres kicked off with a pilot scheme involving 50 people, with the plan to expand the scheme into a two-year programme involving up to 1,000 people interested in homeworking. Creative Sheffield is bolstering its homeworking initiative by putting out to tender for an experienced contact centre, customer service centre or telemarketing supplier to help provide a routing link between the service providers and end user clients.

Homeworking: Flexible and Efficient

The homeworking scheme could be adopted across the UK if the initiative is a success. Creative Sheffield is ensuring the pilot is given the best opportunity possible by providing homeworkers who set up their own contact centres with the necessary IT equipment and infrastructure for professional call handling. John Hudson is the Director of Enterprise and Skills at Creative Sheffield, he said in a press release that the home working scheme was an attempt to overcome some of the difficulties the contact centre/ customer service sector faces in-house. The homeworking schemes aim is to provided more flexibility and greater efficiency. Mr Hudson said: “The home working model is more flexible and readily accommodates the graveyard shifts and weekends. We aim to match supply to demand more closely. Improving the working environment for people leads to increased reliability and greater productivity. Importantly, operating overheads for virtual call centres are significantly lower.”

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