Tips for Work From Home (WFH)

Tips for Work From Home (WFH)

26 . March . 2020

Due to a variety of reasons, the concept of Work From Home is increasingly being adopted by businesses around the world.

Technically speaking, these days, any of your employee that primarily works on a computer can easily work from home.

There are several benefits that WFH model offers. For instance, foot traffic at the office location is reduced, no additional space required when adding more staff, office building related expenses are reduced, the work can continue in the event of DR and BCP, staff saves time and money by not commuting and enjoys home-made lunch, etc.

If you need to have your designated staff work from home in the most effective way, ZRG team is here to help with our experience, knowledge and solutions. Our aim is to help in making WFH strategy work for you, especially if you're doing it for the first time.

We have gathered and put together useful tips that can be used for working remotely, possibly for an extended period of time during a DR condition or due to change in business strategy.

1. Get the technology in order.
Technology is what enables remote work in the first place.

So make sure that the employee has a working laptop, cell phone and internet access device at home. Mouse and keyboard - anything that might make working on laptop for longer hours a little easier.

Next is the software. Make sure each user has the right applications. Lots of remote workers are leaning heavily on Remote access, Slack, Skype, Zoom, etc. Evaluate out what will work best for your team your office.

Of course, you'll want to make sure all your technology actually work from home. Your IT and networking teams play a major role in making it happen.

2. Make sure the bandwidth is available
Another thing? Network access - is it robust enough at home to allow you to voice and video chat or join in a conference? High speed wireless internet access is easily available from multiple providers.

To maintain stable connectivity, do not allow this bandwidth to be shared by the employee with anyone else at home.

3. The kids are alright - but they're home too.
If your employee would be working from home with kids around, then as a parent, they will need to make a plan for the education and entertainment of the kids. They can stock up on books, board games and puzzles.

Also, be flexible about how much work your employee might realistically be able to get done in a shift if they're balancing child or elderly care.


4. Manage expectations.
It is best to have a discussion with your staff about what can actually be accomplished from home.

A manager can explain what the priorities are, and should discuss how tasks will get done.

How are teams going to track projects they're working on? How will they meet to discuss this? Will everyone be connecting on Slack or email, etc? Will there be standing meetings at a certain time to get everyone coordinated?

This should be an ongoing conversation. Remember, going fully remote is a new experience for many companies and their workers.

Be honest about what isn't working or can't get done in these circumstances. More overall communication is going to be necessary.

5. Provide these guidelines to your WFH staff
If you're distractible, get ready for work every morning like you are going to physically go into work. Dress up, do your hair - whatever you'd normally do. This puts you in a professional mindset.

It's hard to draw a sharp distinction between home and office when you're at home. But to the extent possible, create a space at home that looks and feels like your office to you.

If you're the type of person who never takes a break at home, set a timer to take time for lunch, and turn off your work. Or go for a walk. If you don't change your venue at some point during the day and take a breather, it can make the claustrophobia worse. Try to maintain normal work hours, and shut things down when you would normally leave the office.

During audio calls, you can even try repeating back what you heard the other person say, to make sure you interpreted the person's meaning correctly.

You should be comfortable with using the webcam. Webcams are great to have face to face discussions and it is helpful in minimizing the sense of isolation or confusion. Screen sharing is an excellent alternative to paper based printouts.

6. Stay connected.
One undeniable loss is the social, casual "water cooler" conversation that connects people - if your staff is not used to that loss, full-time remote work can feel isolating.

To fill the gap, you can have your team leaders schedule online social time to have conversations with no agenda. Again, embracing video calling and webcams will help the staff see colleagues. Try an icebreaker over your team chat: What's everyone's favorite TV show right now? What's one good thing that someone read that day?

For comments or questions, please contact

ZRG Team
Call: +9221 3431 3222
WhatsApp: +92314 200 8000
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZRG.INTL/
Web Chat: www.zrg.com
Skype: zrgsales
eMail: zrg-edesk@zrg.com
Fax: +9221 3431 3220

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How to prepare a plan for the contact center disruptions

How to prepare a plan for the contact center disruptions

18 . March . 2020

Among various challenges faced by your contact center, the possible disruptive effects of the coronavirus or other disasters are at the forefront these days. Many contact center communities are reviewing their disaster readiness preparation. A hot topic is WFH or work from home contact center agents.

To assist our clients and partners in this conversation, the ZRG team has put together some guidelines on how to build a business continuity plan for your contact center. We can help you in configuring ZRG’s OneView contact center system into a work from home ready environment that could open so many possibilities for your business.

ZRG is an award winning provider of contact center and advanced CTI system solutions. ZRG has been around since 1994 and is widely recognized as an expert in the specialized field of customer relationship and business communication technologies.

PREPARE TO MAKE A PLAN

To prepare for your contact center to pilot through an unexpected disruption or disaster, the best practice is to create a business continuity plan (BCP). This plan should identify teams to navigate potential disruption, as well as critical infrastructure and vendors for your business. Part of the documentation of the plan should include a time-based checklist. That plan should document how to keep the servers and employees working in the event the server or agent work site becomes unavailable, e.g. having a DR setup for the Server and phone lines and the WFH option of allowing agents to work from home. This details what happens at each stage of an event. There also should be clearly documented steps that occur when the BCP is activated.

BUILD YOUR BCP TEAM

The first step is to build the BCP teams. Each group should have a distribution list and a call tree. Keep in mind, in a continuation event, not everyone may have access to email or voicemail, so a clear communication plan is necessary. For best coverage, it’s best to use more than one media for points of contact for each team member.

With a call tree, instead of one person trying to reach out to entire teams, a tree structure is created in which specific contacts call others, who in turn call their contacts, and so forth. This is a straightforward means of contacting everyone that should work across almost any sized organization; in larger, more complex environments, it may be possible to automate the notification process. One of the jobs of the BCP Committee will be to create definitions for what is considered mission critical. This will vary depending on things like the size of the business or the industry.

THE BCP COMMITTEE

The team is made up of individuals representing key functions. These should be people who have the authority to make decisions that impact their areas of responsibility - preferably managers or their delegates. Each of these individuals will own their functional areas’ specific response to a BCP event. There should be two people designated as the overall decision-makers for the BCP: a primary and an alternate. Additionally, it often makes sense to have two people assigned as document owners who are responsible for maintaining the actual contents of the plan.

THE BCP RESPONSE TEAM

This team is made up of people who are activated in the case of an event. Using the primary/alternate model, key sites would have specific representatives, and key functional owners would be represented. The overall decision maker would be in this group to make on-the-spot decisions as events unfold.

THE BCP CONSULTANTS

Finally, BCP Consultants are those individuals who need to be kept informed of progress; an example would be members of senior leadership who are not on the above teams, IT partners, business leaders, or even vendor representatives. Other members of this group might be people who have specific skills or knowledge that may need to be called upon depending on the type of event, its duration, or other predefined criteria.

CRITICAL SITES

How a critical site is defined depends on what is housed at the site. In a large, distributed company not all sites may be considered critical. For each critical site, there should be a clear response plan. That plan should document how to keep employees working in the event the site becomes unavailable. If the site contains a critical function, the documentation should lay out the business impact of losing that function over time. It also should lay out the process for the workaround or for moving the function to DR server site or to have remote agents login and work from home. ZRG solutions support this WFH agent mode. Several organization are using WFH with great results.

CRITICAL APPLICATIONS

These are applications that, if lost, will have a measurable negative impact on the business. For most enterprise productivity applications, there are alternatives and workarounds. For other applications, however, it would be beneficial to have an off-premise instance of the application that is isolated from the normal business network; this application could either be reinstalled or spun up by a designated vendor. As part of the plan, document the impact over time of losing this application, establishing when it would become necessary to reinstall or utilize an outside source.

CRITICAL VENDORS

Every business has vendor partners that are important. If one of your vendors has an event that impacts availability, it’s important that there’s a documented workaround or alternative. In some cases, there’s an obvious choice. For example, there are a variety of shipping companies that could provide similar services, or there are a number of computer hardware manufacturers that could offer machines built on a common architecture. However, other partners that offer products or services that may not be readily available might be harder to replace.

MAKING SURE THAT BCP IS READY

A key function of the BCP committee is to review and keep the plan up to date. At minimum, there should be a quarterly document review that identifies changes. If the plan is kept current, these quarterly meetings shouldn’t take much time, only a quick evaluation to determine if site contacts have changed or if any of the applications or vendors need to be updated.

Finally, a best practice is to have regular practice in implementing the BCP. This means testing the distribution lists and call trees and documenting the response. It also means that you need to hold regularly scheduled simulations where the BCP Response Team works through a scenario. This should happen at minimum once a year, and it would be better to have it twice yearly. This allows the team to work through the checklist and document areas for improvement.

If done properly, a BCP can be invaluable even in the case of minor incidents and a huge benefit in the unfortunate event the full BCP has to be activated. Being prepared is the key to success or failure.

ZRG IS AVAILABLE TO ASSIST YOU

ZRG is well versed with all aspects of managing contact center sites and agent related matters. For over 25 years, we have helped leading organizations achieve their customer acquisition and retention goals.

We have successfully delivered Enterprise level projects to prestigious organizations in the banking and financial services, telecoms, insurance, courier, pharmaceutical and energy service industries in the national and international market.

We believe that by improving your business communication and customer interactions, you can create an edge for your business. An experienced partner like ZRG can help you in making your communication functions efficient, your workplace more productive and your customers happier. For more details, please contact

Tooba Kiran
Team Marketing

Call: +9221 3431 3222
WhatsApp: +92314 200 8000
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ZRG.INTL/
Web Chat: www.zrg.com
Skype: zrgsales
eMail: zrg-edesk@zrg.com
Fax: +9221 3431 3220

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Super Effective Ways To Inspire Your Team

Super Effective Ways To Inspire Your Team

1 . November . 2019

Teams are the way that most companies get important work done. When you combine the energy, knowledge, and skills of a motivated group of people, then you and your team can accomplish anything you set your minds to.

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Ways To Address Agent Empowerment Challenges

Ways To Address Agent Empowerment Challenges

1 . September . 2019

One of the most important and inevitable obstacles any company faces multiple times throughout its life cycle is the need for change.

Organizational transformation requires empowerment and participation at all levels. Once a company is well-prepared for change, only then can they start preparing for the change battle. Behaviors and mindsets must be adapted for a quick and positive change.

The first phase of winning the change fight is to empower the team and enlist as much participation as possible at all levels.

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Efficient Use Of Your Existing Technology

Efficient Use Of Your Existing Technology

1 . October . 2019

It happens to the best of us. As we vet options, we become enamored by the bells and whistles and cool functionality that a technology product can deliver.

Then, we go through implementation, roll out the new technology to our teams so we can achieve our primary goal for the new technology, yet somehow settle with using a just fraction of the functionality we were sold.

Getting more out of your technology isn't just a matter of ROI, it's also a great way to stay innovative, develop new efficiencies, and stay ahead of the game. Here are a few ways you can get more out of your existing tools:

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