The Transition to a Successful Work at Home Agent (WAHA) Model
The remote work modality is rapidly becoming the norm among office workers throughout the globe. Remote work is a way to work outside the employer´s premise. One common alternative to on-site work stations is the home office. In this scenario, the employee uses their own house as a workplace, but working from cafes, co-working spaces or any other location would also apply. According to the International Telework Academy for Latin America and the Caribbean (ITA-LAC), remote work promotes a sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment opportunities, and a better work and life balance for employees. The main difference between remote work and a work at home agent (WAHA) is that the former covers all types of professionals, working remotely from anywhere, while the latter is a term that is restricted to contact center agents who work from their homes. WAHA is a prominent growth opportunity for the customer care industry, including both outsourcing service providers (SPs) and organizations with in-house contact center operations. Contact centers today are presented with a myriad of challenges, including raising saturation levels in the labor pools of key urban areas, and strong competition for skilled talent from adjacent industries, such as financial services, hospitality, airlines and services. This is making it harder for business process outsourcing (BPO) centers to find the right talent at the right cost. WAHA provides a unique solution to this challenge as it allows BPOs to tap into a larger pool of potential employees. As a matter of fact, the benefits of WAHA for contact centers are many and include but are not restricted to lower costs compared to an in-site operation; access to an untapped talent pool that is unable or unwilling to commute to work; ability to establish operations in cities, regions or even countries where the company does not have physical infrastructure; and better work-life balance for employees, which leads to lower absenteeism and attrition rates. Without exception, all the CCSPs interviewed for this research (AlmavivA do Brasil, GOL Linhas Aereas, Sitel, and Teleperformance Colombia) expect to see extremely high growth rates in terms of WAHA agents in LATAM in 2020. The overall contact center outsourcing services market is forecast to exhibit low single-digit growth in the number of agents in 2020, year over year. This study explores the best practices, benefits, challenges and growth opportunities for WAHA, and provides real examples of successful implementations.
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