November 7, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
The results are out: flexible work and work-at-home models of employment improve service delivery and employee satisfaction. And while the 4,000 studies on agile work environments cover the many pros and cons of work-from-home programs, there’s one area that gets less airtime: benefits to the environment and infrastructure. The truth is that by utilizing a work-from-home employment model, you can become a green contact center, cutting carbon emissions, reducing traffic, and protecting infrastructure.
Traffic Is Only Expected To Get Worse
Drivers in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, San-Francisco, Baltimore – the list of congested U.S. cities goes on. Drivers here might cringe, but the truth is if the current pace of traffic growth continues, drivers in these major metropolitan areas can expect commutes to become twice as long. That time doesn’t just affect your employees; longer commutes mean less productivity from workers and a decrease in the accessible talent pool. Those traffic jams are also responsible for almost three billion gallons of wasted gasoline, which contributes 26 million extra tons of greenhouse gases.
Adding to this increased traffic congestion are services like Uber and Lyft, which drivers say frequently stop suddenly or drive well under the speed limit looking for their passengers. Crain’s Chicago Business recently sponsored a study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. The research showed that over the past 4 years, traffic has increased and overall speed has slowed 2.4%, leading Chaddick Assistant Director C. Scott Smith to conclude, “It seems that more people are on the road driving.” A number of factors are thought to be responsible, but the strongest correlation is with the introduction of licensed ride-hailing vehicles, which have increased almost 340% since March 2015 to December 2017. For an aspiring green contact center, these numbers are frightening.
What’s more? Even partial work-from-home policies help create a green contact center, and these policies also impact community health in other ways. Half-time telework could save more than 1,600 lives and prevent almost 100,000 injuries a year. And that doesn’t include the annual cost-savings: $12 billion in costs associated with traffic accidents.
One way contact centers decrease investment in infrastructure is to use a cloud contact center platform, like Genesys PureCloud. Check out the video below for more information and talk to a Mindsight representative if you have more questions.
Work-At-Home: Energy Consumption Costs
The carbon footprint created by commuting to work is enormous; 86% of U.S. workers commute an average of 18.8 miles a day. Work-from-home policies could reduce each U.S. workers’ carbon emissions by 98%! The economics alone are complex and intriguing, with savings for the business on everything from electricity and heating to furniture and coffee beans. (That doesn’t include the savings workers experience, which is part of the complexity). But the savings extend beyond the balance sheet of finance to strained transportation systems, poor air quality, and increased pollution emissions.
Green Contact Center: The Challenge With Change
Making the switch to a flexible work schedule certainly benefits a green contact center model, but there are challenges that need to be addressed. For one, there is a learning curve to working from home, and not everyone is cut out for it. This applies to both management and employees. Sending home a work-from-home policy on Friday with a plan to implement on Monday would, more than likely, be a disaster. Whether it’s trust, social support, presenteeism vs. productivity attitudes, information security needs, collaboration, or regulations, obstacles can get in the way.
Guiding Green Contact Center To Pasture
Performing a contact center roadmap is one way to develop a contact center plan with environmental concerns as a business goal. By focusing on how the technology within the contact center can support these green business initiatives, your contact center can implement technology strategically to meet them. Contact centers looking to make the switch to flexible work models need a contact center platform that supports flex work. Mindsight’s engineers will sit down with your agents, understand the business objectives, and deliver a tiered solution that drives growth, builds on your current systems, and helps your contact center meet the future head on.
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About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.