Everything you’ve read for the last 12 months has said the same thing. The pandemic changed how we work, now we work from our couch, now our home is our office. However, that isn’t the work from home vision 5CA has been working towards for the last 15 years.
For us, working from home is having access to undiscovered talent. And giving them opportunities. Sometimes when they’re in the most remote places.
Exactly 95% of our workforce works from where they’re most comfortable. They do their jobs, then plan their own hours around it. They save money and time on commutes and coffee. And they’re happy doing it.
For our CEO, our agents working from home are of incredible importance. Long before any virus sent us into lockdown, he had recognized its possibilities. He pictured people everywhere providing customer support from the comfort of their homes.
The world has caught up and is now recognizing those possibilities. A study on working from home found that post-pandemic, 20% of workdays in the US will be virtual. That’s all well and good. But where does it leave people like us?
Many people are now returning to work. Plenty of higher-ups have skewed ideas of WFH. Whether they’re picturing employees on a beach sipping Mai Tai’s or binge-watching Netflix, CEOs everywhere are stressing a return to the office.
We don’t see the point. With so much cloud-native tech to keep us functioning as a team, there’s no reason to head anywhere. Our agents are happy working from home and so are we.
Working from home isn’t the beach. It isn’t Netflix or movies or video games. It’s hard work. But it’s also rewarding if you do it the right way.
5CA and work from home are salt and pepper. It's a symbiotic relationship. One that isn’t going anywhere while other companies return to their offices. Working from home helps us find talented people - most of whom might not have been able to work in the CX industry.
We have a dedicated networking infrastructure that helps us organize all parts of the organization. Moreover, we have strong set procedures to cover any issues that may occur along the way. (Technology isn’t infallible, after all).
Around 65% of our work-from-home agents have a degree. They also make it possible for us to provide multilingual support to clients who need it. All comes down to a unique distributed operating model that keeps our agents remote for good.
Working from home can seem stressful at first, but it doesn’t have to be. We wanted to share some ideas on what to do to supercharge your WFH lifestyle. Why? Because working from home is the future, not a fad.
Like having a separate room to sleep in, you need a designated workspace. Keep your work life separate from your home life, even if you are working and living there. Having a designated workspace means you don’t take your work home with you. Even when your work is at home.
Working from home can be isolating. If you’re part of a team, engage with each other. Send messages, make jokes, ask about the weather. By engaging with those you work with, you’ll feel part of something. However many oceans there are between you, there are days when it can feel like your team is right next door.
Communication is key when working remotely. Keeping everyone in the know is one of the biggest challenges of remote work. Report everything you’re doing to your team and supervisors. There’s no such thing as too much knowledge. That way, everyone on the team knows what everyone else is doing.
You aren’t only a team, you’re a community of individuals. You all have your own likes, dislikes, and hobbies. Sometimes, they cross with other people you work with. Nothing bonds us quite like shared interests. And even those of you who don’t like the same things can teach each other about the things you love.
Whether you’re flying solo or as a part of the team, you need a structure to your days. Even those who think they function best “flying by the seat of their pants” tend not to. Not when you're talking about working from home. Home is full of distractions. To avoid them, create a to-do list at the end of every day so you can hold yourself accountable.
When structuring your days, don’t forget to schedule breaks. Taking breaks is important. They’ll help you avoid burnout and mid-afternoon slumps. But you do need to schedule them. If you work at a computer all day, step away. Leave your phone and computer where they are. After all, a break where you work isn’t a break.
Going outside can power your productivity. Even stepping outside your front door for five minutes can help. You'll get a nice hit of vitamin D and fresh air in your lungs. You’ll feel more refreshed and revitalized than you would if you’d stayed indoors. Take a walk in the morning tomorrow and see how much better you feel.
Overworking from home is easy. Those emails you’re “just reading”? Work. That message you sent your supervisor outside of work hours? Work. If you’re working more than you’re paid to, you’re actively damaging your mental health. Stick to your work hours. Anything after that is your time. Do things you enjoy and finish that coding tomorrow.
We have agents across the planet, all with different working hours, and they only work during those hours. Set yourself a time to wake up, downtime before work, and stick to your work hours. While there are obviously times when you have to show up early or work late, they should be few and far between.
Tracking your projects isn’t exclusive to keeping the rest of your team posted. It’s a useful way to stay on top of work without grinding yourself down to the bone. There are tons of useful tools online you can use to help you with that. Be it Kanban boards like Trello to workflow tools like Jira. There’s something for everyone.
While not exclusive to remote work, distractions are prominent at home. It could be laundry, the builders next door, your phone beeping, or kids having fun in the yard. Distractions are everywhere and have no problem snatching your focus. Turn your phone off, close the window, and put on some headphones.
Music affects everyone in different ways. For some, music helps them concentrate. Those lucky enough to be able to work to their favorite tunes should do so. It’s an excellent way of pulling you into the moment to focus on the tasks at hand. But even if you think you’d have trouble with it, it might be worth testing out. Certain pieces can help those with ADHD.
Your body needs food to survive, but so does your brain. Maybe you’re living on caffeine and a dream or have trouble tearing yourself away. But lunch is as important to schedule as breaks. Set aside 20 minutes to an hour for lunch, leave your laptop, and sit somewhere nice to eat it. You’ll thank yourself.
Even being part of a team can be solitary from home. You could’ve nailed your to-do list or completed all your projects. But if you haven’t communicated that, you’ll be causing bottlenecks somewhere down the line. Ask for feedback on your work. If they don’t respond, follow up. It helps you do the best job if you know what you’re doing.
Words to live by. Never overpromise. If you don’t think you can complete a project but want to please someone, don’t tell them you can do it. You’ll stress yourself out more thinking about what it means for your future. Instead, set realistic expectations and longer deadlines. You'll delight them when you turn it in sooner than expected.
You. Yes, you. Cut yourself some slack. You’re doing better than you think. Working from home isn’t going to feel good if you’re stressed out. So, you missed out on turning that project in on time. What’s done is done. You shouldn’t punish yourself because of it. Remember, it has nothing to do with you or the WFH life. It happens to the best of us.
Having a set number of vacation days isn’t fun. Yet far too many people hold onto them if they can - “just in case.” You wind up having holidays left at the end of the year that won't rollover. Use them. Limit your burnout by taking a day or two off now and again. Free time will help you relax while also reminding you why you love your job.
Learning opportunities aren’t hard to come by. The internet is full of free and paid courses from top universities across the globe. With all the free resources, let yourself take an hour or two to learn something you want. Whether it has to do with your job or not, the act of learning will make you feel so much better.
We have many tools that support our work-from-home lifestyle. Tools that make remote work not only possible but unbeatable. If you’d like to know how we can work from home so exclusively, here are a few of our favorite tools, and some of the benefits they bring.
The cornerstone of our business is our operating model. It allows us to work from home the way we do now and have been doing for over a decade. It centralizes insights, agents, and clients to one place. Which, in turn, helps us speed and ramp up our support for our partners and agents. The model is also integral for our dedication to keeping everyone’s data secure.
Workflow software had changed the way people worked from home before COVID-19 ever did. Having virtual whiteboards, post-it notes, and planning tools revolutionized what we can do. Each team has its own way of working and every individual can pick and choose the tools they use on top of it.
We do everything with Microsoft. Like us, they’re pioneers of modern-day technology. It only made sense that we team up. Everyone at 5CA uses Outlook, Office, Teams, and the host of great tools from Dynamics. Teams keeps us together. It provides a secure place for meetings, business, and chat with our colleagues. Work from home life would be nothing without it.
We designed our learning academy so our agents can up their skills as they work. The platform is full of free, enticing courses. Some to learn more about CX and languages, and others that are plain fun. There’s no limit to a person’s creativity or potential. And working from home gives everyone the time and encouragement to pursue them.
If you want a successful, smart work-from-home team, you need to engage. Our brilliant internal engagement team does it all. From hosting checkpoints to writing magazine-style weekly newsletters. We throw Dungeons and Dragons and Tetris tournaments, have competitions and videos. And we always put focus on our work-from-home agents.
Our Chief Technology Officer, David Bos, and his team are on the mark when it comes to data. They deliver deep insights into cloud-based systems and emerging technologies. We use it all to better the way we operate. They’re always exploring new things. Right now, that’s sentiment analysis and they’re seeing what it can do for customer support at large.
People don’t use multilingual talent enough. By maintaining our work from home model, we can employ people from around the world. We have agents who speak 70+ languages and dialects — and counting — in over 90 countries.
Have you ever had that one customer support experience that no other matches up to? That thought is at the heart of everything we do. We pride ourselves on finding agents that know — or will learn — the brands they work for. The best help comes from people who know the answers without reading from a script.
Remote work isn’t a fad. It’s the future. You have more chances than ever to work from home. We hope this article has given you something to think about. Everyone who works from home should get to enjoy it.
And you can.
No matter the industry you’re in or the business you’re chasing, the opportunities are there. And once you settle that illustrious work-life balance, you’ll never turn back.