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Managing Risk During Coronavirus 

While we await more details on the return to work, we’ve put together a guide on how to manage the risk of coronavirus in contact centres and protect employees

1. Educate Your Advisors

The basic Government expectations of the British public have become the new norm for most people by now. Keeping two meters apart from anyone outside of your household and prioritising hygiene are two major factors that we’ve all become aware of however, putting these measures into practise in the workplace has seen significant changes to “normal” routines. Keeping advisors informed and educated about these changes and what’s expected of them is key. This can be done by sending regular email reminders, highlighting these things in team meetings and displaying posters around the contact centre to ensure it becomes ingrained.

 

2. Implement Social Distancing

Typically, contact centres are renowned for having lots of people working in the same area and with the health and wellbeing of workers the top priority for employers, many have had to make significant changes in order to make social distancing in contact centres possible. Careful planning for social distancing goes into workforce management to ensure that employees can carry on working safely on site. Measures include operating at a 2-metre distance, bays and desks closed, marking floors, altering shift patterns and deep cleaning after every shift rotation, plus limiting lifts to 1 or 2 people depending on capacity, floor markings or a one-way system on stairs. Some organisations have also utilised meeting rooms and break out spaces as additional workstations to enable them to spread out their staff.

3. Emphasise Cleanliness

Sharing workstations and equipment increases the risk of spreading the disease. Businesses should be providing staff with their own headsets and assigning people with a specific workstation to help minimise the risk. In addition, cleaning down equipment and workstations everyday should become the new normal and therefore employees need access to the materials to do this. It’s also crucial that all staff are paying particular attention to personal hygiene and washing their hands multiple times during their shifts using the recommended techniques. Reminding everyone of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene is necessary no matter how basic it may seem.


4. Promote Open Communications

During this highly pressurised time, it’s important that all employees feel they can speak to a manager if they are experiencing any health-related problems. This is particularly important for anyone who fears they are showing symptoms of the virus. Contact centres are experiencing increasing customer demand and therefore some employees may feel worried or guilty about phoning in sick. However, if someone is carrying the virus and comes to work because of these reasons, the implications are likely to be far more serious with there being significant potential that they could spread it to the rest of the workforce. While no member of staff should ever feel guilty about taking time off for genuine sickness, it is worth reinforcing to the workforce that their health and safety is paramount and encourage everyone to be honest about how they’re feeling. This should also encourage those who are struggling with stress or mental health issues to reach out for support.


5. Plan Ahead

If the worst should happen and there is an outbreak amongst the workforce, having a contingency plan in place is the key to minimising the impact this could have on customers. This will look differently for all businesses and will depend on many factors including the nature of their services, size and geography of the operation and remote working capabilities. It is worth investing in company-wide remote working options as well as considering the line of management should senior staff fall ill. Perhaps there are aspects of work that can be put on hold so that less people have to physically be in the contact centre.

There is much uncertainty around how significant and how long the lasting affects of this pandemic will be, but the aforementioned points are good for best practise. We will continue to share information via our social channels and website. Our goal is to keep the industry connected throughout this crisis so that we all emerge strong, positive and with the right processes in place to get back to business as usual. 

For daily updates on NI Business Support visit: www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk

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