Updates from across the region

Managing a Hybrid Working Culture
Across the NI Contact Centre Industry 

Virtual Team Meeting

Published July 2021

Many of our contact centre members have indicated that they’ll be adopting a hybrid approach to working in the long term.


What a hybrid approach will look like will be different in each organisation depending on working hours, work type, and worker categories however giving employees more flexibility around where they work from is a combination we are seeing grow in demand.


In a recent advice clinic with our members, there were two reoccurring theme which centred on hybrid working:


  • How best how to support hybrid teams

  • How to create a hybrid culture. 


These are two challenges that all businesses will be facing as we enter into this new way of working and there are many factors consider.


Here we explore some of the ways to make the transition to hybrid working easier, what a hybrid culture might feel like and how to get buy in from employees.


Helping teams adapt to the new environment 


Whilst many employees have got used to working remotely in the last year and a half, it’s been reported that there has been a dip in engagement and productivity.


As you move into new ways of working, what ever that may look like it’s important to plan ahead and think about the challenges that may arise in order to help mitigate them. Being pro-active rather than re-active will give everyone the best experience during this transition and in the long term.


The past year has placed huge pressure on everyone, with the contact centre sector baring a big brunt of this particularly in the peak of the pandemic. Taking a consultative approach to the next phase of working will help employees feel involved in the process as well as enabling you to foresee any potential issues.


Team leaders can play a significant part in offering support, gaining insight and feeding this back into the business. It’s important to have regular discussions with the team about what is working, what areas they may need additional support on and whether they have what they need to deliver results. This can be done on a one-to-one basis or in smaller working groups depending on the size and personality of the team.


By taking on more of a coaching function it will ensure there is regular communication, training and that the process is fluid rather than waiting for problems to become deep rooted before addressing them.


Instilling a Hybrid Culture


A new way of working requires a new mindset.


When the pandemic hit in March 2020 businesses and their workforce were forced to adapt to remote working with very little time or planning. In these unchartered territories, leaders became much more transactional in their approach in order to simply keep the operation running.


If hybrid working is to work in the long term, culture is going to play an important part, but it can be hard to live a company’s culture when you’re not living in it.


Much more emphasis will need to be placed on building and maintaining a strong sense of culture that can be felt no matter where an employee is working.


One big take away of the pandemic has been the importance of human connection. We were all deprived of it during the lockdown and the lack of connection is a big contributor to the decline in employee engagement.


Placing human connection at the heart of your organisations culture is a great place to start. Leaders need to be thinking about their people even when they can’t see them. By thinking creatively about how you can foster relationships between management and employees, employees with the rest of their team and with your customers there will always be a sense of togetherness.


The importance of purpose

Another impact of the pandemic has been a shift in mindset for many people who now, more than ever want to feel part of a collective purpose.

People want to feel confident that their organisation is making a positive difference so they can be a part of this. Identifying your company’s purpose and building it into your approach to leadership and hybrid culture will help instil a sense of into your workforce every day no matter where they are working.


Talking openly about the company’s purpose and its wider goals will reinforce transparency and enable each individual to see how their own work is contributing. This can be a big motivator and helps to ensure people across all teams have a collective sense of purpose.


Switching to a hybrid working model will of course come with its challenges, particularly in the early stages but engaging with employees, getting their feedback and genuinely listening will help keep people on board and trusting in the process.


Leaders will have to place greater emphasis on building and reinforcing culture across a dispersed workforce but investing in this process will bring benefits through happier, more productive and more engaged employees.


If you have any tips on adapting to a hybrid working model we’d love to hear from you!

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Membership is open to any contact centre, shared service centre or IT helpdesk based in Northern Ireland. Membership also available to associates and suppliers to the contact centre industry.

For more details view our membership page.