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Call Center Cactus Chat

Episode 14: The Challenges of Managing Remote Employees

Jake sits down with Eric to tell him about the biggest challenges in overseeing over 200 employees, as an operations manager, especially those working from home.

Listen to the Podcast:

Eric: Welcome to the contact center cactus chat podcast. I’m your host Eric Mulvin coming to you from sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

Jake: And I’m your co-host Jake Cayang from Dumaguete City, Philippines.

Eric: I’m a serial enterpreneur, started my business 10yrs ago and 6 LLC’s later, I started Pac Biz Contact Center Outsourcing in 2015, today we have over 200 employees and growing.

Jake: And I’m the Operations Manager here in Pac Biz and I have been working with Eric since 2014 and I grew as the company grew.

Eric: So whether you’re looking to outsource for the first time, whether you manage a Contact Center or you’re just looking to improve your customer experience, we’ll be covering topics for you.

Jake: So Business Managers, Operations Managers, Business Owners, this is for you so make sure to subscribe.

Eric: Welcome back to the show. Thank you guys, for listening. We appreciate all our listeners. And again, I’m joined in person in studio by our co host, it’s great to have you in Phoenix today.

Jake: Thank you. Yeah, it’s been nice. And you know, we were last year or this week, earlier this week. It’s like, it feels like a lot of that’s happened already. But yeah, it’s it’s been fun. And thank you for, for inviting me over

Eric: and as operations manager at Pac Biz you oversee about 200 people. So at the peak of COVID, we had about 99% of the people working from home today, I think that numbers are right around 70%. So what were the biggest issues that you faced managing remote work? And what did you do as Operations Manager to overcome them?

Jake: Yeah, it’s funny, because we were expecting a lot of issues. When we when we started the first day, second day. Yeah, they were pretty minimal, you know, some connections, a little adjustments, but right after that, it went really smooth, like, people are excited to work because they’re working at home. And they, you know, there’s no, there are no absences. If there are, there’s somebody’s gonna fill in. And, you know, they gotta cover to shift until, you know, they get used to it. And that excitement fade. Yeah, they started, we started noticing that people are lacking focus on their job, possibly, since they’re, their each houses, probably they’re, they’re doing something or they’re talking to somebody. And so that’s, that’s the first problem that we saw, the lack of focus. So what we did was, you know, we, it’s, you know, number one, number one priority is quality. So the QA department really, you know, took care of it. And within, with the extra monitoring of the agents were working from home, versus the agents or working there were still feel working in the office at that time. And, yeah, that’s the, you know, the lack of focus was, you know, it was a group because of the help the QA, and then we also do live monitoring. So we use several platforms, just to make sure that we see the, the agents that that needed monitoring, and luckily, not all of them are needed to be monitored. So those are the challenges. And right now, it’s, it’s already a privilege. It’s not like you, I am employed and paid, so I have the right to be worked to be working from home. And it’s not like that you need to provide all the things that needed that needed, like to replicate the office environment, and just the things that we have the silence the the reliable power and internet service. So tha’s the sort of things that we we have in the office, just to or we we asked from the employees so that they can work from home. So I want to ask you this, Eric. So you’ve been, you know, you’ve been here in the US and we are there. And that’s another example of working remotely

Eric: true.

Jake: Have you had any problems or issues without setup?

Eric: Yeah, I mean, definitely, that’s one of the questions I get asked most often, like, how do you manage everything in the US like how? And I think the second question they asked is, How often do you go back? Because I think people are thinking like, Man, I gotta see my team every day and most people are backing away from that now because of more acceptance of working remotely, which again, maybe why you’re listening. But I do think I’m a bit unique because based in Phoenix from day one I had to have, I had to manage people remotely. So from 2014, when we started operations in the Philippines and started taking calls for first business in my taxi company, then yeah, it was always remote.

Jake: And, you know, those things that, you know, that the same challenges for, for the culture, like, people are not showing up sometimes they tend to be probably feeling safe, just staying at home and participating all the activities. And, you know, lately they have been going out, and I can see people working in the office and even helping other stuff, like decorating and, and preparing for the Halloween and, you know, I can see as follows. And, yeah, it’s fine. That culture was able to pull it off in the fall, even if you know, there was, we had this pandemic for, for two years. And yeah, the relationshi, culture, the, the, you know, all the things that, that we used to have during before the pandemic, you know, it’s slowly going back. So this is, yeah, the challenge is, you know, it’s slowly getting, going away. Like, you know, we’re going back to normal, but still, we’re still, we still have people who are working from home. And that’s, that makes us different from from others. Yeah, we were embracing it, as it’s, we see that there’s a way to make it work. So we will continue to work, doing, giving employees the setup, or a chance to work with their families at home.

Eric: Yep, that’s for sure. You know, family being one of the top core values of pact is, you know, what’s, what better way to promote that core value than continuing to allow work from home where they could be with family, if they could, you know, meet the privilege of providing the level of support we’re looking for from them. So. So hybrid model is here to stay working from home is here to stay, although we still have 30% of the people working out of the office right now. So it’s not like everybody’s working from home. And I’m sure we’ll start seeing that number creep up more as things, you know, the Philippines have been a little behind in the US and UK and Canada, as far as COVID. Some of the restrictions are just now November 2020, to just be lifted. So they’re starting to feel more comfortable doing more events. And so sure, we’ll see more people working in office, but we’re excited to continue to offer work from home. So that about wraps up our conversation on remote work challenges and managing remote work. And I hope you guys can see, you know, maybe at first it was like a daunting task, how do we get up this mountain of remote work? And we showed you some paths up to the top of that mountain? And yeah, it is possible, and if you don’t want to deal with it, and that’s what we’re here for. If it’s customer support, customer experience, virtual assisting, there’s a lot that we could do here at Pac Biz to help out. So you don’t have to take on that challenge when you take it on for you. And then you deal with people like Jake, was also the account manager for some of our clients.

Jake: Yeah, not to mention that we already figured out what to do. So it’s, it’s very safe to do the minimum set setup. And, of course, it would be considered what type of account what type of industry, you’re working. Your your businesses, so yeah. But yeah, if you need anything you need help, and you’re interested in working with us. Yeah, just keep on listening. If you need some more information, we still have future podcast recordings and a lot of topics. And we also have already uploaded several topics that you might need to know.

Eric: Yeah, so go check, check out some of the past episodes. Because here, as you already hopefully realize, we talk about outsourcing, we talk about customer experience, managing call centers. And so we hope you found something valuable today. And you can check us out on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, full episodes are on YouTube, so you get to see us in person interacting so but one of the thank you guys for listening to the show. I know. I think Jake and I have gone a little longer these last couple of episodes because we’re in person. So got a little bit more to say than normal. But thank you guys for listening and appreciate it. Thanks for Thanks and have a great day.

Jake: Thanks, guys.

Eric: See you on the next episode. See ya.

Jake: See ya.