The Future of Work – Where will working from home take us?

The Future of Work - Where will working from home take us?The flexible working day is increasingly becoming the norm, spurred on by a growing sharing economy work ethic and a new employment law to support flexible working for every employee.

When the Government’s changes to flexible working legislation came into force on 30 June 2014, UK employers were bracing themselves for a surge in flexi-working requests from employees. As it stood previously, only employees with children under 17 and those who had responsibilities as a carer had the right to request flexible working. The new law extends this right, and means that any employee (with 26 weeks’ service) will be able to apply to work flexibly. (Source)

At Arise, clients like Sky and npower have been working alongside flexible timetables for years, a foresight that has contributed to a surge in work at home agents joining the proposition. It has been suggested by some industry leaders that the 25 percent anticipated annual growth in work at home agents could mean the eventual extinction of traditional bricks and mortar call centres. (Source: http://www.connectionsmagazine.com/articles/2014/will-call-centers-become-a-ghost-town.html)

Conventionally large organisations with thousands of employees have adopted a traditional bureaucratic structure – that is directors who direct managers, who then manage supervisors, who then supervise assistants etc. Whilst this model has proven successful for hundreds of years in many companies, changes in the global economy now demand a much more reactive approach. At Arise, we believe that providing flexibility to clients and the chance for agents to manage their own work/life balance is a great way to achieve this.

A glimpse of how large, forward-thinking organisations, such as Google, cultivate their organisational operations – think hot desks, workplace gyms, chill-out areas – are a long cry from old offices of row upon row of worker with partitions and no interaction. Flexibility, innovation and adaptability will play a huge role in the future of many organisations and will rely on them taking advantage of new social, mobile, and digital technologies to activate, enlist, and organise talent and operations across worldwide boundaries.

The fact is we’re in the midst of a great reshuffling of the talent deck. Today, some 35% of workers in the United States are “contingent” — freelance, temporary, part-time, contractors — and that figure is expected to rise to 40% or 50%, depending upon which report you read. The members of the next generation of workers are expected to change careers at least 10 times before the age of 40, while solo businesses are already popping up at the rate of about half a million a year. Meanwhile, more than 70% of workers in the U.S. — and 87% of workers worldwide — report that they are not engaged at work. (Source)

With two-thirds of the decisions customers make informed by the quality of their experiences all along their journey, it only goes to reinforce the value of brands adopting a well-trained, motivated and flexible customer service strategy. (Source: See Peter Dahlström and David Edelman, “The coming era of ‘on-demand’ marketing,” McKinsey Quarterly, April 2013.)

And the levels of quality of these customer experiences is being driven by the agents, such as those that work from home through Arise, who have embraced their role as Independent Business Owners and pride themselves on delivering outstanding service to brands such as Squaretrade and BT.