Unlike many other countries in different regions, Egypt adapted immensely, succeeding in a smooth WFH transition and migrating 50-85% of their workforce to WFH in just two weeks with no service disruption. The investment that Egypt had made in power and the internet aided in handling the unplanned prolonged peak period.
EXPLOITING EGYPT’S RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE
Although the pandemic took not only Egypt but also the whole world by surprise, the huge investments made in developing the infrastructure in the ICT, power, and energy infrastructure in Egypt has enabled the country to show great resilience and adaptability. In 2019, the government invested billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades, which supported the unexpected increase in demand caused by COVID-19.
Since RAYA Contact Center provides next-generation customer experience (CX) services to multiple industries when COVID-19 hit, it had to adapt to unpleasant worldwide changes. Introducing a Work-From-Home model (WFH) was not an easy feat, as, before the COVID-19 outbreak, RAYA Contact Center was operating 100% in-office.
RAYA had to ensure the safety of its employees and business continuity for its clients, and applying a WFH model would cause drastic changes to the existing operations; however, our solid and flexible infrastructure made it easier to build on.
A WFH committee from various functions was constructed, reporting directly to the CEO. The WFH committee consists of the Chief of Operations, Heads of Governance Department, HR, IT, and Quality & Training heads. The business continuity plan not only was applied to maintain stability, but also to ensure growth and prosperity even in difficult times, and that is what the committee was working on when establishing the goals and objectives.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The two main goals were the employees’ safety and business continuity.
To reach these objectives, RAYA Contact Center had established clear guidelines for its operations and supporting functions to follow the WFH model with no critical difficulties that could threaten the business continuity or the health of the employees.
PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION
Looking into the current resources of the company to measure the actual capability of the WFH transformation was an essential step when it came to planning. It included the existing infrastructure capabilities and the technical and operational requirements for the transformation to take place.
Based on the previous assessments, RAYA Contact Center had an overview of the technical difficulties that the employees might face and the equipment needed, like internet modems, laptops, PCs, and line allowances, when adhering to the WFH model. RAYA Contact Center ensured that it shares with its clients the new delivery model, and elaborate on its implementation benefits, and expected outcomes. Also, RAYA made sure that there were open-communication channels to address any of the clients’ concerns or business changes.
PROTOCOLS AND GUIDELINES
RAYA Contact Center exerted tremendous efforts on budgeting, planning, and crafting robust WFH protocols and procedures to be followed and adhered to by each of our functions and departments. It is called the WFH model.
IT: All WFH employees must be registered to RAYA Contact Center’s WFH portal, calculate the internet consumptions, use RAYA VPN to log in remotely and access their data to ensure the security of data, provide all the required IT infrastructure, applications, and platforms to all agents and back-staged supporting function, and troubleshoot and resolve complex connectivity and/or technical issues reported. Overall, all departments were following the workforce management (WFM) and real-time management (RTM) plans. WFM consists of Reviewing Business Performance (minimize the service levels degradation that might happen during the WFH transition phase), Forecasting and Capacity Planning, and Staff Attrition and Absenteeism RTM consists of Reviewing Business Performance, Scheduling and Real-Time Management (daily actions, re-planning, manage adherence on an interval level, allocate and route transactions, monitor site-level performance), Data Privacy and Compliance (RTM level), CSS Monitoring and Coaching (in case of Quality failure), Develop and effectively implement improvement plans for dropped KPIs, and staff adherence and absenteeism.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
One of the challenges that we faced while implementing the WFH model is the unavailability of PCs for our agents.
With a complete lockdown, RAYA Contact Center had to come up with creative solutions. The procurement team came up with resorting to high-quality used PCs/laptops markets to cover our needs, and we did and distributed them to our agents in less than 2 weeks. Also, poor internet connections in some areas of the city. To overcome this, the agents were provided with USB modems to be used as backups whenever there are any connectivity issues.
This increased the percentage of employees who can work effectively from home. RAYA Contact Center throughout the quarantine has shown solidarity and maintained the highest levels of communications via Zoom, Skype, etc., daily, weekly, and monthly, to discuss any concerns or feedback about the WFH model. A weekly meeting was conducted for all team members across each department to discuss team figures and set upcoming weeks’ goals and agenda. Monthly one-to-one meetings were launched via Avaya Space to create a room for all team members to interact smoothly and privately with their managers and/or team members to address their concerns accordingly.
IMPACTS AND BENEFITS
Our clients and partners were not only convinced, but impressed by how RAYA Contact Center’s flexibility and innovation at this critical time helped establish a committee, build and plan the WFH model with its guidelines, and ensure its effective implementation.
WFH GAVE BIRTH TO NEW CSR INITIATIVE
RAYA Contact Center gave birth to the idea of including the WFH model in our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program activities. The campaign was targeting housewives and individuals with special abilities who are unable to leave their homes and work on-premises, yet they needed to increase their income. The results were positively reflected from both the CSR perspective and hiring talents pool as well.
Considering that Egypt is one of the leading BPO destinations worldwide with solid tech infrastructure and manning capabilities, RAYA Contact Center succeeded to build and apply its WFH as a delivery model for its site in Egypt.