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Can you provide some advice about agent desk sharing? Can this practice work in call centers? If so, what’s the best process to use to introduce and implement call center agents sharing desks?

Can you provide some advice about agent desk sharing? Can this practice work in call centers? If so, what’s the best process to use to introduce and implement call center agents sharing desks?

4/6/2012

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Question
Can you provide some advice about agent desk sharing? Can this practice work in call centers? If so, what’s the best process to use to introduce and implement call center agents sharing desks?

Answer

With the high cost of real estate and 24/7 contact centers operating multiple and varied shifts, hot seating and desk sharing are a standard practice. Desk sharing, which is where agents have an assigned seat, but share the workspace with one or more people who work different shifts, is preferred by agents and supervisors over hot seating. With hot seating, contact centers agents sit at any available station. While desk sharing is preferred, it does present some challenges. Here are a few practical tips to communicate and implement this new policy to your staff:

  1. If desk sharing is being established as a new practice in your contact center, communicate with your staff and let them know what is happening. Explain the reason for the policy change and acknowledge that it’s going to impact how some people use their desk, but make sure to put things in a positive light.
  2. Invite agents to share feedback and try to obtain their buy-in. It’s a good idea to let your staff discuss the new desk sharing policy at a weekly update meeting.
  3. When assigning desks, be sure to place agents at workstations that are in close proximity to their supervisor.
  4. If your environment relies heavily on paper-based procedures and communications, set up mailboxes for each agent to ensure that all handouts are received. If work stations have adequate storage space, assign a dedicated drawer with a lock for each agent who uses the workstation.
  5. Invite the staff to assist management in creating “desk sharing” best practices. Communicate and distribute desk sharing tips to all staff members.
  6. Don’t take for granted that everyone has the same standards of personal hygiene or work habits. Make sure that cleaning supplies are readily available for use and require that agents take turns maintaining the workstation.
  7. Establish in advance a process for agents to discuss a desk mate mismatch and a procedure for assigning a new desk mate.

Introducing change into an operating environment can be difficult, particularly if some agents have been doing things a certain way for many years. While desk sharing is a common practice in many contact centers, it is new for your staff. Management must be willing to delicately address issues that arise from the transition.

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