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Is it time for your staff to roll out of bed, grab some breakfast and head to the office in PJS? Presented by Amy Latzer 211 LA County.

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Presentation on theme: "Is it time for your staff to roll out of bed, grab some breakfast and head to the office in PJS? Presented by Amy Latzer 211 LA County."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is it time for your staff to roll out of bed, grab some breakfast and head to the office in PJS? Presented by Amy Latzer 211 LA County

2 IMAGINE! Imagine not sitting in bumper to bumper traffic Imagine lower car maintenance & gasoline expenses Imagine wearing casual clothes…during the week Imagine having your pet as your new assistant Imagine sitting in the comfort of your home while providing a greatly needed service to your community!

3 Key Problem/Issue 211 LA County is running out of office space and needs the ability to respond to county disasters and emergencies in a more timely fashion.

4 Goal and SMART Objective Goal = Provide an ergonomically sound at- home work environment that fosters high quality service with continued training and support for staff SMART Objective = 50% of full-time CRA (community resource advisor) staff working at home in a proper ergonomic setting 80% of their scheduled work time by December 1, 2009

5 How do we get from A to B? Work in phases with current 211 LA County staff to transition them to work-at-home agents on a voluntary basis. Starting with graveyard shift as pilot and then expanding to the rest of staff based on seniority, current at-home set up, and by shift. Set up a core group of staff trained and equipped to respond at a moments notice to work from home in the event of a county emergency.

6 Why take this path? Utilizes already large, long-term investment in staff Financial cost and implications of quality of service delivery to community to employ new work force is cost prohibitive and not best for callers Employing new workforce to implement work- at-home agent model would be in direct violation of contract with bargaining unit

7 Ready, Set, Action! Work at Home Buy-In Coaching Skills Training Operational Planning Technology

8 Basic Remote Agent Technology Architecture PBX Remote Agent allows agencies to route calls to staff homes. This is a computer based program that allows specialists to use the computer for answering phone calls and making referrals, rather than splitting their time between a telephone and a computer to complete a transaction. Both the incoming calls and referrals are computer based. Example: The specialist at home logs into the PBX and the database on the home computer. A call comes into the I&R/211 center. The PBX routes from the office to the specialist home. The specialist answers the call and provides referrals. Remote Agent can provide the same functionality at home that a specialist uses in the office and provide a seamless experience for the caller. Remote Agent Remote Agent

9 VoIP or Centrex….the Great Debate! VOIP VoIP is short for Voice Over IP or Voice Over Internet Protocol. VoIP allows you to use the Internet for your phone calls instead of your traditional land line based phone line. Considerations: T1 or digital phone line installation charges. Monthly line charges and maintenance cost. Technical staff cost to manage system. Technology expansion cost. 911 programming for emergency calls. Advantages Cost Savings, no charge to route calls to staff using VoIP, frees up office space. PBX functionality, VoIP provides the same functionality to staff as if they were in the office. Wherever you are, as long as you have Internet access, you can make and receive calls. Staff can telecommute. Work-from-home opportunities keeps staff connected to office technology. Specialist can connect to the phone system from different locations in disaster. Expandable to multiple sites. VoIP technology can connect multiple site regardless of where they are located. Go Green! Reduce pollution from driving, energy needs at the office, and the agencies carbon footprint. Disadvantages Initial cost for VoIP PBX equipment. Electricity is required. Internet access is required. A high speed internet connection is required at the home office to ensure quality and reliability. A high level of bandwidth is required at the office to ensure quality voice and data connection. Centrex Centrex Service a Central Office type of phone service offered by telephone companies that provide PBX like functions without the need of a PBX. Considerations: Cost for equipment Installation charges Monthly line charges and maintenance cost Programming of lines and features (this may be included in maintenance costs) Staff cost to manage system Future expansion cost Advantages No equipment on site to manage or maintain PBX functionality Programmable feature such as Voicemail Phone lines are proportion to agency need Lines can be re-routed to different location in disaster Limited technical staff requirements Expandable to multiple sites IP Centrex is available is some areas Disadvantages Least Cost Routing (LCR) for lower cost calls may not be available. May not be cost effective for larger organizations Not all features may be available (i.e. automatic call distribution, also known as ACD) Voice and data services are not possible

10 Centrex Lines Centrex lines are analog lines provided by the local telephone service provider that provide programmable features on the line that are typically associated with a private branch exchange (PBX). Centrex services are provided by the central office switching facility. The cost is based on usage, features programmed for each line and monthly service fee.

11 VoIP ( Voice Over Internet Protocol) Host County County A County B Fractional T1 768k Fractional T1 512k Full T1 1.544m Cloud VoIP – Hardware and software that allows people to use Internet protocols to make telephone calls. Also known as Internet telephony and Voice over the Internet. 256k committed rate 384k committed rate Remote Agent

12 DMG Consulting LLC 2009 6 Best Practices to manage remote agents 1. Document job responsibilities, requirements, procedures, policies and time frames. This document needs to address ALL standard operating policies plus specific remote agent requirements. 2. Establish a three-month trial period to determine whether a new agent or a premise-based agent who transfers to a remote location can properly perform the job. This minimizes the loss of highly qualified agents who discover they do not enjoy working from home. 3. Schedule a daily communication session between leadership and at-home agents. This will help reduce feelings of isolation and detachment. Part of each supervisors job should be to ensure that remote agents are kept informed of all work-related and team oriented social activities. 4. Use online chat for handling most agent inquires. Leadership should be available to respond immediately to chat inquires from remote agents. (real- time messaging and broadcasting capabilities are also essential for communicating issues that require immediate attention. There are several free technology solutions available.) 5. Include remote agents in ALL team meetings and trainings. 6. Design rewards, incentives, recognition and team-building activities to accommodate both remote and in-house staff.

13 How do you coach and train a remote agent? It depends……….on your model! If staff will be coming in one day a week, that is when formal coaching and training can be scheduled. More immediate needs for coaching can be done by phone or instant message. Online training tools are available so that they can be scheduled or pushed to an agent by quality assurance if a need is identified. Most important to remember is that coaching is a high value activity that improves employee satisfaction and enhances skill and effectiveness. Customized coaching and training to best match the needs of the employee is well worth the time spent. Explore the technology that is out there!

14 Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. –Hannah More

15 Bottom Line Benefits Effective way to reduce operating costs without adversely impacting the service levels and services provided by an agency. Can improve service quality and call experience. Increased scheduling flexibility and reduction of staff-related expenses. Agent retention may increase by as much as 30%. Improved morale. Go Green!

16 Contact Information Amy Latzer 211 LA County Chief Operations Officer 626-299-2979 Real People. Real Answers. Real Help. INFORMATION AND REFERRAL FEDERATION OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY Serving Los Angeles County since 1981

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