Five Design Upgrades to Build Call Center Productivity

It seems like common sense—keep your call center team happy and success metrics will skyrocket. Employee retention will increase, motivation will go through the roof, and productivity will drastically improve in every way. While we know this to be true, we also need to know the initial drivers of satisfaction; what is the difference between a dreadful workplace and an exciting environment?

Not everything can be solved with a foosball table and catered lunches. Subtle improvements to a call center can provide employees with the added energy and enthusiasm to make the entire customer service process better. According to a Kelton Global "Happiness in the Workplace" study, 47 percent of employees believe that thoughtful design is a key to a happier, healthier workplace. From subtle improvements to a complete overhaul, the benefits outweigh the effort when great design is at the forefront of an office facelift.

Here are five ideas to consider for your call center:

1. Refresh Your Tech.

The same study noted that 61 percent of employees become discontent when they're saddled with outdated technology. In a call center, there are factors beyond a new laptop or monitor that can remedy the vintage tech blues. Invest in new headsets with refreshed designs and considerate features, such as easy-to-clean ear and mouthpieces that will help keep sickness at bay. Newer models have more advanced speakers and microphones that can enhance customer satisfaction just as much as they help your employees.

Hardware considerations aside, ensure that your incoming and outgoing software is compatible with VoIP systems and take advantage of the capabilities of Internet-based telecommunications. Different industries have different needs; invest in software that is tailored to the unique challenges that your staff will continually face.

2. Consider Remote Resources.

Elaborating on the importance of future-forward technology, moving to a system of laptops and docks isn't just good for the IT team's bottom line; it gives much-needed freedom to move about, within reason. Whether it enables employees to comfortably work from home through the tail end of a cold or allows them to move about the office building, a little bit of enhanced freedom can do a world of good.

Understandably, there's a degree of trepidation that comes with remote opportunities. Establishing a healthy protocol and boundaries is the onus of management; you'll want to evaluate the in-house staffing needs of the company and create guidelines for employees to follow. Though it goes without saying, keep a little leeway for emergencies and special situations as they arise.

3. Choose a Chair.

By their very nature, call centers are very sedentary spaces. Aside from encouraging walks over lunchtime or enhancing employee wellness programs, there are limited opportunities for employees to move. Make the most of the time at their desks by providing chairs that feature ample ergonomic adjustment points. Everybody has different body shapes and desires for comfort. One person's over-stuffed, high-backed leather chair might not satisfy another's need for a low-profile, all-mesh chair with adjustable lumbar support.

Because 48 percent of employees have stated that a comfortable chair is key to their satisfaction, it's worth taking the time to ensure that everybody finds a fit for their needs. If you're looking to overhaul your workstations, take an employee survey to discover their wants and needs and pull together a selection of chairs that appropriately reflects the office's desires. Otherwise, ask employees directly whether they are satisfied with their current chairs. If they are not, give them the opportunity to upgrade to something that is within the organization's price range and style. The power of choice feels good, but it'll never feel as good as a long work day in the perfect office chair.

4. Rise to the Occasion.

Building off of ergonomic emphasis, 21 percent of employees desire an adjustable option for their desks like a motorized solution or a desktop riser. These options can help them find the perfect fit for their stature and posture, no matter their height. Allowing employees to sit at different levels also helps reduce acoustic noise in a chatter-heavy call center so that everybody can stay on task and focused on their own calls.

Pair each adjustable desk with a chair, stool, or leaning seat that can adjust alongside the desk. Wobbling, active perch seats enhance core strength, while stools can provide a moment of respite without having to lower the desk. A non-traditional balance board can also keep employees moving while they're on their feet. The opportunities are endless. Take seating selections to another level and provide multiple options that can be swapped or traded between workstations, keeping the workday interesting and giving the opportunity find a favorite fit.

5. Curate Your Space.

While every office should surround employees with energizing decor, employee workstations should be a place for staff to call their own. Especially since a call center doesn't have to be wary of outside guests, encouraging expression can go beyond a small plant or family photo. So long as it doesn't infringe on productivity, let employees run wild so that they can feel at home in their surroundings. From colorful prints to tokens and trinkets, or even a small fish bowl, there are ways to jazz up any cubicle for a much-needed morale boost!

Nicole Groshek is a design and brand strategist at National Business Furniture (NBF), a provider of office furniture and planning consultation. She has worked at NBF for more than six years and helps clients find effective solutions for their workspace needs.