Since the start of this month, Vodafone Hungary says it has been offering customer service staff the opportunity to work from home permanently.
Teleworking was already normal for some parts of the company; however, experience from the recent shutdown has shown that this approach can be introduced in areas such as customer service, where it had been unthinkable before.
The company says it is offering the option of continuing to work from home after the epidemic, thus taking what it says is a pioneering role in the development of innovative, digital ways of working.
In mid-March, Vodafone ordered all its staff working in the company’s Budapest offices to work from home. The telco says for many this did not cause any disruption, as home office had been part of the daily routine for years. However, there were colleagues for whom, due to the nature of their role, working from home had previously been unthinkable.
But in view of the pandemic, the company also reorganised the work of these colleagues, allowing almost all of them to work from home during the emergency. That has proved so popular, the move to make it permanent was taken.
In the first phase, starting in early July, 50% of customer service staff will have the option to continue to work from home, a ratio the company says it plans to expand in the future.
Although the pandemic accelerated this, employee interest was also increasingly growing: a survey found that nearly three-quarters of employees would take advantage of working remotely in the long run if they could. In addition to saving time and money on the commute, allowing for more flexible work, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction, there are also benefits from the employer’s perspective.
With the need to commute to the office coming to an end, it will be possible to attract employees for whom commuting had previously been an issue. This means that people who live further from the office buildings or are potentially less mobile due to illness or care needs can also join the company.
“I believe that the negative effects of the coronavirus epidemic can be best mitigated by companies that learn from the experience of recent months, and incorporate their findings into their future operations,” says Gabriella Szentkuti, director of commercial operations at Vodafone Hungary.
“One such conclusion is that the efficiency of employees not only does not decrease, but in many cases actually increases when working from home. It is in view of this, as well as the needs of our employees, that we have decided to offer our customer service staff the opportunity to work remotely. In this regard, we are breaking new ground in Hungary, and we hope that, as a result, we will be able to welcome many talented new colleagues from all across the country in the future,” she adds.