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5th Talent Contact Center Work at Home Study November 2020 Update

5th Talent International recently interviewed 41 contact center leaders regarding their shirt to a work at home model for their employees.  These leaders represented more than 40,000 agents and supervisors across 11 different countries and 9 major industries.  They share the issues they are having with the work at home model and best practices for overcoming them.  

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The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid and global shift of moving contact center agents and supervisors to a work-at-home model, giving rise to two central questions: How has this impacted performance; and is the traditional work-at-home model sustainable?  Common industry wisdom favors a 100% work-at-home model as the best chance for sustainability, and that most of the agents who performed well in the center will not transition successfully to working at home. 


5th Talent International, LLC is a service consulting company that helps organizations develop a meaningful work environment.  When people have meaningful work it significantly lowers turnover and increases customer satisfaction.  However, promoting meaningful work is not enough because there are opposing forces that we call “grind” which is destroying the meaning people find in their job.  Our methodology enables companies to reduce grind and increase the meaning their people find in their actual work.


On the latest episode of our Work-at-Home podcast, Ted Nardin and Brian Kearney from 5th Talent join J.D. Power’s Michael Vermillion and Mark Miller to discuss issues and trends related to the shift to Work-at-Home for customer service operations. 

Topics discussed during this podcast include:

  • Meaningful Work: the “magic metric”

  • Key findings from Work-At-Home study

  • Work-At-Home fatigue

  • Recommendations for isolating and addressing frustrations


CX Files Podcast:  5th Talent Work At Home Study

Brian Kearney and Ted Nardin are the co-founders of 5th Talent tell us what agents and supervisors they really think about working from home?  Their mission is to make work more meaningful, so they asked thousands of contact center workers  about their recent working from home.

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While the trend for the control group remained virtually unchanged, the
centers that received the program noticed significant improvements.
After the program was implemented overall turnover dropped by 25%.
In addition, first contact resolution (FCR) increased 3% while customer
satisfaction (CSAT) improved approximately 10%. The targeted sites
reached the highest CSAT scores the company had ever achieved.

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Contact Center Industry Work at Home Study

The contact center industry has never experienced anything like the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It has led to a rapid and global shift of moving contact center agents and supervisors to a work at home model.  We launched this research to help industry leaders determine what to do when agents are permitted to return to the center.  We asked three important questions during this study.


Many organizations are dealing with work-at-home (WAH) realities for the first time. Others have expanded WAH for their contact center agents, many of whom have not been in the WAH environment before. This shift is creating new challenges for service operations. Join us for a complimentary webinar where we will discuss best practices to maximize the chances of success in this new world for your organizations, your employees, and your customers.

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 The past four months have been surreal for customer experience professionals, with confusion and upheaval looming large for outsourcers.  It is in this vein that upstart consultancy 5th Talent recently published a study on trends in work-at-home agent management. Broadly speaking, the research points to a preference among front-line employees for more flexibility when it comes to virtual working.  But 5th Talent’s study also points to both limitations in this regard, as well as key pain points that outsourcers with home workers need to address head on.

Successful organizations know what their customers expect from the service they provide by channel. So what do customers expect in 2020?  Join us for a complimentary one-hour webcast to learn what is driving the customer experience across service channels. 


Industry Articles


Catherine Bailey and Adrian Madden

New research offers insights into what gives work meaning — as well as into common management mistakes that can leave employees feeling that their work is meaningless.

MIT Sloan Management Review


Nicolas Dumoulin

Strolling through the street of Vienna, you’ll be reminded that the Austrian capital city is the birthplace of psychoanalysis and therefore probably contributed like no other city has to the development of psychology and psychotherapy.



Shawn Achor and Andrew Reece 

In his introduction to Working, the landmark 1974 oral history of work, Studs Terkel positioned meaning as an equal counterpart to financial compensation in motivating the American worker.

Harvard Business Review


Messerly, J. G.

Maslow amended his model near the end of his life, and so the conventional portrayal of his hierarchy is incomplete. In his later thinking, he argued that there is a higher level of development, what he called self-transcendence. 

Reason and Meaning


Catherine Bailey 

Strategies to boost staff performance and morale by manipulating our desire for meaningful work often achieve the opposite - damaging organisations and alienating employees – a new study suggests.

University of Sussex

Industry Videos

Industry Books


by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

The bestselling classic on 'flow' – the key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance, and true happiness


by Angela Duckworth

In her instant, multi-month New York Times bestseller, Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” “Inspiration for non-geniuses everywhere” (People).


by Daniel Coyle

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Talent Code unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides tomorrow’s leaders with the tools to build a cohesive, motivated culture


by Tom Rath 

Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?  Chances are, you don't. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. 


by Martin E. P. Seligman 

From the bestselling author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness comes “a relentlessly optimistic guidebook on finding and securing individual happiness” (Kirkus Reviews).


by Simon Sinek 

n 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY -- the third most popular TED video of all time.

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