Daniel Lynch

Digital business journalist for nzherald.co.nz

Call centre sends staff home - to work

Telnet call centre worker Shalene Meister says working from home gives her more work-life balance and more time to spend with her family.
Telnet call centre worker Shalene Meister says working from home gives her more work-life balance and more time to spend with her family.

Wellington call centre worker Shalene Meister loves her 10-second daily commute to work at Auckland-based firm Telnet.

Before working for Telnet, the mother of one had a 90 minute return trip to work every day. Now she simply needs to walk to the other room.

"l love the fact that I can stay at home and I'm still generating an income to contribute to the running of my household," she said.

Telnet says by next year more than half of its 200 staff are likely to be working from home thanks to its new cloud-based technology.

Meister isn't complaining about the flexible work arrangement; she said the benefits include saving on commuting costs, child care and wardrobe costs.

"The most attractive thing about being a homeworker is the extra time I get to spend with my family," Meister said

Telnet managing director John Chetwynd said there had always been a challenge in the industry with getting enough skilled staff, as well as providing enough seating space to provide for large campaigns.

"Our home worker solution uses cloud-based technology that enables our staff to provide the same service experience to customers as they would if they were sitting in our contact centre... All they need is a broadband connection and a phone," he said.

Telnet's mix of clients include Sony Mobile, beauty giant L'Oreal and government department Statistics New Zealand, and some of their clients are already using home based agents successfully.

Chetwynd said the call centre industry normally uses working-from-home IT solutions that are 'clunky' and require installing specialised technology in the home - coming at a considerable cost to the company.

"Home agents open up the whole of New Zealand and potentially other countries as a source of skilled staff," he said.

- NZ Herald

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