Advances in information technology have made it feasible to supplement call center staff with home-based employees. However this has opened up a new range of challenges when it comes to managing remote staff. Adopting the right attitude and employing the latest tools for call center metrics make managing remote employees just as easy as managing in-house staff.Telecommuting Is A Cost Effective AlternativeEmployees embraced the remote workplace concept long before employers did. The additional flexibility and the lack of commute time made it easier for them to balance their professional and personal lives. Employers were not as quick to see the appeal, at least not until they began to realize they could save money by using remote workers.Home-based employees don’t require office space. Expenses for building leases, utilities and office furniture are cut out of the budget. Supporting office equipment such as computers, copiers and even coffee machines no longer have a place in the budget. Most companies use a blend of in-house and home-based employees, but others have adopted a completely virtual existence with no dedicated office space.The Challenges Of Managing From AfarSome managers resist the idea of remote employees because they feel they will lose control of the workers. In an office setting, an occasional walk around ensures everyone is at their desks working away. When employees work from home, how do you know whether they are working or watching television and playing with the dog?Companies have found the situation works best when employees are still expected to work predefined schedules rather than just when they have time. This of course is essential for departments such as call centers that must ensure full coverage during normal business hours. Call center metrics allow managers to monitor all employees, from traditional in-house agents to those working from their home offices. The system is non-intrusive and serves both to relieve managers’ anxieties, and to motivate remote employees.Staying In Touch with Remote WorkersOne of the downsides of employing remote call center agents is the lack of camaraderie. Workers can feel like teams of one, not connected with the overall mission of the department and the company. It becomes easy to get distracted and disillusioned with the work.Call center metrics are a way to unite all agents onto a single team. Modern information technology allows call center metrics to be displayed on desktop applications, giving home-based workers the same information on current call traffic as in-house agents have. It dissolves the barriers between in-house and remote workers. Managers communicate with remote workers easily, and soon it becomes hard to remember that agents are working in the office and that are dialing in from home.The easy availability of fast, secure Internet connections means home-based agents have just as much access to information as those working at the office. As companies realize how affordable remote call centers are, these arrangements are becoming the exception rather than the rule in the industry.