Contact Center Pipeline September 2022 September 2022 - Page 7

FEATURE

Hurricanes like Hurricane Harvey just a few years ago disrupted not only contact center operations but virtually shut down many cities like Houston , Galveston , and other Gulf Coast markets for days .
Also , our site selection due diligence includes heightened concerns about wildfires and subsequent electrical grid issues in California : a state that is having many business climate , labor law , and tax challenges for the contact center industry .
These challenges are focusing a great deal of site selection attention to Western U . S . locales that share the same Pacific Time Zone .
An especially popular option is Northern Nevada – particularly for San Francisco Bay Area companies wishing to relocate to the state for its positive business climate , which features both the lack of a personal and corporate income tax and more favorable labor laws , including right-to-work legislation .
Look for cities in the greater Reno area like Minden and Gardnerville to be popular landing spots for contact centers leaving the Bay Area .
Eastern Washington State with low cost and green-friendly hydro power is another market poised to benefit from the Bay Area exodus . This includes small market Washington cities like Othello , Quincy , Moses Lake , and Ritzville .
KING WHITE ( KW ):
Business continuity has grown into much more than “ natural disaster ” events since COVID . The biggest trend now is geographic diversification due to COVID and labor market conditions .
Companies are really trying to balance their exposure to any single geography that might get impacted by COVID and shut down .
Companies were too concentrated into the Philippines which caused the rapid growth in the LACA ( Latin America-Caribbean region ). It is very similar for labor .
Companies are diversifying their geographic footprint through WFH . It has really changed the dynamics of business continuity strategies .
HAVE THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED MANAGING CONTACT CENTER DISASTER RISKS ?
1 . WFH COMING OF AGE
JHB : This is a time of unprecedented workforce mobility . In fact , WFH , at least on a hybrid basis , has emerged as a major HR recruiting and retention tool , especially with today ’ s historically low unemployment rates and the impact of the Great Resignation .
Data requests coming into our firm show a strong interest in lower-tax states that are viewed as more desirable for transferred workers wishing to lighten their tax burdens as one means to deal with inflation . States without a personal income tax like Nevada , Texas , Tennessee , and Florida show well on this front .
We are also seeing an uptick in interest in no-income tax South Dakota – particularly from companies looking for a Central Time Zone , mid-continent contact center location , and from companies relocating from the proximate and more costly Minneapolis metro area . South Dakota cities like Sioux Falls and university towns like Brookings and Vermillion are poised to benefit from these trends .

PREVENTING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Workplace violence is now unfortunately a growing reality in the U . S .
A study released in July 2022 , Indicators of Workplace Violence , 2019 ,” revealed nearly 18,000 persons were killed at work , on duty , or in violence that was work-related from 1992 to 2019 .
Disturbingly , the report , published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics ( BJS ), the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( BLS ), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health ( NIOSH ), revealed while workplace homicides declined by 58 % between 1992 and 2019 , they increased recently by 11 % from 2014 to 2019 .
Moreover , an annual average of 1.3 million nonfatal workplace violent victimizations ( rape / sexual assault , robbery , simple and aggravated assault ) occurred during the combined five years from 2015 to 2019 , resulting in a rate of eight nonfatal violent crimes per 1,000 workers ages 16 or older .
What steps can contact centers take to prevent workplace violence and to act when they occur in designing and managing their facilities ?
John H . Boyd , The Boyd Company reports that enhanced background checks on new employees are being carried out by many of his clients , along with implementing a variety of office security and safety procedures .
He notes that Amazon , for example , recently enacted a new policy that forbids employees to enter its facilities when they are not on their assigned shifts .
Employee safety and also data security in contact centers is a growing concern , Boyd says , like it is in other high-stress work environments and where proprietary data is used and housed .
Investments in security cameras , monitoring devices , and sophisticated electronic passkeys are also being made at record levels by the contact center industry .
“ Given the 24 / 7 schedules of many contact centers , it is important to ensure the safety of the parking lots used by night shift employees ,” says Boyd . “ Providing plenty of lighting and monitoring the area via surveillance cameras are essential today as are on-site guards , whenever possible .”
But there are also complicated legal issues to navigate when establishing and enforcing employee safety and security policies .
“ With the U . S . Second Amendment gun rights , mass shootings , and overall workplace violence in the 24-hour news cycle almost daily , contact centers must now navigate a bevy of state laws regulating the presence of guns in the workplace , “ says Boyd .
He notes that some 20 states , including Florida , Georgia , Minnesota , Oklahoma , Texas , Tennessee , Utah , and Wisconsin have passed so-called “ bring your guns to work laws ”, which allow licensed employees to bring firearms to work .
Contact centers with multi-state operations are faced with a balancing act of assuring worker safety and at the same time complying with a myriad of state laws .
“ There are many moving parts to this dilemma , including whether the contact center is in a leased space or owned by the SEPTEMBER company , the 2022 presence 7 of childcare facilities , and the presence of special provisions giving employers some flexibility in setting conceal-and-carry policies ,” says Boyd .