Text: Yvonne Stienstra

What can you do with Unified Communications and the New way of Working in a contact centre? Vodafone gives us a peek of the (new) work environment.

Touchdown, peak workspot, focus room, villages… All new expressions for Vodafone employees since 2009. Last year our offices were redesigned so that we can work flexible and mobile. This limits unnecessary travel and is good for the environment. It does not matter anymore whether you and your colleagues are in the same building, the same city or the same country. There are big and small spaces with video conference facilities so that you are able to communicate with colleagues from all over the world. But also at Vodafone Netherlands the lines with colleagues are shortened.

For the contact centre there are work spaces with desktops. Advisors generally go sit with their own team, but they are free to choose a desk. Every desk is equipped with a callmaster and Microsoft Office Communicator is installed on every pc. This enables advisors to switch fast with each other and their superiors. Big TV-screens and coffee machine screens show the latest information. Posters in elevators, toilets and hallways give information about the introduction of new Vodafone services and campaigns. This saves a lot of e-mailing and time.

Staff and superiors can join the advisors at the so-called Touch Down tables: places where you can work with your laptops in between meetings. This keeps the lines between the work space and staff short and makes supervisors better reachable for advisors. Do you want to work some place quiet as superior or staff? Then you can go into one of the smaller closed off rooms. This way you are still close to your employees. And should you be somewhere further away, then you can still be reached easily thanks to the previously mentioned Microsoft Office Communicator.

With Microsoft Office Communicator you can engage in conversations with different people at different locations fast and easy. You can also save the conversations so that you can read them again at any given moment. Very handy when you need to make notes in a meeting.

At the department different rooms are made where you can retreat for a short conversation with two persons or the entire team. You don’t need to book a meeting room and plan for weeks in advance; you just hold meetings whenever it suits you best.

The staff is even more flexible. By using laptops with webcams and headsets they are able to work everywhere, even at home and in the train. So you don’t always need to book a meeting room. If the contact centre needs your assistance, you can just walk into the department to consult with someone.

In consultation with your manager you can choose to work at home on some days. This gives you a lot of flexibility because you are able to work during the hours that suit you but don’t harm the interests of the company. Experience even shows us that you can accomplish more at home than at the office because you are not ‘bothered’ by your colleagues.

The meeting rooms are also equipped with so-called smartboards. These whiteboards can be connected to your laptop. This enables you to save on your laptop everything you have written on the board so that you don’t have to type it out. You can also show a presentation on the smartboard with your laptop.

Also printing is made mobile. With your access pass you can print your documents with any printer, without having to install a new printer every time.

In short, this new way of working increases our contactability,  makes us available and saves time, money and also the environment.

Yvonne Stienstra – Online Services Unit Vodafone