1. If desk sharing is being established as a new practice in your call center, communicate with your staff and let them know what is happening. Explain the reason for the policy change and acknowledge that it's going to impact how some people use their desk, but make sure to put things in a positive light.
2. Invite call center agents to share feedback and try to obtain their buy-in. It's a good idea to let your staff discuss the new desk sharing policy at a weekly update meeting.
3. When assigning desks, be sure to place agents at workstations that are in close proximity to their supervisor.
4. If your environment relies heavily on paper-based procedures and communications, set up mailboxes for each agent to ensure that all handouts are received. If work stations have adequate storage space, assign a dedicated drawer with a lock for each agent who uses the workstation.
5. Invite the staff to assist call center management in creating "desk sharing" best practices. Communicate and distribute desk sharing tips to all staff members.
6. Don't take for granted that everyone has the same standards of personal hygiene or work habits. Make sure that cleaning supplies are readily available for use and require that agents take turns maintaining the workstation.
7. Establish in advance a process for agents to discuss a desk mate mismatch and a procedure for assigning a new desk mate.
Introducing change into an operating environment can be difficult, particularly if some agents have been doing things a certain way for many years. Remember that while desk sharing is a common practice in many call centers, it is new for your staff. Management must be willing to delicately address issues that arise from the transition.
This was first published in January 2007