Car hire company Enterprise rent-a-car is expanding its home-working pilot programme after experiencing significant positive results after only a few months. Enterprise launched the pilot to establish whether home-working was a viable approach to growing its call centre, based in Aldershot. During the pilot, call centre employees from the Enterprise Business Support (EBS) facility were given the opportunity to work from home and were set up with all the technical support to make this a success. EBS is primarily responsible for handling telephone reservations and due to the growth of the business and the premises were almost at capacity.
Enterprise then compared the cost of setting up an employee to work from home against the cost of having an office-based employee. The comparison showed the cost of an office-based employee is around £5000 per year whilst the cost of a home-based employee is only £1500 in the first year for set-up costs and is then almost minimal in subsequent years.
This immediate 70 per cent cost-saving, combined with several other very compelling benefits which the company has seen from the programme, has demonstrated that home-working is a very successful business approach.
Some of the other benefits of the home-working pilot have included improved retention, reduction in absenteeism and disciplinary issues, higher employee satisfaction and a more diverse work force – helping the company to fulfill its wider commitment to creating a fully inclusive and diverse work place. The retention level for EBS home-based employees is 80 per cent, almost 20 per cent higher than the national average for call centres. In addition, the home working programme has made it easier for Enterprise to provide out of hours call centre assistance, improving the customer experience.
As a result, Enterprise will be expanding the programme as demand for call centre employees increases moving forwards, with a view to achieving a target of 50 per cent of EBS employees becoming home-workers over time.
Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR Director UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said, “Most of our UK employees are branch based and need to be on the branch floor to look after customers. So we’ve focused our home working opportunities on back office functions. We’ve proved employees can be as effective working from home and this approach can help control cost. It’s evidence that flexible working can be a very successful business strategy.
“We’ve also found that we’ve been able to recruit a more diverse work force to our call centre because we can offer greater flexibility. The home-working pilot has attracted a completely wide group of candidates from working mothers to retired company directors, people who want to work and be part of an ambitious business, but need the flexibility of working from home.”
Katy Harding is one of the home-based Customer Service Specialists at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and lives in Farnham, Surrey.
She says: “Since becoming a home worker, I have definitely seen my work-life balance improve for the better. I find I have much more time for my family and friends, which is ironic as I actually now work more hours per week than when I was office-based.
“Although occasionally I miss the friendly faces, I find I am much more productive at home, plus it’s nice to not have to fight for the parking space, or, wait for the over-crowded bus to get home.”