Released on JANUARY 5, 2024
If you’ve never seen the video for Tom Petty’s 1993 hit, Mary Jane’s Last Dance, it’s a disturbing example of what can happen when an unsupervised worker with the right access goes rogue.
While work from home has become increasingly popular for contact centers, agent disengagement and security concerns still linger.Jason Hiland has spent over two decades in the contact center business and is currently focused on solving these concerns.
Connect with Jason on LinkedIn
Music courtesy of Big Red Horse
Rob Dwyer (00:07.202)
Jason Hyland, you are next in queue. Welcome to the show. How are you, friend?
Jason Hiland (00:13.592)
Man, I am so excited about this. I listen to your show all the time, and I can't believe that I'm actually on it right now.
Rob Dwyer (00:19.498)
Yes, you have given me the best compliment that I think anyone has given me for my work on the podcast. Would you like to share that compliment? It's now on my LinkedIn profile.
Jason Hiland (00:35.964)
Yeah, I, in listening to your podcast, I've come to the conclusion that your voice is what I call verbal Xanax. It is the most soothing I mean, I'll listen to it while I'm working sometimes and you know, I have to blame you that I just feel like taking a nap. I mean, it just puts me in a zen kind of mood, man. I'm jealous of your voice.
Rob Dwyer (00:45.783)
Rob Dwyer (00:58.71)
Well, I hope it doesn't put you to sleep while we're recording this episode because that would be problematic. So as long as it's not that good. Okay, good, good.
Jason Hiland (01:03.45)
Jason Hiland (01:08.708)
Yes, I drank some coffee. Yeah, I drank some coffee before this just because I was anticipating that zen feel of your voice. So no worries, my friend. We're good to go.
Rob Dwyer (01:19.214)
That's. Coffee is always a winner. It's always good. We are going to talk today about work from home tools to be used and work from home. A lot of different things that go into that. Certainly not the first conversation that I've had about work from home on this show. But we really are going to dig into some technology.
Jason Hiland (01:24.509)
Rob Dwyer (01:47.602)
But before we do that, tell the audience about Jason.
Jason Hiland (01:56.308)
Well, let's see. I'm an Indiana kid who lives in the desert here in Phoenix, but I'll always be a Hoosier at heart, Midwest all the way. I'm married. We have fur babies. You'll probably hear them at some point during this conversation. My wife and I, we don't have kids. We like to travel a lot, but we do have lots of fur babies, cats and dogs. I've worked with contact centers, mainly in the
Rob Dwyer (02:11.798)
Jason Hiland (02:27.042)
for about 22 years. And then just recently in the last year, kind of left a company I had been with for 10 years and did a startup company that didn't work out quite, you know, sometimes the startup companies don't work out quite that well. And I decided to give it one more shot, you know, with this new work from home remote agent technology back in January with a...
So our CEO is an ex-CIO of a contact center who was a client of mine for years. And we became close friends. So yeah, I'm just an Indiana kid who slings contact center technology all over the world.
Rob Dwyer (03:08.866)
Just an Indiana boy on them Indiana nights, right? Something like that.
Jason Hiland (03:14.126)
Oh yes, I think I've heard that before. Little Tom Petty action right there.
Rob Dwyer (03:19.498)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right, so let's dig in and talk a little bit about work from home. And I think I wanna start with differentiating some of the things, work from home is this huge topic of conversation out there, but there is a lot of conversation about general work from home versus
work from home in a contact center environment. And I do think those are two different things. Can you talk to me a little bit about kind of how you view maybe an executive level role versus a contact center agent role and how those are different in a work from home environment?
Jason Hiland (04:13.12)
Yeah, that's a great point because I think some people make general statements about remote or hybrid or work from home and not every statement is, you know, is
about every role. You know, from an executive who's sitting at his desk, say for instance like this, and he's working throughout his day, you know, I'm not saying that they can't work from home. I think that they should, but there might be a little bit more interaction with other people within the company. But I think there's a key aspect, is typically that executive is not looking at his monitor filled with a ton of PII and PHI consumer data.
And that's really where things start to change a little bit for the remote environment. See it had prior to 2020 had I reached out to you and said, Rob, let's talk about remote contact center agents. Now you, because of your history, you were one of the forerunners.
in the remote agent world, but most people would have actually laughed at me had I brought up remote agents, just from a productivity perspective and a security and compliance perspective. They're like, wait a minute, we're never going to do that. But when the pandemic hit and we all got kind of punched in the gut and all these contact centers had to lift heaven and earth to get their agents and infrastructure to home.
You know, they always thought in their heart of hearts, everybody was going to come back. And for them, you know, for two main reasons, again, productivity, an executive sitting at his desk, his typical role throughout his day is not on a call, in wrap, in ready, on a call. There are efficiencies.
Jason Hiland (05:58.548)
with a contact center environment that maybe that CEO isn't held to those same sort of standards in his workday. And again, like I said, you know, he's not so the productivity and then that security and compliance, not every work from home agent has access to sensitive consumer data. But it doesn't take a lot of data about a consumer to put them at risk.
out there in the world today. I mean, you get some names, some addresses, some phone numbers. I mean, people can do a lot of damage to somebody.
with some very minimal information about them. So I think people were always thought in their heart of hearts they were going to bring them back for those reasons. But then we got the kind of the second surprise is everybody liked it from the agent perspective. And these companies, it's funny, I've talked to them. I joined the company in January. And I've talked to them the first four or five months. I thought,
Well, maybe I was wrong about the potential of our technology because people were still talking about bringing agents back into the office. But around April, I think it was around April is when people started figuring out when they talked to their friends who had tried it and saw what happened to like recruitment, retention, morale. That's when they decided. So I'd say the biggest things, the differences between an executive and, and those contact center agents is just being able to make sure that.
the agents are being able to fulfill their productivity standards that are different than somebody else's and making sure that data, you know, like for instance, I'm sitting here, I'm a contact center agent. You have no idea who's in his room with me. My roommates, my spouses, you know, I would say my girlfriend, but I'm afraid my wife would hear that and get in trouble, but no, my spouse, my boy, you know, boyfriends, girlfriends, you name it.
Jason Hiland (07:53.388)
They're sitting there, can look at these monitors as well. And if I see something I like, it doesn't take much to do that. So there is a distinct difference in the way we have to manage and engage with remote contact center agents than what an executive might have to do with a VP or a director or something like that, because the roles are different.
Rob Dwyer (08:16.322)
Yeah, absolutely. The rules are different, and you brought up a lot of concerns, I think, and this was something that I wanted to get into about work from home in a contact center environment. I think the concerns are different for leaders of contact centers who are thinking about do we make this permanent, do we not, versus the leaders of other businesses that may
or may not have a contact center attached to their business but are looking at work from home in a much more holistic view. There are some things that are the same for sure, but there are definitely some differences that come about. Security being one of those. Just for the listeners that maybe don't know all of the jargon, can you tell us
what PII, PHI, some of those terms that you used earlier, what those are and why that's important.
Jason Hiland (09:24.744)
Yeah, so PII, you know, really it's the three P's. There's the PII, which is personal identifiable information, really any information that you can relate back to an individual. Then you have PHI, which is that personal health care information. You know, a lot of contact centers are working on behalf of hospitals or other types of medical providers and such. And then there's PCI, which is that the credit card information
people are providing over the phone to agents in order to complete some sort of transaction. So it's really those three P's and all of that data is typically sitting on a screen somewhere and it was, you know, people felt comfortable with it when everybody was in the contact center. It was safe. They had cameras all around the supervisors, you know, ruled over their domain. They saw it all what was going on and you know, everything was safe and confined there. But
Once we went to work from home, people had to, in many different verticals or business lines, had to adjust what they did in a short term because of the pandemic. And a lot of that has kind of stayed that way, but now what we're seeing is some of these hospitals and banks and such that hire contact centers or have their own internal contact center are going, well, wait a minute.
that security and that productivity, that hasn't become less important to us. We just had to put it a little to the side for a little while, while we got through this pandemic and such. So now, everybody's coming back around and now they have to answer some questions. And it's tough, but those three Ps, those acronyms.
are very important information to you and I and everybody listening to this podcast. You don't want that falling into the wrong hands.
Rob Dwyer (11:27.778)
No, definitely not. And I think we see it in the news all of the time. We see data breaches all of the time. There are different kinds of data breaches, right? There's a data breach when there's been a phishing attack, someone's gained access to a system and they have access to every single customer or every single record or a large portion of that. And then there's...
really more targeted opportunistic identity theft that can happen when you've got one person who has access to things and is doing something unexpected with that. Whether that's, I mean, it's almost always for personal gain, but whether they're using the data or selling the data, whatever the case may be, or even just.
Sharing things sometimes it's not even personal gain right sometimes you just share something Not even necessarily with bad intentions I'll give you an example When I was working the phones I Didn't share anything. I'm not about to admit to anything that is going to get me fired or sent to prison But I can tell you
Jason Hiland (12:50.228)
I don't want you to go to prison or anything.
Rob Dwyer (12:52.13)
Right. But the kind of access that you have, I can tell you that I got a phone call from a relative of Snoop Dogg who managed an account of Snoops. Right. So I had access in that moment to Snoop's home address, all of his phone numbers that he had.
that his family had. It's just a lot of information that immediately, as an agent, I have access to. And it's kind of cool, right? We have this thing with celebrities, and now I'm talking to Snoop's sister. That was a wild feeling. You can imagine someone going, oh, let me take a picture of this, or you know what, I'm gonna write down Snoop's phone number and maybe I'll call him and send my demo to him.
or there are all kinds of wild things. And so that's a wholly different type of data leak than some of the things that are much bigger news that we see.
Jason Hiland (13:54.434)
Jason Hiland (14:04.088)
We see a lot of sensationalizing of the data leak from the outside because the news grabs onto it, you know, especially if it's a nefarious country that is attacking, you know, a retailer or a bank or a financial institution. We see that a lot, but what you don't see, because one, it's harder to catch, is somebody within a company who has access to this data.
For instance, you know, an example with your story, who is just sitting there and taking their time and one by oneing it. They don't have to pull a million transactions. I mean, if you think about it, if they work 200 days a year, and they just, they pull 10 people out, you know, that's...
you know, 2000 right there by one person that they could be taking this information and either using it, like you said, for their gain or selling it or, you know, look, when my first job out of college was at a contact center, it was with an investment company and we would find it was we worked in a contact center. It wasn't remote, but it was like so much fun for us to search for celebrities and athletes and people that we knew in the system.
And we had access to all of their financial information, but we were within the contact center. I mean, there wasn't, you had clean desk, you had all this. So there wasn't really anything other than looking at it and having a little fun by telling your friend. But what can happen now is instead of reaching over to the other contact center employee and saying, look, I just found this celebrity, it's, hey roommate, come in here and look at this.
and that roommate walks in and now that roommate's looking at it. Well, when everybody was in the contact center, it would be pretty obvious if some random, you know, bro just walked in off the street and stood behind the agent and was looking at the data. But at home, it's not. So, you know, going back to what we talked about earlier, it's a different environment than a lot of other work from home environments. We have to manage it differently. We have to engage. I don't want it to sound like it's all about security and compliance. It's important pieces of it, but we also have to engage with these agents differently.
Jason Hiland (16:16.8)
We have to train these agents differently. So there's all kinds of aspects that we have to do differently. If a contact center, one of the first things I ask them is, what tools are you using to manage your remote agents? And they'll tell me. A lot of it's teams and reports. And then I'll ask them, what tools are you using to manage
tools did you use when everybody was in the office? And it's funny how often those are the exact same tools. And I'll ask them, so you're telling me you took thousands of agents from a contact center that was well protected, you could engage with them, they could engage with each other, they could raise their hand and ask questions, and you moved them home, and you're using the exact same tools. And they're like, yeah, that's big. And a lot of it has to do with people just don't know what technology has.
been developed over the last couple of years. But a lot of people are just kind of caught and that's the way we manage. And we really have to change that mindset. You know, I hear, well, our culture is to do this. And I tell people all the time that, you know, culture is not static.
You know, a company that's been around for 100 years probably doesn't have the same culture they had back in 1923. You know, that culture has evolved based off the times. And I think it's important that contact centers realize that, look, work from home is here to stay.
We're even seeing it grow overseas where we never thought it would grow overseas because, you know, they didn't quite have the infrastructure. But work from home is here to stay and it's growing globally now. And if contact centers continue to just kind of turn a blind eye or use a strategy, I like to call hope.
Jason Hiland (18:01.888)
you know, hoping something goes well or hoping something doesn't go wrong. Well, they're going to find their name in the newspaper at some point in time. Yes, I'm old enough to say newspaper. I did it. I did. I, you know, most of the kids would have said they would have found themselves on, you know, online. I didn't say that. I said newspaper.
Rob Dwyer (18:21.39)
It's okay, they still sell newspapers, Jason. It's okay, you can.
Jason Hiland (18:25.316)
I see one in my neighbor's driveway when I walk my dog every morning and I'm just, you know, that was my first job, Rob, was selling newspaper or delivering newspapers as a kid. And let me tell you what I, yeah, exactly. What I did find out, little side note is if you're, because we had the little coupons back then where you, when somebody paid, you gave them a little coupon and you had your coupon book. Well, if people prepay.
Rob Dwyer (18:36.494)
Throw in the paper from the bike.
Jason Hiland (18:53.328)
and you've taken that money as the newspaper guy kid, and you quit the newspaper job, you actually have to pay the newspaper company that money. Yeah, yeah, my mom was not very happy with that. My first business was like the worst ROI possible for my parents. They had no idea what was going on.
Rob Dwyer (19:11.99)
You learned the concept of a clawback very early.
Jason Hiland (19:17.224)
I did, I did. But yeah, newspapers are still alive, but that's just it. We, you know, the goal of security and compliance, if we're just talking security and compliance for the moment, is to make sure that the contact center or their clients don't end up in the news.
Rob Dwyer (19:35.574)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Jason Hiland (19:37.816)
That's the big thing. And if you think about the hundreds upon thousands, if not millions of agents now that are working at home, it can be a little scary to think about the amount of data that is available. And thieves know that. I'm not blaming necessarily contact center agents, but you know how it goes. When thieves see an opportunity in the world, they'll take advantage of that opportunity. They're like, yeah, I'll go out and get a contact center job. I can sit here all day for at least a week until they fire me.
Do whatever I want to do.
Rob Dwyer (20:09.166)
Okay, now that we've scared the bejesus out of every contact center leader out there, let's talk about number one, some advantages, maybe advantages that people don't always think about of a work from home environment. So we've already talked about, right, that the people love it, right, the agents love it. But let's talk more in depth. Why do they love it and what?
Jason Hiland (20:13.948)
Yeah, man, everybody's all spooked out.
Jason Hiland (20:22.669)
Jason Hiland (20:32.29)
Rob Dwyer (20:38.034)
advantages are there for the business.
Jason Hiland (20:42.848)
That's a great question. So let's start with the agent. You know, what we all found out when we decided to, when we worked from home started and we all started working from here in our offices, home offices is the lifestyle changed. I mean...
One, think about the time that people got back in their life, of not having to commute an hour each way. And then that commute isn't typical productive time. You're not talking to your kids. You're not, you know, you're just, a lot of these people are just sitting in traffic. Two, it was, it's a cost thing too for the agents. The average across the US for if you...
bring a work from home employee back into the office, that net cost to that employee is about $5,280-ish. That's not that big of a deal with somebody making a couple hundred K as an executive. You know, you're making 30 to 50 K, that's a big piece of the pie. You know, and I talk to a lot of contact center agents and, you know, I ask them a lot, what do you like about it? They're like, look, my kids are out in the living room.
when they're home from school and such. And it's not, they're like, they're not sitting in my lap while I'm working or anything like that. But you know what, when I go on a break, I can walk out there and talk to my kids.
I can spend a little time. I can help them with their homework. I can make them a quick lunch. So it really became more of a lifestyle for a lot of us in working from home. For me, I love the fact that I got my dogs laying right here on the desk, right beside my desk, and I can grab a treat. And if I get off a rough call, I can reach over there and give them a little rub, and I feel better just from that. So there's a lot of other lifestyle
Jason Hiland (22:30.166)
financial reasons for agents. And a lot of that is the same for the companies. I mean, from a company's perspective, you think about it, you know, you had to recruit from 30 to 60 miles around your office for the most part. And if you're in a very large metropolitan area.
you might be paying a lot more for agents in that area. Well, now with work from home, you can recruit from anywhere. So you might've been paying somebody 25 bucks an hour here, but you can pay them $18 an hour in the Midwest. And it's not because you're cheaping out on them, that's just the cost of living in these different worlds. And retention, we've seen be a hard thing with work from home. So these companies are like, well,
I'm having trouble with my retention. Well, I think a lot of that has to do when I really dig in, it's because they haven't really gone work from home. They've gone to blended or hybrid, whatever term you wanna use. So those people still have to be close to an office.
Rob Dwyer (23:27.499)
Jason Hiland (23:30.752)
And financial reasons for a business, you know, there's all kinds of different studies. Like we did one with our client, one of our clients down in Birmingham, Alabama, not the highest cost of living in the world. But they came out to about $336 for the square footage per month for that agent to sit in that cubicle. And then...
If you look at technology to be able to manage and engage and train these agents, it might be 30 bucks a month. So, I mean, you start to, you know, all these people will let these leases go or sold their buildings and such like that, because financially it makes a lot of sense for them. So, yeah, there are some scary parts to work from home. So, I'll say cracks in the wall that the contact centers need to fill. They do.
But it's not insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination. And there are a ton of positives for both sides that have to be weighed.
Rob Dwyer (24:32.106)
And you'll know this as well as anyone, being an Indiana guy, me being a Kansas guy, right? In the Midwest, and it's not just the Midwest, but in the Midwest, we have tornadoes, right? In the Southeast, you get hurricanes. In the West Coast, you get earthquakes, where you get all these weather type of events. And I remember very clearly, like, when you're in a contact center,
Jason Hiland (24:36.092)
I hope so.
Jason Hiland (24:51.342)
Oh, I know where you're going here.
Rob Dwyer (25:01.394)
in the Midwest and a tornado siren goes off. Everybody goes to the basement. Nobody's answering the phones or the chats or the emails or the social media. None of that is happening. Everybody is hunkered down in the basement. If you lose power, the contact center is done. Sure, you can have some UPS. You can have some
separate, but that is an investment, right? Maybe you have a generator up on the roof. Not a cheap investment. If you lose Internet, the contact center is done.
Jason Hiland (25:34.496)
Yes, not a cheap investment either. Yeah, not a cheap investment.
Jason Hiland (25:46.72)
Yeah, business continuity. Yeah.
Rob Dwyer (25:47.402)
when you centrally locate everyone in a center, you're putting all of your eggs in that basket. And when you have people that work from home, all of a sudden, as you talked about, right, I can spread things out. And so not only do I have people working from home, can I go into different areas and not have to worry about transit time and can they get to the contact center. But I really give myself some
business stability and continuity if anything happens because I still have people taking care of my customers. Maybe I get one or two down because of a weather issue or something like that. But it really provides business continuity in a way that you couldn't do before when everyone was located in one spot.
Jason Hiland (26:39.876)
That's a great point, 100% great point, is that business continuity is huge. You spread out your risk with remote agents.
and not putting all those eggs in the basket, like you said. I think you nailed it right there. And we could probably go on and on, finding lots of different positives about the work from home environment. We could probably also find some more cracks in the wall if we wanted to. There are always going to be positives and negatives to every work environment. But I think when you weigh those, and if you can have the right technology to make sure your productivity and your security and compliance
at risk and then you have happier workers, you have better business continuity, you're saving money on infrastructure and overhead, well it starts to add up and it starts to point towards this is a very viable option for contact centers and I don't think that they should just be so quick to pull people back. I think if they did their due diligence they'd find, well we can probably make this work.
Rob Dwyer (27:32.651)
Rob Dwyer (27:49.418)
Yeah. All right, so.
Jason Hiland (27:50.352)
and work better than what it worked.
Rob Dwyer (27:53.394)
Yeah, for sure. Let's talk about the tech. Let's start with the basics. Like what are the bare minimums that I need to have contact center agents working from home?
Jason Hiland (27:54.808)
Thanks for watching!
Jason Hiland (28:09.22)
Well, you know, the bare minimum, obviously, is just a computer and a monitor. You know, somebody's got a computer monitor and an Internet and they've got a, you know, a headset. They can work. But then you're leaving yourself open to a lot of those cracks in the walls that you need to start filling. So from what a lot of the contact centers are doing is you got to remember what you had access to before you had access to see the agent. You had access to see what was on their screen.
and you had access to understand at least, you know, what was their environment was like. So let's just talk about from the monitor perspective. You know, you, you know, in the call center, you could make sure that they weren't watching Netflix or they didn't have their Gmail account up there where they could essentially send data out or something like that. So for productivity and security and compliance, you had that visibility. So at the very minimum, being able to view an agent's monitor. Second,
is the visibility of the agent. And we have these things up here called cameras. And some people get a little, you know, like, oh, I don't want to put a camera on my agents. But then I ask them, like, how many cameras did you have on the contact center floor? And they're like, oh, we had like 12.
You know, I'm like, OK, so again, we're trying to engage. We're trying to put these people together. So we've got monitor mirroring that you can do. We've got cameras where you can see the face and be able to engage just like we're engaging now. And then you can start to get into some of the more high tech, but like those are the bare minimums to me in order to make sure that an agent's being productive and that you're starting to secure the environment. Because even with a virtual background or a blurred background, which we promote.
I don't want to look at somebody's bedroom or anything like that. Not everybody's got a cool background like you, Rob. If everybody had that, we wouldn't need virtual background. Oh, this is just a fake plant and nice wallpaper. You, you on the other end did some work. But yeah, so it. Don't tell, I don't want to hear that, man. I don't want to hear that. That's the coolest background in town. So yeah, I would say that, you know, the very minimum is you got to have what
Rob Dwyer (30:01.299)
Rob Dwyer (30:09.738)
Oh, you didn't know? This is just wallpaper. I don't.
Jason Hiland (30:23.736)
an agent needs to work. But then you need to kind of be starting to stack on top of that and kind of handle what we consider four pillars. Being able to engage with them and allow them to be able to engage with their supervisor. Being able to make sure that the productivity doesn't fall so that you know you have technology and reports that can manage that. Making sure the security and compliance is squared away and that typically means monitor mirroring and cameras. And then training.
being able to have that environment, not just for the initial training, but that ongoing subsequent training that agents need, whether they're switching projects from one client to another, or something changes in a project. I mean, I know that never happens, but you need that environment, that foundation, that technology foundation to be able to do all that. Now we've got this new stuff. It's called AI that you can use to help.
Rob Dwyer (31:21.762)
Jason Hiland (31:22.188)
You know, we've got things, you know, for instance, I promised not to make this a sales pitch for our own platform, but it's an example. These right here are productivity killers. That's why they weren't allowed on a contact center floor, but they're also security risks. So AI now, if you have a camera, if it sees one of these, it can alert a supervisor in real time that a cell phone was present. You know?
Also, there's AI that can, if say for instance, I'm sitting here even with a virtual background and somebody, my roommate walks up behind me and is looking here, the camera can see it, and that AI can detect multiple faces in a screen and let the supervisor know that room, that home office is unsecure. So really if you're asking me, there's the basics to have somebody work and then there's the basics that you need.
as far as to really nail down the work from home from a contact center if your agents are working with very sensitive data. And that comes with the monitors and the cameras.
Rob Dwyer (32:24.842)
So security, I think, is where most people instantly gravitate toward. Where we want to mitigate risk when it comes to exposing customer data or, you know, being on the news, whether that's on the TV, the nightly news, because that was a thing once, still is, or right on the front page of whatever news service that you have on your phone.
Jason Hiland (32:31.14)
Jason Hiland (32:46.112)
Rob Dwyer (32:53.282)
But you touched on something that I want to dig a little bit deeper into, and that is the employee engagement piece. And I think people are hesitant to put cameras on agents or on themselves even, right? When you think about the contact center supervisor, maybe they don't really want to be on camera, but what is it about
Jason Hiland (33:00.982)
Rob Dwyer (33:22.294)
being able to have all of your people on camera that helps engagement with the team.
Jason Hiland (33:28.492)
Sure, well one is we as human beings have five senses. You know, we can hear, we can see, we can taste, we can touch and we can smell. Now hearing makes up 10% of how we perceive our world. Taste, touch and smell make up the other 10%. Now doing the math, that leaves 80% for one sense and that's vision. And we are...
as human beings, we are a very tribal species. We need people around us. We need to see people around us. So I think a lot of times when people think about this technology, they think of it in the terms of like on a zoom call all day long.
And it doesn't have to feel that way. It's not that, it doesn't have to be that on. Like I'm staring, I'm talking to my supervisor all day, my supervisor's talking, no, everybody's got things they've got to do, you know? But that engagement is so important because look, going back to what I said, we're tribal people, we need our community. And one of the negatives to all of this work from home that we've seen is the isolation that some people
have felt and you know, bringing those teams back together and giving them that ability to communicate, to get the help they need when they need it and be able to look over and say, you know what? I'm not alone. There's my whole team over there working and I can see that on my monitor. I can see my supervisor and that gives a sense of comfort. Like I know my supervisor's there. Right now in a lot of...
from home environments, if an agent runs into trouble, they're sending off some IM, you know, through Teams or something like that to their supervisor. They have no idea if their supervisor's sitting there or not. And, you know, you've been on the phones, I've been on the phones. You've got somebody in your ear, you're trying to do the best job you can do, and you feel alone, like you can't get the help you need, and that person might be upset. That anxiety, that stress, that will build up over time.
Jason Hiland (35:31.856)
So being able to engage and be able to get the help that agents need is extremely important. I think a lot of it comes down to perception with cameras. We, you know, we're like, well, I don't want to be on camera. And I think the key is when somebody feels that they're on camera and they don't know who's watching them, that's uncomfortable. That's monitoring.
But when I'm on camera and I look up and I see my team or I see my supervisor and they're not staring at me, they're doing their work. You know, but that is engagement of the future, Rob. I mean, let's face it. As work from home gets more prevalent, as technology gets more prevalent, perceptions are going to change. And we're seeing that already.
that the cameras aren't for security anymore. They're not some extra piece. They are an extension of how we build community nowadays.
Rob Dwyer (36:35.894)
Yeah, I've come around differently. I mean, I do feel like there are a lot of people who don't wanna be on camera all day long. And it's interesting, I saw a recent study about what we've called Zoom fatigue. And what was interesting about the study was actually that it wasn't necessarily that you were
Jason Hiland (36:36.268)
just like we're doing right now.
Jason Hiland (36:54.583)
Rob Dwyer (37:05.762)
Fatigued from being on camera all day long, but there was a Perception of when we're in these meetings particularly not always on camera that we can be Multitasking and doing other things and not paying attention And I think a big part of that is this feeling of being completely separate and private and in a different space
that can have an impact on how we go about our day, how we go about our work, and also a certain feeling of isolation and loneliness that can come with work from home. And I'm as big a proponent of work from home as anyone that you'll find. But I do think that we are still, particularly those of us who...
are in a work from home environment are still trying to solve some of these challenges that come with work from home. There are different challenges that come with a brick and mortar environment that presents its own challenges that you have to figure out how to solve for. But this I think is still relatively new enough that we're trying to figure out and we don't yet know all the answers, but as these different technologies become available,
I think there are real opportunities for leaders in contact centers to evaluate looking at things through a lens that's different than how they looked at things in a brick and mortar environment. And you mentioned as soon as we got started, right? Are you using the same tools that you were using when everyone was in the contact center? And I think we all need to ask ourselves that, are you using the same tools?
Jason Hiland (38:45.854)
Rob Dwyer (39:00.214)
Because if you are, that probably means that there's an opportunity for you to do something better, to do something different, that's gonna help you be more secure, that's gonna help engage your people better than what you're doing today. And that's a hard thing for us to do, to question, are we doing the right things?
But I think that's part of continuous improvement for every leader. What can we do to be better going?
Jason Hiland (39:33.493)
You've nailed it. And if you ever need another job, you can come over and sit right next to me and sell technology just the way you just did. If you need like a part time job or you know, I think you've got like three or four jobs already. So
Rob Dwyer (39:38.958)
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Rob Dwyer (39:46.458)
I've got seven jobs. I am like a skit on in living color. I've got seven jobs and I still feel lazy. Before we let you go.
Jason Hiland (39:53.954)
Rob Dwyer (40:04.734)
I want to ask you about Machu Picchu.
Jason Hiland (40:13.092)
Yeah, yeah, well, I forgot that we haven't really talked since that. So yeah, in September, I got the opportunity to go with a group of men. Oh, I knew one of them. There was a little 12 of us, a friend of mine, Kyle WS has a company called, it's called, I won't go, I won't say his name of his company. Nonetheless, he puts together groups.
Rob Dwyer (40:17.091)
Jason Hiland (40:40.396)
trips for men because look women are great at community. My wife is all the time hanging out with different ladies and brunches and lunches and girls trips and everything like that. We as men typically aren't as good at that. We're a little bit more secluded and you know I still have my three best friends are three guys I grew up from third grade on.
I know other guys, but nonetheless, all right. So I got the opportunity to go to Machu Picchu on this guys trip. And we spent 10 days down there. We flew into Lima, then up to Cusco, spent a couple of days getting used to altitude, which I'll be honest with you, I never got used to being at 13,000 feet. I never did, I had headaches the entire time. And then we spent four days, three nights trekking through the Andes.
from essentially from the Cusco area from the sacred valley to Machu Picchu. And you know it was interesting. It started off as Machu Picchu being a bucket list trip place. For the first time I saw a picture of it I want to go there so bad. And then I started noticing that when we were walking and I'm walking through the Andes and I'm seeing all this I'm just amazed. So then it came more about the journey. But really when I look back on it now
It was actually about the 11 or 12 guys that were walking next to me. That I only knew one of them, but they were so supportive. And every night we'd get together at dinner and the dinner tent and we would, you know.
talk and ask questions about business and personal lives and get very vulnerable, which wasn't very easy for me to do. And some of these guys are, you know, some of these guys were like Olympic trainers and large business owners. And for the first time in their lives in front of guys they didn't know they were just talking about their family and talking about their business in ways that they never anticipated. It was one of the most cool experiences I've ever gone and done, Rob. And anybody who ever gets a chance to do something like that.
Jason Hiland (42:45.74)
Do it. You know, just get out of your comfort zone, get vulnerable. But it was outside of going to Africa with my wife, that was the greatest trip I've ever been on.
Rob Dwyer (42:59.586)
That's fantastic. What was the most, aside from obviously what you just talked about, the kind of relationship building and the vulnerability, but what was the most unexpected thing about that journey, about that trip?
Jason Hiland (43:06.506)
Jason Hiland (43:13.516)
Well, the most unexpected was the effect for me of altitude. You know, I'm a pretty fit guy. I try to stay fit. And on the second day, you go from about 9,500 feet to about 14,400. And it's not like a trail. I mean, these are like rock steps that can be anywhere from a few inches tall to 15, 16 inches tall. I, at times, were just telling myself in my head, left foot.
Rob Dwyer (43:22.507)
No, no, no.
Jason Hiland (43:42.916)
right foot, left foot, right foot. But actually I'm gonna stop because here's what I'll actually say the most surprising thing was. I now consider myself a male, not a man. Because, and the reason that is, is there was five foot two Peruvian porters. I had like 25 pounds on my back. They had like 60, 70 pounds on their back. They're running past me as I'm struggling to get up this mountain. And they're in sandals.
Rob Dwyer (43:45.09)
Ha ha ha.
Jason Hiland (44:11.744)
I mean, you want to talk about making yourself feel a little insecure right there, but that was actually the most surprising. I've never seen, you would have thought these guys were world-class athletes, the way they've gotten accustomed to the altitude. But yeah, it was hard. It was harder than I thought it was going to be, Rob. That's really what it comes down to. You know, I'm very active. I train, I run, but I can't replicate that altitude. And that was hard.
So there's things you can do that I just was too tough of a guide to do before. Take the medicine and stuff like that. I'm like, no, I got this. I wish I would have been a little bit more open to some of the things that you can do prior to going and on the trip that makes it a little easier.
Rob Dwyer (44:54.926)
Yeah, yeah, that's why the Denver Broncos love playing at home. Even though they stink this year and most years since Peyton Manning left. Yes, that's a dig at you Broncos fans. No, I'm a Chiefs guy. I'm just I'm just digging at him because I feel like digging at him and they did beat us this year and I was. Really disappointed, but again, they do they like playing at home because.
Jason Hiland (45:05.863)
Are you a Bronco fan? Oh, I was going to say, wait a minute. I've been stunned.
Rob Dwyer (45:23.574)
of the altitude and it's not even nearly that high. Right. You were really quite a bit higher than that. Yeah.
Jason Hiland (45:23.949)
Jason Hiland (45:29.636)
almost 3x that. Yeah, we're almost 3x that. And it, you just don't realize how much it affects your body. But that was one thing great about the group because there was a few people that weren't as good a condition and everybody was so supportive. I mean, they're taking their packs from them. They're sharing their water. They're giving them their altitude medicine, you know, and so it was just really cool to see that happen. No one got left behind.
Rob Dwyer (45:54.414)
That's good. That's good. Well, Jason, thank you for joining Next In Queue. Great to talk with you. If someone wanted to learn more about you or more about collaboration room, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Jason Hiland (46:11.843)
I think you should be good. Yep. But just never know. What are your first time on my or is it all you think you're never gonna do? Well, me probably easiest. I'm a heavy LinkedIn user. So you can, I'm not, I won't hand out my cell phone here, but my cell phone is under my profile on LinkedIn. So just Jason and the last name is H-I-L-A-N-D. I know, where's my G-H at?
My grandfather said we got shorted, so it's just Jason Hyland with H-I-L-A-N-D. And then Collaboration Room, you can visit us at www.collaborationroom.ai. We want to make it a little harder there, so we put an AI instead of a comma at the end. And we'd love to talk to you.
Rob Dwyer (46:42.75)
Yeah, yeah, I'll make sure. I'll make sure we've got links for everybody, so check the show notes. You don't have to remember it. Just go click on the link. You can get in touch with Jason. You can check out collaboration room. OK.
Jason Hiland (46:49.429)
All right, awesome.
Jason Hiland (46:54.52)
Yeah, I'll take carrier pigeons. I'll take, I'll take smoke signals, whatever way they want to get ahold of us. You know?
Rob Dwyer (47:01.486)
noted, noted. Check out the links for the carrier pigeons. Those are, I believe, called passenger pigeons, passenger pigeons and smoke signals down in the show notes as well. Jason Hyland, thanks for joining.
Jason Hiland (47:11.03)
I stand corrected.
Jason Hiland (47:17.921)
I can't wait to see how you do that. Thank you Rob, I appreciate you letting me be here. You have a great day.