Collector - January 2021 - 30

The Future of
Remote Work:
A Q&A with
David White

W

e chatted with ACA
International member David
White, senior vice president
at Performant Financial Corp., about the
work-from-home pivot and his long-term
outlook for remote work.

Q: How did your company's
approach to employees working
from home change in 2020?

A: We're probably along the lines of other
ACA members. The vast majority of the
verticals and products we serve required
our employees to be within our facility in
a brick-and-mortar footprint. So, prior to
COVID-19 hitting, we were at least 95%
in the office. And then, within a twoto-three week period that f lipped in the
other direction to at least 95% work from
home. From a capability perspective,
that's a huge swing in a relatively short
timeframe.

Q: And now, nine months later,
what are your thoughts on it?

" I think of
work-from-home as
another tool in our
retention toolbox. "

30

A: For us, at first we were just focused on
getting everybody home and operating.
Now that we've done that, I think we're at
the point where two things are happening
for us. First, we're focused on maximizing
the utilization of our agents and really
homing in on productivity metrics and
making sure those are up to date.
But also, we're pivoting to a changing
world. We have some clients that have
now given us the OK to start offering
opportunities to work from home even
outside of COVID. We're ready to see
what those models look like from a
geographical footprint perspective, from a
support perspective and from an employee
retention perspective.
I would think that for us, we might
eventually have something like 60%
in the office and 40% working from
home. We'd still want to have the
capability to bring people into the
office if there are any concerns, but I
think for the employees who show the

right capabilities we could potentially
offer that to them long-term.

Q: Why does that sound appealing?
Is it because you've been hearing
that that's what employees want?

A: I think so. I mean, you think about the
space that we're in-and it depends on
whether you're considering third party
or first party-but there's always going to
be limitations of compensation that you
can offer. And so, when you think about
trying to retain or recruit new employees,
having the ability to offer that flexibility
is important. We could have employees
who have an hour commute each way to
come into work and eliminating those
commuting hours would be very appealing.
I think of this as another tool in our
retention toolbox.

Q: Did you make any technology
investments this year related to
work from home?

A: We had a lot of stuff in place already,
but one thing we added was the ability to
monitor agents' work effort on their stations.
We purchased a product called Teramind,
which is used for data loss prevention. It's
reassuring for our clients who are, quite
rightly, concerned about data integrity and
data security. It helps us see where our agents'
time is being spent and it can flag any risks.
It helps us from a productivity perspective
too. You know, we have individuals who were
forced into a work-from-home environment by
the pandemic, so there are some people who
want to work from home and then there are
some people who struggle with working from
home. So, giving us that visibility into what
their work day looks like allows us to more
effectively manage them and has been a very
significant achievement for us during this time.
That product was something we purchased
specifically because of the pandemic, but I do
think it's going to be applicable even when
we're back in the office.
Reported by Anne Rosso May.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - January 2021

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