Choose Existing Contact Centers

Selecting former contact center space does have its advantages as well as its concerns. Here is a short list of items to think about:
-Does it have an updated infrastructure? Is the contact center so old that the cabling will need updating? Old buildings can be difficult and expensive to rewire
-Electrical – can it handle the demands of today’s service centers?
-How old and efficient is the HVAC? No one enjoys replacing these.
-Most importantly and not easily changed is the telecom connection to the building. Is there fiber to this building? What telecom providers are available? Can you get symmetrical connection speeds? If you have to wait 18 months for a fiber connection, you have to ask…is this the right building?
-It may come with furniture; will you need to configure it differently for your center? Will you need to add more cubes/desks? Will you need help from an interior designer to make the old and the new work? Can you blend old and new workstations to make it not only an attractive place to work but productive and cost effective?
Existing centers can speed up the build out time but can also hinder it. Take a closer look at what reusing an existing contact center has to offer. Your site selector will help you assess the pros and cons. The data connection is paramount; give it the respect it deserves and your center will be 21st Century. The cost per square foot can really get management excited but you always get what you pay for. This is a complex decision, make it carefully.

Employee Safety

Since we are talking about operational hours, lets also consider the safety of your employees.

Is the center open 24/7? How safe is it for early 1st shifters to come in? How safe is it for the 2nd and 3rd shifts? Is it in a scary neighborhood? Is it perhaps scary to walk out to the parking garage late at night? What are the crime rates for the area? What can you do to ensure your employees safety? Because if they don’t feel safe they won’t come in to work.

Time Zones

What do time zones have to do with facility type? Good question! Consider what types of calls and what time zones the center will be handling. What will be the operational hours of this service center? Do you anticipate any additional shifts? Due to overwhelming demand for Home Affordability Refinance loans, a West Coast mortgage bank originating mortgages from a contact center added a second shift to handle the unexpected demand and to assist the West Coast customers. West Coast customers typically called for service after their workday and agents were not available. While the bank had a four story parking garage it was full by 9:00 am with 1st shifters. When the second shift came in at 3:30 there was no place to park. The bank moved up first shift to 5:00 AM PST (8:00 EST) giving 1st shifters time to exit the building and more time to work with East coast customers. This also gave second shifters time to enter the building and find their seats. By changing the shifts to match up with time zones they were able to service customers more effectively and resolve the limited parking issue; making it easy for folks to get into their seats. What time zones will your contact center be servicing?

Public Transportation

Does public transportation run to or near your facility? Depending on the wage level of your agent this can be important. Many agents may use public transportation. Check out where the bus stops. How far do employees have to walk from the station/stop to the contact center? How about light rail; where are the stations? Making the contact center accessible helps college students and other entry-level folks get started. This also applies to disabled employees who don’t drive. Make it easy for these folks to get to work. They too want to do a great job and are making a huge effort to be there. Take into consideration public transportation in your site selection.

Building Types

Typical commercial building types tend to be office buildings, warehouses, retail, and any combination of those spaces. With that said, the size or number of agents matters in determining the type of building the service center is housed in.

The discussion in Site Square Footage and Amenities comes into play in determining the building type. Choosing a warehouse type building might be good if you are housing 3,000 agents but more than likely it is out in nowhere land and therefore has no amenities or public transportation for employees. Hiring folks and keeping them happy will be difficult. The cost per square foot can be very attractive but you must look at what it will cost you in turnover. It may not be the best deal.
There are smaller “warehouse” type buildings in office parks that can work, especially if they have amenities (see the amenities tab) and parking. When I say warehouse I’m talking about a big empty office building. It can have high ceilings, but it has to have windows and normal entryways. It may not have any offices, or very few. It will have lots of space for rows of agent cubes. It can be designed into a clean, modern functioning contact center. Warehouse in this context doesn’t mean dirty concrete floors and a loading dock as a front door!
How can you provide amenities, get a good deal on space, and make it easy to get to? There are numerous contact centers housed in office buildings where there are multiple tenants. These can be terrific buildings provided there is ample parking. Contact centers have more employees per square foot than typical offices due to the smaller agent desks and the desks being literally next to each other utilizing as much building space as possible. Sometimes other tenants get vocal because the contact center is hogging up all the parking spaces. And if you have plans for growing and adding agents, while the building may have more space to rent you, do they have more parking spaces?
For example, a big bank opened its contact center and there was no parking. The bank used a shuttle bus to transport agents to and from the contact center to an off-site parking lot, which you can imagine, was a joyful ride for everyone. Employees want a stress-free commute and they want to find a parking spot quickly to get to work on time. Make it easy for people to get to their seats!
A popular model is putting retail on the first floor and non-retail on upper levels. A BPO put a contact center in Phoenix that sits above a big box retail store within a strip mall. In that same strip mall, it has lots of places for lunch, banking, a gym, shopping and places for an after-work cocktail. The multi-level parking garage is in the back and retail customers don’t even know the contact center is up there because agents come in through the parking garage in the back, right onto the second floor. Retail customers park out front. It is really a brilliant model balancing parking, amenities, enough office space, and easy access on and off the freeway.


1. Choose facility types that already have a fiber optic connection to the building. This is too important, don’t count on the carrier to install one.

2. Consider what is important to employees, not just management and/or the owner.


Standing up a new contact center has many moving parts to consider. It is a balancing act to consider factors that are important to both the company and the employees. A qualified site selector can assist in sorting out and prioritizing the different types of buildings, whether new or existing contact centers, where the public transportation is, what crime rates are and local amenities. Take all your stakeholders’ needs and concerns into consideration with regards to choosing a facility. This is a big decision.

Data Connection

Imagine you move into your new contact center only to discover when it’s time to connect your center to the ISP that the carrier representative only gives you two options: Dial up and cable. You ask “Where’s the fiber?” “Oh that will cost you $50,000 and take 90 days to 18 months to install,” says the carrier representative. Yikes! and you already signed the lease! This is not the time to find out your most important utility is substandard.

The biggest oversight when it comes to utilities is the telecommunication services, specifically the data connection. What kind of data connection is available at the potential sites you’re considering? After all, this is a contact center that runs on the Internet! Contact centers utilize numerous applications and thousands of calls flow through simultaneously. You want the fastest, most secure and reliable connection you can get, which is Fiber Optics. This is by far the most important utility decision you will make.
Do your due diligence and get this one right the first time. Just because there is a cell phone tower on the other side of the parking lot doesn’t mean there is fiber to your prospective contact center. This is one decision where you don’t want to take any shortcuts.

Fiber Data Connections

Why fiber? It is preferable due to its speed, symmetrical bandwidth that allows for much longer transmission distances, and security.

Fiber is completely dedicated to your business, making it private. Not sharing lines makes for a higher level of security. Fiber is made of glass; you have to literally break it to breach the connection. Copper can be compromised and hacked much more easily. While fiber is more expensive in the short term, the benefits make it less expensive over time. Ask your site selector to see the fiber maps. Ensure fiber is available and up and running when you move in. Don’t accept any promises about when it will be installed. You want your center up and running successfully from the very first day.

Facility Operations and Maintenance

Facility operations and maintenance (O/M) comprises all the services required to assure the building’s environment will perform the functions for which the building was built and/or selected to do. Operations and maintenance means the daily activities of its systems, equipment, technology, processes and the people that maintain them.

While operations and maintenance includes a long list of areas, not all are critical to the site selection process. For example, Real Property Inventory, Computerized Maintenance Management Systems, Janitorial/Cleaning, and Systems Training are important O&M responsibilities but these are not deal breakers when it comes to site selection.
Daily utility costs need to be identified and evaluated during the site selection process. Daily costs like: What’s the cost of electricity? How much electricity will the center use? How old is the HVAC unit? Will the current HVAC unit need an upgrade? Is it energy efficient? Are there solar or gas options? Can you anticipate how much water the site will use? What does it cost? Are you in an area where water is rationed like California? Do you want green grass at your front door? What will it cost to water it? What are the fees for trash, recycling, and other city services? Your qualified site selector can help you obtain, analyze and project these monthly expenses.

Top Ten Workplace Amenities

There is no limit to what you can think up for workplace amenities. These are the main categories: Food/Refreshments, Gathering and Collaboration Areas (lounges), Fitness and Recreation, Work-Life Balance, Commerce and Information Centers.

Here are the Top Ten Luxuries:
1. On-Site Massage includes chair and massage therapist. Work is stressful.
2. MetroNap Energy Pod – take a nap in a zero-gravity recliner with soft music. Recharge your batteries for the rest of the day.
3. Agents who work overtime get stressed about cleaning their own home. Send out the cleaning ladies – professional cleaners to your employee’s homes twice a month.
4. On-site Doctor’s office – Chase, SAS, and many others provide a full- service doctor’s office. Agents can have their blood pressure checked, get prescriptions refilled, and even blood work completed and never leave the office. All free of charge. A huge time saver.
5. The Treadmill Desk – walk and type your day away. Lose weight and improve overall health.
6. Webcam-monitored childcare –Agents can log on remotely via computer or phone and peek in at playtime or visually connect with their children.
7. On-site Beverage Bar – coffee and juice beverages.
8. Organic cuisine – providing locally grown organic food is a nice variation to the traditional contact center pizza lunch.
9. On-site laundry/dry cleaning – a big time saver, keeps your agents looking and smelling nice.
10. Scooters – Some contact centers are on a large sprawling corporate property, called a “campus” and scooters help agents get to other buildings where amenities are housed, like the fitness room (gym), daycare etc. easily during their breaks or lunch.

Workplace Amenities

Workplace amenities are part of the entire value proposition. Employees today are faced with not only evaluating benefits but also workplace amenities.

Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, studies workplaces extensively and says such added benefits of amenities are useful only where there’s a positive corporate culture that values employees and rewards their work beyond just attractive perks. “What matters is whether companies let employees make decisions, offer them reasonable job security, and treat them with respect. Not whether they give them free food,” he says.
Those are nice things, and they may represent the corporate attitude, but if that’s all you do, they’re meaningless to employees. The goal of workplace amenities is to keep agents at work working and/or eliminate employee distractions. Creating amenities isn’t difficult if it answers one of those two goals.

Do Amenities Make a Difference?

Remember, the goals of workplace amenities are to keep agents in the building, eliminate what distracts them and make their life easier.

If, after you implement amenities, agents are using them then you have succeeded. When employees can concentrate without worry they are by far the most productive. When agents know that their children are safe they will happily agree to work overtime when asked. Amenities help drive the turnover rate down and keep agents in the building. Amenities help create an inspirational work environment – a place that everyone wants to be. Yes, they make a difference!

To Make Employees Lives Easier

Less likely to leave the office: On-site childcare, dry cleaning, hair salon, fitness room and free food. These things allow agents to focus on work by making their personal life a bit easier.

Some perks are more effective than others. Services that are more personal and directly impact the agent’s health like ergonomic furniture and personal trainers on-site can have a dramatic effect on productivity. Agents feel cared for and valued.
The most valued workplace luxuries are time-saving incentives. Today everyone wants more time and greater quality of life. Running around doing errands takes up time and is a mindless task. Time is more valuable than money for many. How can you give your agents more time?
Keep in mind, extra services and perks are not replacements for a mismanaged contact center, bad morale or poor culture. Those need to be righted first before the perks will have meaning and value.

Time: How to Give More Time

How do you give agents more time without adding to PTO time?

Flex Time! Let agents choose the days/times and be flexible with the schedule.Workforce management tools can help manage the schedule. Life happens and agents are people and need to take care of personal business. Making it easy for agents to do so will eliminate employees sitting at their desks worrying about something they need to attend to. This will reduce the amount of time that is taken off, planned or unplanned. Your willingness to work with them shows you value them. Flex-time is free; offer it up and watch agents light up.


1. Can’t choose among all the choices for amenities? ASK! Ask your employees what amenities they would like, love and enjoy using. They will tell you.

2. Create community. Have your daily team huddle in the café instead of the contact center floor. Meet your team in the café for morning beverages and team news.


There is no wrong answer when creating workplace amenities. It all depends on what your goals are and why you want to offer them. Amenities come in all forms, from gourmet lunches, fancy lounges, personal trainers and fitness centers, a company store and more. In creating a strategy for workplace amenities, focus on what you want them to accomplish, survey your agents for suggestions and determine the most feasible. A gourmet lunch may not be possible if there is no cafeteria but you could provide gourmet sandwiches in the lounge. Today people are overwhelmed with personal responsibility. Anything you, the employer can do to make it easier sets your contact center apart from the rest, reduces the turnover, and improves morale and satisfaction by both customer and agents.



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NACSMA brings together like-minded professionals focused on advancing the customer contact industry and creating career growth.


Management of a best-in-class contact center sites require the continuous review of Agent Sourcing Models, Organizational Training and Management Development Programs.


NACSMA is a professional, non-profit association whose members represent customer contact organizations and the vendors who support them. 


When a contact center organization expands to an additional site or requires new space, the steps to properly implement are unique to each organization but do have standard phases.