OHIO VALLEY — A local call center that opened it’s doors in 2000 on Third Avenue and has employed hundreds of Ohio Valley residents since that time announced last week that they are closing their brick and mortar operation in Gallipolis. Instead, they are moving to a work-from-home model. The change will affect 112 employees.
InfoCision executives said in a prepared press release that employees have been offered the opportunity to remain with the company and work from their homes or transfer to InfoCision’s Huntington, W.Va. call center.
The announcement was made to employees last week.
“For several years, our Work at Home Program has been growing steadily, especially here in southern Ohio. It makes sense to transition to a work-from-home model. Our employees are the best in the business, and we hope everyone chooses to stay with us. We will be assisting them with this transition in any way we can,” said Steve Brubaker, InfoCision chief of staff.
Employees who will be transitioning to the Work at Home Program will maintain their current pay rate and benefits package.
“This virtual call center model positions us for future growth by allowing us to spread our reach throughout the region and provide employment opportunities to people who live a little too far away to drive to a physical location, but are every bit as skilled as any employee in our brick and mortar call centers,” stated Brubaker.
In the telemarketing industry, working from home has been a growing model for many years, and with advances in technology, it’s a trend that will continue to grow as more people have access to high speed internet and computers, especially in rural areas, according to the InfoCision release.
However, the rural nature of the tri-county area could prove troublesome for InfoCision employees who do not currently have access to high speed Internet.
Brubaker told the Gallipolis Daily Tribune the company hopes to overcome these challenges to retain all current employees.
“It is our goal for all employees to continue to work for InfoCision,” said Brubaker. “We have been actively working with employees and looking at all available options to identify high speed Internet choices for those who are not able to commute to our Huntington facility.”
Still, despite dramatic progress in the expansion of broadband service in Gallia, Meigs and Mason counties over the past five years, there are still cross sections of all three counties without high speed availability. To this end, Brubaker looks to local government to fill in the blanks.
“Again, we are looking at all options for our employees and hope that community and government entities will also ensure all individuals in Gallia County have access to these important technologies,” added Brubaker.
For their part, InfoCision is providing a subsidy for existing employees to be used toward the set up of home offices.
According to Brubaker, Work at Home staff are InfoCision employees just like those in any brick and mortar call center. They earn a regular paycheck, work a set weekly schedule and have opportunities for bonuses.
The city of Gallipolis isn’t entirely sure how this shift is going to impact employment numbers, but officials know that employee transfers to Huntington or a loss of jobs will mean a loss of tax base.
“Gallipolis stands to lose about $25,000 annually,” said Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney. “We will still net some of that income tax from InfoCision employees who live within the city and continue to work from home.”
Finney said that the building that currently houses InfoCision’s call center is privately owned and had been leased to InfoCision. There are no known immediate new plans for the site.
Founded in 1982, InfoCision employs more than 4,000 in 42 call centers throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.