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Call centers vacating offices

Automation reducing staff. COVID boosts work at home.
Posted at 7:16 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 21:16:36-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - One of Tucson’s largest industries is changing---with a push from COVID-19. Call centers have started to move out of their office space.

C3 call center has closed its large office near Drexel and I-19 and consolidated operations at another office in Tucson.

Stephen Cohen of the big commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield/PICOR says that’s a sign of a real change in the industry.

“Two years ago there was no vacancy in any of the call center space that we have in Tucson---zero.”

Cohen says call centers need fewer people because automation has improved. It’s easier now for customers to use a website or punch through a phone menu to get what they want.

Cohen says call centers were already letting more workers take calls from home, when COVID added more reason to disperse their workforce.

“And you know that freed up space as well and a lot of that space is just sitting empty is actually on the market right now, but that remains to be seen whether that will be able to continue or not. Some employees are absolutely comfortable working from home and their productivity is acceptable to their employers. And so that's likely to continue.”

But Cohen expects call centers to remain a big part of Tucson’s economy because call center managers still see Tucson as a good source of reliable workers. There’s just a question of exactly where those workers will work.