\u201cOK, show of hands, who wants to work from home?\u201dBelieve it or not, that\u2019s how some companies kick off their at-home call center agent programs\u00a0- and one of the big reasons they fail. Presuming the best or most eager in-house agents will make the best at-home agents is a common misconception, says Tim Houlne, CEO of Working Solutions. \u201cKey attributes of remote agents are very different from those in bricks and mortar call centers,\u201d he says. \u201cBut not a lot of companies understand that.\u201dAt last week\u2019s Call Center Demo and Conference\/3rd Annual Telework Conference in Dallas, Houlne\u2019s company\u00a0- a Plano, Texas, outsourcer with 22,000 part-time at-home agents nationwide - released a white paper aimed at helping firms launch successful at-home call center agent programs.\u201cWhether companies outsource or keep the call center in house, we\u2019re big proponents of the industry,\u201d he says. \u201cWithout giving away too many secrets, we wanted to provide a roadmap to help companies succeed.\u201dThere are a handful of reasons why companies\u2019 in-house call center programs fail. \u201cIn the last two years, we\u2019ve seen the same mistakes being made over and over again,\u201d Houlne says.Firms that don\u2019t properly define their goals\u00a0- whether it be save money, improve customer service, retain and recruit agents, or all of the above\u00a0- often run into trouble. Many often underestimate the cost of deploying a virtual program because many of the costs related to their existing in-house call center are hidden in other departments\u2019 budgets\u00a0- facilities, IT and HR. Some companies overestimate the cost savings of sending agents home, assuming they won\u2019t require infrastructure support when in fact they\u2019ll probably need more when you add up the cost of PCs, communications links, security, training and remote support.When assessing the cost, companies also need to weigh the pros and cons of keeping call center employees in house vs. hiring independent contractors. Independent contractors could be cheaper, but there\u2019s no rule of thumb. When weighing the contractor issue, always consult a lawyer to make sure the\u00a0required IRS laws are followed properly.Another problem Houlne encounters with his clients is training. Some companies insist training should be done in house, but Houlne shakes his head. \u201cWhy would you train someone in house then expect to manage them virtually? Everything has to be virtual.\u201dWorking Solutions has been profitable for 14 quarters, and gained a number of Fortune 50 clients in the travel and leisure, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and most recently communications services sectors\u00a0- wireless and landline voice and data providers. A link to the white paper, \u201cLeveraging Remote Agents for Strategic Advantage: Eight Essentials for Success\u201d is below.