Most contact center organizations have used the process of "shift bidding" for decades. Up to now, it has well served the need of filling required shifts with some sort of organization and ranking of people choosing them, Is it time to revisit the process? Perhaps trading in the old "shift bidding" thinking and routine for a fresher approach to scheduling that is more representative of the world we now live in? I think the time has arrived, as we, for sure, are now living in a very different world.
Considerations for change to Flexible Scheduling:
- Pandemic Flexibility and WFH - from now through September (or when most of us are vaccinated), employees are going to continue to require a lot of flexibility to manage their makeshift work and personal lives. The "unexpected" seems to continue to come at us, and will for the near term. As we know, this requires special adjustments at work for many. Opening up some flexible shifts that are built every two weeks or once a month does just that - it formally gives people tremendous opportunities to move their work schedules around to align with their in-flux personal life/family demands. And does it without the guilt of having to ask you (the employer) to make continued exceptions and adjustments.
- Post Pandemic - Long term working - many people have grown accustomed to being more involved in the day-to-day lives of their families, and they would like to maintain that. Many are interested in continuing to work from home for the long term. Some want to work full time from home. Many want to work a few days at home and a few days in the office. And many may be interested in home-based shifts that change, so that they can better balance and fully leverage personal and work demands. These varying shifts (for those who are interested) may be just as beneficial for your company. You can split shifts, compress work weeks, get some weekend hours filled, get very small time blocks filled (i.e. 2-3 hours) and get evening hours filled just when you need them most. In an office environment, no one was interested in coming to work, leaving and coming back. But that's all changed now. And you've got some members of your organization that may find this highly appealing, for the short and/or long term.
- Save your company labor cost - Scheduling people in smaller blocks that are much more closely aligned to the arrival patters of your voice and non-voice work could save your company significant labor costs (if you have varying arrival times during the course of the day). You can make short shifts available when your customer demand spikes and is high, and remove labor hours when customer demand enters slow periods. Now that so many people are home-based, there is new interest in working this way.
So how do you best explore these options? The first step is to ask your workforce. Advise them that you are considering opening up Flexible Scheduling for a portion of the workforce - to people that may be interested in it, and where it helps fill business needs as well. Ask people what day parts they would be interested in working, and if split shifts/microshifts are appealing, and if weekends or other times would work for them. Some people may work eight hour shifts on days they are in office, and two, four hour shifts on days when they are at home.
There are tremendous possibilities with Flexible Scheduling. You can better the lives of your employees, save labor costs, and shore up your staffing efficiencies!