Flexible working has become a fixture of the professional world. Flexible and short-term working arrangements have proven popular amongst staff in many industries, and shift scheduling has moved on from a ‘top down’ command-type arrangement into a two-way conversation between managers and employees.
The emerging generation of customer service agents has certainly caught onto its benefits. Our recent research showed that over half (51%) of Generation Z and young millennials are interested in being on-demand customer service agents, allowing them to better structure shifts around their personal lives and hobbies.
The benefits are equally evident to employers. Flexible scheduling represents a triple-win for businesses, as it allows greater staffing flexibility in peak times, leads to happier employees, and ultimately, higher levels of customer service.
However, the prospect of implementing and maintaining such flexibility can be daunting for managers. Reforming old processes and getting buy-in from senior management is a task on its own, let alone the potential operational difficulties that can incur from a poorly implemented scheduling system.
And their anxieties are in part well-founded. Introducing the wrong scheduling system can prove disastrous to an organisation, leading to employee frustration and a waste of company time and resources. This is where technology, including automation and artificial intelligence capabilities, can make a real difference. Workforce management software is a key player here, as it empowers businesses to forecast staffing requirements and automatically suggest shifts in accordance with the preferences of their workers. This allows businesses to assign the right people in the right places in real time, exactly when they need them.
Customer service agents can also be empowered to manage their shifts through the deployment of user-friendly scheduling technology. This allows agents to plan their shifts with easy to use software, like a dedicated mobile phone or desktop application, which helps build a highly accurate, agent-friendly and efficient workforce management system.
Flexibility is the way to go. If you implement it in the right way, the rewards will be numerous.