Smashing the scourge of overtime

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Smashing the scourge of overtime

Many a manager and business leader has to deal with the challenge of overtime at some point in their careers. From an employee’s perspective it can be a positive, with those few extra pennies making a difference when staff decide to put in an extra few hours on the job.

From a financial and general business perspective though, overtime can be something of a nightmare. When left to get out of control, it can be a huge drain on a company’s bottom line and once it’s got past a certain point, it can be incredibly tough to rein it back in and stop the rot.

So what can you do to reduce your reliance on overtime?

Unavoidable, but only to a point

If you’re running a business that employs workers in departments such as a contact centre, the very nature of the job means that a certain degree of overtime is inevitable. Giving workers the option to work beyond their allotted hours brings an element of flexibility to the job, and rewards employees for putting in the extra miles. It’s also nice to have a buffer in place so that you’ll always have cover in the busiest times.

This is where overtime is useful, providing it is kept under wraps and you’re not shelling out too much money paying staff for extra hours.

A drain on finances

Unfortunately, overtime remains a scourge for many an organisation, to the point where it can hamper a company’s bid to maximise profitability. As an example, one company we worked with was spending £5 million every year on overtime alone!

When you’re spending this much on overtime, it’s clear that there are efficiency and organisational problems within the organisation that need to be addressed. By relying on overtime too much, you’re essentially sweeping these problems under the carpet.

Excessive overtime should never be accepted as the norm. Instead, time and effort needs to be invested into working out how to better plan employee schedules and increase efficiency across the workplace.

Turning the tide with workforce management software

This is where cloud-based workforce management (WFM) software really comes to the fore. Rather than relying on outdated legacy systems or manual staff management processes, embracing modern WFM tech eases the challenges attached to accurately planning and forecasting staff requirements, including across all customer-facing inbound, outbound and back office resources. The fact that it is cloud-based also enables easy updating of the software, and means it can be scaled up or down according to the needs of your business.

Cloud-based software, or software as a service (SaaS) means the number of licences you carry is no longer a long-term contractual commitment, and more importantly is now as agile as your need to utilise overtime. This cost efficiency for one of your business’s key operational tools, which in itself will improve how you manage your operational overheads, means cloud deployments and WFM are a match made in heaven, which deliver control and effectiveness in a modern customer engagement environment.

If implemented in the right way, WFM can be transformational in the way the schedules of employees are governed, and how future workloads are planned. By getting a better handle on this crucial aspect of the business, your organisation can reach a point where worker morale remains high due to their shift schedules being accurately planned and communicated, while overtime costs are significantly cut and money is freed up to drive the wider goals of the company.

Smashing the scourge of overtime is a challenge, but the means to beat it are very much available.

Find out more here about how WFM can reduce overtime costs and help your business move on to bigger and better things

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Colin Whelan

Colin Whelan has been a part of the Customer Contact Industry for the last 25 years, leading and supporting the UK & Ireland communities as a thought leader in resource planning, Back Office Optimization and Data, Analytics and Insight. Working for Companies including Barclays Bank, First Choice Holidays and Barclaycard, before joining Aspect as a Senior Solutions Consultant he was the Head of professionalism for the Forum, where he was instrumental in the development of the world’s first accredited University qualifications for the customer contact industry, along with standards in reporting, targeting and the use of intelligence. This career committed to developing and sharing best practice was recognised in April 2015 when the Forum Community gave Colin it’s “Industry Hero” award, “Over the past 7 years Colin has been a key figure within our community, committed to improving professionalism, making a huge contribution to the body of best practice in areas such as data analysis, back office planning and forecasting methodology. He embodies passion and enthusiasm for our profession.”
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