On Jun, 3 2022
Flexible work hours have become increasingly important to many agents. The 9 to 5 lifestyle just isn’t for everyone all the time. Even the best agents will need scheduling flexibility at some point to keep their work-life balance in order.
Because of this, contact centers are turning to workforce management (WFM) scheduling software to provide them with ways to meet the flexible shift demands of agents. Below are four of the more popular methods.
1) Automated shift swapping – This is a flexible work solution that has really caught on in some larger contact centers. Essentially if an agent can’t make a shift for whatever reason, they can swap the shift with another agent that has similar skills directly within the WFM software solution. Agent skills are defined in the software so there is no need to manually seek approval from a supervisor for the swap. It’s an easy process which even has checks and balances to ensure agents are meeting minimum and maximum requirements for hours worked.
2) Shift bidding – Every agent has a preferred time of day or schedule they would like to work. Some may do their best work in the morning, while others really see their productivity improve in the afternoon. Differences like this are reasons why shift bidding has become popular within many contact centers over the past few years. To start this process, a WFM analyst creates a set number of defined schedules they need agents to work throughout the week or month. The schedules are then loaded into the WFM software solution and agents can begin the bidding process. Typically, agents with seniority or your best performers get to bid first on schedules to align with their preferences. Once all agents have placed their bids, each schedule is automatically generated by the WFM software in just a few minutes and sent out to all relevant agents.
3) WFM mobile app – A common way for agents to learn about scheduling changes and shift opportunities is through a mobile workforce management app. Often created by or linked directly to their WFM software solution, an app is a great way to stay connected to agents while also promoting flexible contact center work hours. This technology enables agents to accept shift changes such as overtime and undertime directly from their phone from anywhere. A WFM app also lets an agent know instantly when their time off requests have been approved or denied. All of this and more is why leveraging a mobile app to communicate with agents makes sense for contact centers.
4) Enables split shifts – The final method worth mentioning is all about deconstructing the traditional 8-hour shift. While it may not be a great fit for all contact centers, implementing shorter shifts is one of the most impactful ways for creating a flexible working environment. This means utilizing a split shift approach with full-time agents. For example, a great way for a working parent to manage family responsibilities while still working their hours is through split shifts. They can drop their kids off in the morning, work their first shift, pick them up after school, and finish their workday in the evening. It’s also an approach that is ideal for remote agents who won’t have to worry about commuting to the office multiple times per day. Best of all, shift times are tracked automatically within WFM software so agents know exactly how many shift splits they need to take each week to meet their hours.
To summarize, flexible work hours within a contact center are enabled by WFM scheduling software because the technology removes the confusion around keeping track of unconventional agents. Agents can automatically choose the shifts and work times that meet their lifestyle without needing to involve their supervisor or WFM analyst in every decision. The technology simply makes the lives of everyone involved easier.