Workforce Optimization Featured Article

Workforce Optimization Helps Restore Work-Life Balance

February 16, 2017

While there are a lot of stereotypes about young Americans (“Millennials”) today, not all of them are negative. Studies have found that Millennial Americans, who are entering the workforce in record numbers, value a work-life balance over the generations that came before them. While the Baby Boomers may have been glad to work 70-hour weeks to get ahead and stay ahead, the appeal of the “rat race” has waned for younger workers.

According to a recent study published by the American Sociological Review, 70 percent of American workers struggle with finding a work-life system that makes them content. People work too many hours, work too far away from home, struggle to find affordable childcare, and feel burned out from too much work and too little relaxation and vacation. Companies that can help their workers with a good work-life balance can reap the reward by having more dedicated, loyal employees who stay at their jobs longer. For companies interested in long-term success, therefore, it’s worthwhile to help your employees conform their jobs to their lives rather than the other way around.

Contact centers workers are often the hardest hit when it comes to poor work-life balance, according to a recent blog post by Paul Chance, Senior Product Marketing Manager for NICE. This is especially true in smaller contact center due to the unique nature of these smaller centers.

“Contact center employees at centers with smaller teams are expected to do more: They are constantly connected to their email and work communications, often expected to drop what they're doing and respond to management 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” wrote Chance. “Because retail and service operations serve growing global customer bases, employees are also often called on to work irregular hours.”

Obviously, high turnover rates in small contact centers aren’t helping the business, any more than irregular and overly long work hours are helping employees. Workforce optimization technology can be a solution to helping workers achieve better work-life balance.

“New forecasting technologies allow managers to predict high call traffic periods weeks, months or even years ahead of time,” wrote Chance. “These increasingly accurate calculations make it easy for contact center employees to arrange their schedules in advance, rather than struggle at the last minute to cancel plans, arrange transportation or find childcare. Since small contact centers may be more dependent on individual agents with specialized skills, forecasting adds additional value by ensuring coverage across all skillsets whenever the lines are open.”

Many workforce optimization solutions today are cloud-based, which means they can accommodate remote or home-based workers, which can help “give back” some work-life balance by eliminating commutes, for example, or allowing workers to “fill in” unexpectedly during call volume spikes. An updated workforce optimization solution can also help keep managers sane and in their jobs.

“When they spend less time on schedules and spreadsheets, they can spend more time improving the performance of their teams and maintaining their own work-life balance,” wrote Chance.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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