Bright Idea

Diverse shift options can benefit both WFM and your agents.

Are your shift options limited? If so, you may be missing a great opportunity to make your agents happy and improve your ability to staff to difficult scenarios.

Some of the most popular shift options involve working a compressed work week (4 days vs 5). The most common variation of this is the 4×10 week where agents  work four 10-hour days. Some other variations involve 3×12 1×4 and 2×12 2×8 work weeks. These shifts are so desirable because agents can reduce the number of times they have to commute, saving on gas and the stress of traffic. They are also provided an extra off day. These shifts can also benefit workforce management  because they offer increased staffing coverage on busy or short staffed days while avoiding overstaffing on slower or well-staffed days.

Perhaps you have staffing deficiencies in the morning and evening but a staffing overlap in the afternoon. Consider offering a split shift option to your agents. This will allow you to cover the morning and evening while avoiding overstaffing the afternoon. Many agents select this option to allow time to pick up children from school or day-care, take children to practice, run errands, cook dinner, and a variety of other reasons.

Are your weekends difficult to staff? Try offering fixed weekends worked to your agents with paired days off during the week. Many agents simply prefer to have 2-3 consecutive days off in a row regardless of where they are scheduled. This would allow you to provide more coverage on weekends, reducing the number of weekends other agents are required to work. The agents who select this option would have consecutive weekdays off, which can be a benefit to those who use child care. They
would have 2-3 fewer days to utilize child care, which is a tremendous cost savings for them!

When it comes to alternative shift options, the possibilities are endless. The key is finding out what your agents want and matching it with your workforce  management needs. When the two come together, everyone wins!

Note: This tip provided SWPP Member Jeff Bretana of Navy Federal Credit Union. He may be reached at