Service-oriented businesses were hit especially hard when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Being forced to cease operations at a moment’s notice, only to try to gather enough team members to slowly re-open over the following months, it was, and still is, incredibly difficult to hire and retain quality staff.
Predicting future workload was challenging before the pandemic. However, from its peak until today, it has been and still is, at times, impossible to have a good handle on upcoming demand without utilizing any advanced tools.
One of the tools that truly can make a difference is AI-powered workload prediction and workforce scheduling software. A well-developed solution employing a proprietary algorithm that not only takes universal factors into consideration, but also a business’ individual parameters, as well as external factors, can achieve astounding results. Today’s technology is so far advanced that, if fine-tuned by skilled data scientists, it can seemingly predict the future…or at least future demand for a service business.
Having an accurate understanding of what upcoming workload will look like for your business will not only help you sleep better at night, but it is also the first step in improving your team’s productivity and will help every employee reach their full potential. Too often managers and business owners overlook the impact of over- or underworked employees on company morale, as well as individual mental health. A constantly overworked team member will eventually reach a point of chronic exhaustion, which will prevent them not only from being at the top of their game, but also from providing effective customer service. And being bored and underworked can have a similar effect. While the type of exhaustion will be different, continuously being insufficiently challenged can lead to feeling drained and depleted in their own right. In addition, an underworked team member will lose focus, as they seek out other distractions (for example on their smart phone) while endlessly waiting for something meaningful to do.
Investing in AI-powered workforce management tools that accurately forecast upcoming demand will help your team members to be suitably challenged. If you know what upcoming workload will look like, you can assign staff schedules that are balanced and foster a harmonious work environment. And employees who are appropriately challenged will not only be more productive, but also more motivated.
What’s more, many of these software programs can automatically recommend schedules for your team members that match each employee’s skill set and scheduling preferences. So managers can save time by simply reviewing the proposed schedules, instead of having to devise them on their own. The software will also let managers manually override automated schedules to ensure that the ultimate control stays with the human, and not the machine. However, the option to lean heavily on algorithms that were developed for your specific company and that work with your proprietary business data certainly allows for a level of relaxation, as there is no more need for “guesstimates” of what tomorrow’s demand will look like.
Author: Daniela Kister
Daniela is responsible for marketing and design at Weave Workforce, a workforce optimization company providing AI-based forecasting and scheduling to match the fluctuating demand of service-oriented businesses. Having worked in automotive, consumer goods, education, healthcare, and not-for-profit management on three different continents, Daniela is passionate about time management and its benefits on business revenue and work-life balance.