While every manager aims to avoid scheduling overtime for their teams, unfortunately, sometimes there is no way around it. If you are using a reliable workforce management and scheduling software, your overtime requirements should not be due to an unanticipated increase in demand – or, if so, only minimally. However, unplanned occurrences such as sick leaves or inability to hire skilled team members at a moment’s notice due to labor shortages can cause a sudden need for overtime. How you communicate, limit, and schedule these necessary overtime hours can make the difference between being resented and appreciated by your team.
Overtime Should Not be Caused by an Unforeseen Increase in Demand
But let’s back up and get the first premise out of the way because I know some of you are still scratching your head about it: again, in this day and age, you really shouldn’t face an overtime requirement due to a sudden peak in demand. However, we do know that too many business owners and managers still struggle to align their employee schedules with their changing daily workloads, and are in amazement how some competitors seem to be adequately staffed at all times.
So where does this discrepancy come from? How can some managers seem to see into the future? Well, it’s not that the managers can predict the future, but their software can! Given the tremendous advancements in technology, and particularly the use of applied artificial intelligence, today’s workforce management software can, indeed, “see” into the future. How it works is that the more advanced versions of workforce management software gather internal and external data, and utilize artificial intelligence to accurately predict future demand – completely customized based on your individual business needs. And given that the costs of this type of software are no longer prohibitive, there is really no good excuse why your overtime requirement would skyrocket due to sudden peaks in demand.
Okay, but How Do You Schedule “Justifiable” Overtime?
Now that we got that part cleared up, let’s look at what to do if a legitimate, unpredictable need for overtime arises. Or rather, let’s look at what to do before that need arises. If you are employing AI-powered workforce management and scheduling software, your algorithm will have certain likelihoods of employees calling in sick or resigning with minimal notice built in. However, if there is a sudden peak in either of those parameters, or if one of your suppliers delivers items late that you need to have on the shelf tomorrow morning, then that may cause those rare instances, where overtime is indeed necessary and truly unpredictable – even by AI.
Then, how do you go about preparing for and scheduling those instances? Well, hopefully, you are already using an AI-powered workforce management and scheduling software. Because the scheduling part is the other area for which AI can be a tremendously valuable tool. The highly developed scheduling software can distribute overtime evenly among those employees who want to work overtime, omit the ones that don’t, and ensure that you have the employees with the required skill sets scheduled at any given time. And if an instance requires some special consideration, either by skill set or number of team members, managers can always manually adjust the schedules generated by the software.
It’s Truly a Win-Win
If each team member’s work time is matched to their ability and availability, productivity will be high and your customers will feel well taken care of. And what’s more, by ensuring that everyone’s preferences are taken into consideration, your employees will feel valued and function as a harmonious team.
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.