Handling Scheduling errors: an easy guide for workforce managers

Whether you're understaffed or overstaffed, we've got you. These creative ideas will help!

A Dali-like illustration of melting clockfaces, representing WFM scheduling missteps

Every workforce manager has been there. Maybe the forecast was wrong, or maybe something unexpected happened. You're face to face with WFM scheduling errors now. The staffing numbers don’t match reality, the panic sets in.

And you'll have to break the bad news to your agents.

But wait…this is your chance to shine.

Instead of throwing your hands up in the air and cursing the scheduling gods, get creative with how you handle the issue. Whether you have more people on staff than you need or you’re desperate for a few more CX agents to lessen the pressure, there are ways to make this problem less awful.

Here are 6 tips to entice agents to take a break or volunteer to help out – whichever you need at the time.

When your scheduling errors mean you're overstaffed

  • Give an hour
    Are things a bit slow? Don’t let your agents stare blankly at their screens waiting for the next contact. Instead, you can offer an hour off. Whether it’s playing a game, reading a book, or stopping by a local museum for a quick tour, that break might be just what someone needs today.
  • Early leave
    The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and no tickets are coming into the queue. Who wants to go home? Look for volunteers who want a shorter day! Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of their contracted hours. But if they can make up that time on another day or don’t really need those hours, give them the freedom to choose.
  • Special project spotlight
    If time-off isn’t possible (or advisable) for your team, then switch to finding more valuable uses for an agent’s time. Ask them if there’s something job-related they’ve been curious about and want to research or a gap they see within current practices/documentation they’d like to start fixing. 
    This is the kind of thing where so many of our CX heroes found their true calling.

If your scheduling errors mean you're understaffed

  • Free lunch
    Sometimes the marketing team forgets to tell you about a campaign or there’s a nasty bug in the software. If you need more people and it’s going to be a rough day, why not sweeten the deal? Get a few more agents to come in and get a team lunch delivered if it’s within your budget. The morale boost will be super appreciated.
  • Priority time off
    If someone saves you today, return the favor later. Promise and follow through with priority time off approval the next time they make a request. You can even put together an email template just for these situations with defined parameters like how far in advance the request should be made so that it doesn’t burn you later.
  • Relaxed rules
    Maybe it’s a casual dress code, or perhaps the ability to take an extra break. You know your team best, what would really make their day simpler? Much like a free lunch, this would need to apply to the whole team. But it’ll make it easier to get volunteers to come in when you need them.

What tips do you have for resolving staffing miscalculations?
Let us know by sharing our article and tagging us with your own suggestions!

About Tymeshift:

We’re Tymeshift, an effortless WFM solution made exclusively for Zendesk to make workforce managers’ lives easier. Our workforce management tools include shift scheduling, forecasting and analytics. A perfectly intuitive Zendesk integration makes your CX agents’ lives easier. Learn all there is about us and our product on tymeshift.com