Author: Azeem Qureshi, Sales and Marketing Manager, System Limited
Whether, you are using spreadsheets and automated workforce management system, the concept of establishing Work Rules will remain same while planning to publish schedule.
The Work Rules database and module contains four tabs: Shifts, Shift Activities, Work Patterns, and Assignment Rules.
- Shifts are work periods of definite length. Each shift type has a length and a start time or range of start times and can have linked shift activities such as breaks and meals
- Shift Activities are periods when agents are scheduled for non-phone activities such as breaks, meals, training, and so forth and are not available to answer calls.
- Work Patterns combine shift types and their linked Shift Activities with days of the week, consistent start times, and the minimum and maximum consecutive days the shift types can be scheduled. These patterns are then assigned to employees in the Employees database and module.
- Assignment Rules allow you to create and edit assignment rules ensure fairness or help manage shift assignments that span multiple weeks.
- Rotations are created in the Assignment Rules Database and are assigned to employees separately. (Constraints, Agents needs and Preferences)
Shifts, Shift Activities, work patterns, and assignment rules can only be modified in the database which is separately created.
Concept of establishing Work Rules:
I have presented a workflow slide on above cover page, provides a quick overview of all the steps needed to create a complete work pattern that can be assigned to an employee and scheduled.
You will first create the Shift Activities, which will then be assigned to shifts. The combined shifts and shift activities will then be linked into work patterns. Finally, you can create complex fairness and shift assignment rules that will be linked to agents and groups of agents in the Employee database and module.
Key Points: In the work rules database and module - Shifts as well as shift activities are of a "type".
Activities Type: Break, Lunch, Deferred, Email, Immediate, Late, Lunch, Medical, None, Research, Training (You may create other break activities as well)
The types available to be selected for shifts must have been set as "Shift-Primary Event." May wish to go to the Activity Database and Module and sort on the Shift column and note the checks in "Blended, Deferred, Immediate" - Their site may have checked others.
When creating a shift or shift activities, the Type is selected from those defined in the activity database and module as "Use in Shift Primary Activity. For non-multi-contact, the two choices are "immediate" and "none". Multi-contact add "Deferred" and "Blended".
Shift Events can not of the same "Activity" setting as the Shifts themselves. That is, you cannot put an immediate shift activity on an immediate shift. In multi-contact, you would be able to build an email shift (deferred), for example, with a shift activity of phone time (immediate). In addition to adding deferred and blended, users can define their own primary shift activities.
Shift and Shift Activities and Work Patterns and Shifts:
The shift is a total of 8 hours long. It contains two 15 minute breaks and a half hour lunch.
Here is an example of how a set of shifts may be used to create a "work pattern". A work-pattern is a (usually) weekly set of shifts that will be assigned to an agent. Key point: only work patterns are assigned, not individual shifts.
What if you wanted an agent to only work a single day, say Monday?
Answer: create a work pattern that only contain single shift, for Monday.
We will see how to use these simple building blocks to create any type of work rules your agents and company need.
The "Assignment Rule" shows how you may further refine your shifts and work patterns to meet the needs of your company and agents.
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