Managing Last Minute PTO Requests
As we enter the home stretch of summer, managing PTO requests is going to become even more difficult than normal. It’s mid-August and agents that haven’t taken a vacation yet are soon going to realize that they’re running out of sunny weather to enjoy. Managers need to prepare themselves for an onslaught of PTO requests in these coming weeks, especially around Labor Day. So, how can managers avoid the call center scheduling nightmare that’s just around the corner? Here are a few PTO scheduling tips.
Operate on a first come, first serve basis. In order to avoid the mad dash at the end of the summer, give agents time off as they ask for it. If someone requests Labor Day week off in March, then they are pretty much guaranteed that week off. However, if someone requests that same week off in August, and there are already several agents taking that week off, then they’re out of luck. Like the old saying goes, “if you snooze, you lose,” and there’s no reason that can’t apply in the call center.
Set deadlines. Managers can also set a deadline for submitting vacation requests. Depending on the company, that deadline can be anywhere from a month to a year in advance. The extra time should give managers a chance to see how many agents the call center will be losing during a week. If there are quite a bit of agents taking time off in a certain week, managers will have more than enough time to arrange per diem workers for that period.
Prepare for absences. When people go on vacation, there’s usually one person who ends up picking up all the slack. In a group, one or two people are typically more motivated than the rest, which ultimately ends with them doing more work than everyone else when pressure sets in. In order to avoid this when an agent goes on vacation, a manager can assign the agent’s work to several different people. For instance, one person handles Web chats while another takes phone calls. This prevents one agent from having to do another’s work.
Edited by Maurice Nagle