Manning Up: Managing Bandwidth to Handle Work Flow

Posted on Aug 30 2013 - 3:58pm by Gina Smith

Bandwidth

One of the most frustrating challenges facing businesses is manpower vs. workflow.  Most companies face ebbs and flows in workload, often finding themselves either overstaffed or understaffed. You certainly don’t want to pay employees to just “sit around” during slow times, but you also want stable, qualified, loyal employees to be present when work picks up. Temp agencies can be great in some situations. But, with positions which require a higher-level skill set or extensive training, temps may not be the most effective of efficient option. So, what does a company do?  Below are a few ideas to help manage your bandwidth to handle workflow:

Cross Train

Consider cross training your employees to perform multiple jobs.  Let’s say your company requires additional financial expertise and assistance during budget planning season. And, let’s pretend your budget planning season occurs during the fall, when your human resources department happens to be slow. Perhaps you can cross train some of your human resources employees to be able to spend two days a week working in accounting to help alleviate the strain. This helps prevent the scenario where some employees are sitting at their desks looking for work, while others are overloaded. Additionally, you won’t have to worry about hiring seasonal employees to help fill the gaps.

Consider Call Centers

Call centers are wonderful resources to help with brand care, service calls, making outbound calls and taking inbound inquiries.  Contracting the right call center is imperative because they are an extension of your business.  Call centers can alleviate the need to hire seasonal or temporary employees. The beauty of a call center is they train their employees to handle your business, and they take care of all of the logistics involved.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is in!  Companies are discovering outsourcing certain tasks and positions helps cut costs and can even enhance their operations!  Today, some of the most popular positions being outsourced are in the areas of human resources, marketing and advertising, information technology (IT), accounting, bookkeeping and payroll.There are several advantages to finding qualified companies and individuals to outsource certain duties:

  1. You only pay for the projects completed and/or hours used. For instance, let’s say you occasionally have company news you want formally announced, but not enough news to warrant hiring a full-time public relations professional.  Outsourcing your media efforts to a qualified company or individual on a per project basis can be quite an efficient use of time and money.
  2. No payroll taxes or benefits.Outsourcing help means you don’t have to worry about payroll taxes and benefits.  There are a lot of highly qualified individuals who can be paid and issued a 1099.  And, since they are only contractors, you do not have to provide any perks or benefits.
  3. You gain an objective perspective.Someone who does not work day in and day out within your company can bring objective insight to your organization.  They can tell you how an outsider perceives your product or service.  Sometimes they can even look at policies and procedures and make advantageous suggestions.  Don’t discount the perceptions of qualified outsiders, you could gain some valuable insight! 

As you can see, you have many options when it comes to dealing with the peaks and valleys of workflow.  While your knee jerk reaction to an increase in workload may be to hurry up and hire additional employees, it may not be the most practical. It is important to discuss with members of your management team which route(s) they feel will best serve the objectives of their departments and overall goals of your company.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Nurudin Jauhari

About the Author
Gina Smith

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.