Thursday, September 28, 2023

What staffing for the big game tells us about the future of work

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Daniel Altman is chief economist at Instagram work.

Organizing a major sporting event, concert or show is always a huge undertaking wherever it takes place. While venues can usually predict attendance well in advance, there are still challenges. Imagine 60,000 people congregating in a space the size of a few city blocks for three or four hours of entertainment, then dispersing again. The work required to manage this flow of attendees and their many needs is ongoing. For cities like Phoenix, lucky enough to host the biggest night of football, the need for labor will be even greater. It requires flexibility, and the solutions venues come up with to address can actually help many industries understand the future of the job market.

Assembling the team gets complicated

A top-notch arena can permanently employ hundreds of people, but on the day of an event it needs many more. This can be difficult to plan as dates for events such as sporting events or concerts change every year – they can even change at the last minute. With that kind of unpredictability, the same employees may not be able to show up on different days or at different times. Plus, not every event sells out right away, so venues may not know how many employees are needed until a day or two in advance. So locations need a large number of employees with different preferences.

However, relying on part-timers hired for months at a time can carry risks. There may be too many or too few on any given day, and venue management may not be able to fine-tune their payroll for each event. So it comes as no surprise that these event organizers are turning to flexible workforces to overcome these challenges. Booking workers for different roles on a shift basis, with the ability to add or cancel shifts as needed, can give site operators the options they need.

Every industry can benefit from flexible work

Event venues — with their quirky schedules, diverse staffing needs, and unpredictable attendance numbers — may have seemed like the prime use case for flexible work. But consider a large manufacturer, which often has weekly quotas, smaller skills and 24/7 operations. Hiring flexible workers could even help such a company undergo a more significant transformation of its payroll.

For example, a large manufacturer may already employ flexible workers to handle peak demand, much like a stadium on a match day. It can have a roster of these workers who have received on-site training and can easily be shifted into shifts when needed, or even deploy these workers for long-term assignments during the peak season. However, the pandemic has created additional challenges for the manufacturer’s personnel processes. Employees are looking for other ways to make ends meet, struggle to get childcare or reevaluate their work-life balance as their spouses and friends transition to remote work. These people still want to work, but they also want more control over their schedules.

So the company’s executives may decide that flexible personal work is no longer just for filling shifts on the margins. Now it is part of the main payroll strategy. While scheduling may get a little more complicated, employees are happier because they have more autonomy. Meanwhile, productivity – and especially turnover – can be maintained, because this flexibility ensures that quotas are still met. Flexible work environments can even increase employee productivity.

Bringing flexible work from theory to practice

If you’re interested in making flexible work a part of your core payroll, you’ll first want to bring in a selection of potential employees for training. Choose which employees to add to your roster based on how they handle training. This way you ensure that all employees, flexible or not, have the right skills you need.

Your schedule will have more employees than you need full time, but since not all of them will be working 40 hours a week, the real value shows up when someone wants time off. An employee can simply decide not to take up a shift, after which someone else from the roster can take his place.

For the magic to happen, all you need to do is minimize the churn. The good news is that by offering a flexible schedule you have already made the job more attractive than another job with the same pay. In addition, because your workforce is self-selecting, the employees best suited to the job are likely to work the most shifts.

In the coming decades, flexible work may become just as important in goods-producing industries as it is in the service sector. It can become a center of corporate payroll rather than a just-in-time adjustment. This gives both companies and employees something to cheer for, even outside the arena. Business Council is the premier growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?


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