Tuesday, September 16, 2014

2310 Robo-Scheduler

Sometimes I'm of the opinion computers are a scourge on humanity. That's, of course, why I wrote this commentary on a computer, emailed it to the office, and posted it on the internet while someone else used programs to edit it and insert it on the air.

Still. A recent story about robo-scheduling hits the point. Starbucks, to their credit, has realized that having a computer automatically do employee scheduling may need some tweaking. 

Because when the computer program tries to optimize employee coverage with data-determined busy and slow times, a lot of baristas end up holding the bag. Human schedulers have more empathy.

From an employer's point of view, especially one who serves at the whim of impersonal bottom line driven stockholders, such robo-scheduling makes sense. Employee downtime is a waste of money. 

But you can't have folks being sent home and called back every 15 minutes either. Employees have lives. Maybe they have children's schedules to attend to. Educating your children helps the economy too. Then there are the employees themselves. Perhaps they're taking night classes to improve their worth to your organization. 

Irregular hours suck. They suck even worse than low wages because you can't make any plan to supplement those low wages because you can't get another job to fill in with your irregular hours.

A solution's probably right around the corner. I'm guessing some uncaring corporate type will soon enlist Silicon Valley to create a new program altogether. A computer will solve a computer-created problem with a new personal employee hour-management app. 

An employee could get this smartphone app and then land 4 low-paying robo-scheduled jobs. The app would synch up with the various company's robo-schedulers and work it all out in the time it takes to tweet, "Oh the humanity."


America, ya gotta love it.

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