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Helping your workforce stay healthy - and you stay sane

Matt Hughes 20-Mar-2020 14:22:36

A time to reflect, connect, project and deflect

Closeup portrait of angry young woman, blowing steam coming out of ears, about to have nervous atomic breakdown, isolated black background. Negative human emotions facial expression feelings attitude


In these increasingly uncertain times, I’m sure you have taken time to consider how recent developments will impact you, your family and business. Especially since many of you will now be working remotely or from your home. This changes the dynamics of both your personal and professional life.

At U-WFM, we are always looking for new ways to support each of you. You may have already devised your own shift rotas and divided your personnel into groups to help stop the spread of infection but consider how you will proceed from here should this need for isolation continue. Wouldn’t having an efficient workforce management system make more sense than ever now with employees forced to work under such challenging circumstances? Keeping control and a clear overview is essential to your success.


You can connect with us for support and brainstorm specifics around your business. Either contact me directly or one of my team so that we may help each other whilst we get used to moving through these times of uncertainty. There is no pressure or obligation. Just an open door.

I would love to hear your thoughts and any challenges you are facing. Perhaps you’d like to be part of a group contact/brainstorming and support call or take part in a co-working session – we could accommodate this.


I have spoken to some of you individually and would like to extend my help. If you are open to the idea of a group activity, such as a round robin email or a google drive doc so that everyone can get involved, we can then pinpoint the main challenges and support each other. Otherwise, it can be kept at an individual level. Again, please let me have feedback on whether this is something that would support and help you.


In the meantime:

  • Let us know of 2 adjustments you made to ensure your business or call centre continues to run smoothly that you could you share with others in the same position
  • What could sabotage your business or call centre in the coming weeks?

Please let me know your thoughts on the above.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Contact the team at U-WFM



Wellness in the Workplace

Matt Hughes 05-Mar-2020 11:15:00

An organised workforce for improved well-being.

How does that work? Find out below.


This article is not suggesting contact centres should call up the masseurs and roll in the soapy tubs at work, but rather it invites them to shift their frame of knowledge a little to include the topic of well-being and personal wellness in their agenda.

Workforce Management Systems Can Help Improve Staff Well-being

We may not often see the terms “workforce management” and “well-being” in the same sentence. But if contact centre operators were to adopt the former to ensure the latter, it would be a sure-fire way of their staff being constantly on their A-game and feeling good about themselves.

U-WFM’s next generation Cloud Workforce Management can help contact centres plan a healthy year for both their employees and their business. Afterall, workforce management – a big part of Workforce Optimisation - is just another way of referring to the planning of staff (resources) at a more effective level. Since staff are the most important resource at a contact centre, operators would want to make sure they are motivated, happy and healthy.


Shocking Statistics

Mental health issues in the workplace are on the rise and UK employees are working some of the longest hours in the world and yet our productivity lags behind many other countries[1].

1 in 6.8 people are experiencing mental health

problems in the workplace (14.7%). [2]

This would suggest that more contact centres should be trying to strike a healthy work-life balance as this sector can be very unpredictable and erratic if not analysed with consistency and reliable data.

"That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing," says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster.

In terms of looking after staff, the benefits of managing a workforce well include:

  • reduced stress
  • gained sense of control
  • improved happiness levels

instead of a stressed-out workforce, which often manifests itself in

  • high absenteeism
  • low productivity and
  • poor customer service.

This is costing UK bosses billions of pounds each year in lost revenue due to compromised productivity. The effects can be catastrophic for both the health of the team and the health of the business.

Evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days

in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.[3]


Promoting Well-being at Work

Studies have proven that being organised can reduce stress. We are looking after our well-being in our personal time, so why should it be any different at work? In brief, if the workforce is optimised as a resource, the employees benefit as well:

  1. They know what they are doing
  2. They do not suffer from undesirable surprises (such as sudden changes in shifts or unplanned/increased/decreased workloads)
  3. They feel like they have everything covered – that goes for the boss too!

Combining the world of technology and telephony with the soothing idealisms of wellness and personal well-being may be one of the most powerful tactics in a company’s arsenal of successful business strategies.


How Can Workforce Management Help Your Staff’s Health?

The outputs of WFM would ensure that agents have schedules that give them a work-life balance, with no shifts they dread because they are going to be extremely busy or bored. Balancing the workload throughout the week is important to avoid an unpleasant number or sequence of shifts to work. If agents are bored or over worked, this will ultimately impact on sickness and absenteeism figures.

workforce management

WFM makes for a more efficient organisation, use of resources and time management. When people are more at ease and know what is going on, know that everything is in hand and planned they are more relaxed and able to focus on their work, on the customer.


Bottom Line

Staff are more motivated and productive. Essentially, when the endorphins go up so do your profits!

More and more companies are getting their company’s health checked and not just their books. Instead of investing in office chair yoga training or meditation rooms, why not start with something that everyone will feel comfortable with and that is beneficial holistically, i.e. to the business and the people in it? WFM will make staff feel valued instead of overloaded, anxious, frustrated and undervalued. This then impacts on the bottom line and the company’s reputation.

Schedule a FREE Demo

We’d like to invite you to try this out for yourself with our FREE demo offer, where you will see that it’s possible for you to have a successful business AND for you and your employees to have a life – a healthy and happy one at that.



[1] A study by the TUC

[2] Mental Health Foundation

[3] ONS: Sickness Absence on the Labour Market

Take Our Workforce Management System for A Test Drive

Tim Wharfe 03-Feb-2020 09:26:27

Having an effective WFM system in your contact centre can make all the difference to your bottom line and your workforce attendance. Don't just take our word for it, try a FREE DEMO and see for yourself.


Future-oriented u-wfm solutions for an easier life

Charismatic car salesmen make a lot of claims just to get you to buy a car, when really it's all about getting their commission. We make a lot of claims too (see below), the difference is, we can back them up with hard data and case studies - plus we don't work on commission, our affordable system works off a true SaaS, pay-as-you-use model.

Schedule a FREE Demo

But I'm doing alright with my spreadsheets

You may be happy in your comfort zone of spreadsheets, but how much of your time are these antiquated systems eating up?

A wfm system is far more efficient than spreadsheets

Are you spending hours updating spreadsheets? Do you think you don't have time to learn a new system or train your staff? Maybe you can't see the signs that your contact centre is not as efficient as it could be. Think about growth instead. Can your current system cope if you were to expand? Is your current system preventing you from expanding? U-WFM solutions help to lift the load and give you so many benefits in return:

Benefits of successful Workforce Management:

  • Improved customer service levels without higher operating costs 
  • Increased revenues through decreased abandonment and lower hold times
  • Improve productivity and morale of employees 
  • Increased consistency and quality of customer service
  • More time for what’s really important

GET MY FREE DEMOAn MOT for your contact centre

Even though you may feel your business is on the right track, you may not be seeing the trends or real figures because you are too busy working  IN your business instead of ON your business. Installing a WFM system is like a preventative measure for tackling absenteeism, and other counterproductive trends that may be eating away at your bottom line. Unlike machinery, people are individuals and sometimes it can be difficult to manage them, especially for small businesses. Our  wfm system makes it easier for contact centres to evaluate  the performance of each individual employee using powerful forecasting, scheduling and monitoring through real-time adherence.

Features of our U-WFM suite:

  • Highly Intuitive and Easy to Use Solution – reducing customer investment in continuous knowledge transfer, initial training and consultancy
  • Fast, Accurate Forecasting – reclaim hours every day with our multi-skill forecasting tool, which will have you creating, editing and finalising demand for your contact centre in no time
  • Optimised Scheduling – schedule your agents, based on agent rules and skills, to be in the right place to deliver the best service level for your customers
  • Training – unlike competitors, our standard “most popular” option delivers in-person training and a welcome workshop at no additional cost. The focus being on customers’ success
  • 100% Cloud-based Platform – customers only pay for what they use on a SaaS basis and software is always up-to-date with no ongoing upgrade support or maintenance costs

U-WFM's suite is a cloud-based solution that takes automated workforce management to a whole new level as your data is safely stored in the cloud. This means you can monitor your contact centre's performance from anywhere, at any time. Our easy-to-use, innovative solution suite is designed and built by a UK team of passionate Workforce Management professionals – just like so many great cars! Take it for a FREE spin and see the benefits for yourself!



American Logistics Firmly in the Driving Seat with U-WFM Cloud-based Platform

Matt Hughes 20-Jan-2020 11:58:26


London, 20 January 2020: U-WFM is pleased to announce an exciting collaboration with transportation company American Logistics – another perfect match made on the Twilio developer platform for communications.

U-WFM provides American Logistics with the next generation Cloud Workforce Management for Contact Centres that focuses on driving improved outcomes leveraging their most important and valuable asset: employees.

American Logisticssignature tagline: “Powered by Tech, Driven by People,” beautifully encapsulates the value proposition of both companies. The US-based transportation company embraces innovative technology, harnessing its benefits to make the journey for end customers as efficient and easy to access as possible. It’s imperative that American Logistics’ state-of-the-art operation centres’ personnel are constantly supplied with accurate and timely information.

This is where U-WFM comes in; U-WFM’s cloud workforce management platform helps American Logistics ensure optimal coverage on the phones to respond to customer requests, and timely service to ensure reliable and professional transportation.

We conducted an extensive search for a software platform to support our contact centre scheduling and call performance measures,” said Michael McAlpin, Chief Technology Officer for American Logistics. “U-WFM not only solved these needs but has empowered our agents with the ability to see and manage their schedules. We have seen great business value gained through efficiencies as well as the ability to measure and manage our contact centre performance and call metrics.” 

Offices at American Logistics

U-WFM’s CEO Matthew Hughes welcomes the challenge of working with such a fast-paced company that continues to grow and deliver a high-quality service. “I’d like to thank American Logistics for the faith they have placed in us and look forward to a rewarding collaboration.”


Click here to read full press release...


Was Your Contact Centre a Juggling Act last Christmas?

Matt Hughes 08-Jan-2020 11:19:53


Had enough of Christmas? Well here’s one last gift for you that is sure to make your phones jingle with joy.Contact centres need seasonal workforce management

The Christmas rush

Did your contact centre face a crazy peak in demand in the run up to Christmas? I hope you were prepared. If not, instead of honing those juggling skills, how about using strategic planning to avoid the crush this year and take away the circus act. Prepare for the peak season with the help of a workforce management system that will help you optimally structure your staffing.

How seasonal workforce planning can help

A WFM system can help you with seasonal workforce planning through Forecasting, Scheduling and Real-Time monitoring.  With improved resource planning, you would know for sure if it is a good idea to hire more staff over the festive period. The investment could prove very profitable to you in the long term. Customers will get a better service because your staff will provide a better service as they are not overstretched.

Benefits of being organised

Many of us bemoan how early Christmas appears in the shops with all the tinsel and yule logs but planning ahead in business can never come too early. It is an opportunity for growth and improved corporate image. And if you are currently experiencing a “lull” in January, why not put that time to good use and explore the advantages of a workforce management system.

U-WFM for seasonal workforce planning

Being organised made simple

Excellent organisation is the basis of a company's success. It is what allows each company to deliver value to its customers every day. Because you are so busy with the day-to-day running of your company, the actual “organisation” of it ends up being managed mainly through “common sense”. Rather risky.

An optimally organised company ensures that all its resources (people, materials, tools) are coordinated with each other (processes) in order to direct their results (outputs) towards the company's objectives.

To achieve this requires the following factors for success:

  • the correct sizing of resources (number of personnel, equipment, etc.);
  • coordination between resources;
  • process management;
  • standardisation of all flows (information, people);
  • workload management;
  • seasonal workforce planning;
  • performance control (measurement, incentive, feedback);
  • communication and reporting systems;
  • continuous improvement processes

All these factors need to be continuously monitored and reviewed as a business is a forever evolving entity. Do you have time for this? U-WFM does.

How U-WFM can help you

A cloud-based Workforce Management solution from U-WFM will support the dynamics of your company, making sure demand is met at peak times and helping you plan your workforce for other seasonal shifts – after all at U-WFM, our customers, like yours, are not just for Christmas!

U-WFM solutions will help you help your customers in the right way, at the right time and for the right price, responding to requests at the lowest possible cost and in the shortest possible time.

Being organised is therefore at the heart of your company’s service. Don’t leave it to chance. Give yourself an early Christmas treat for 2020 and get organised.

For more information and to try our cloud-based workforce management system for yourself, please contact us at:

Tel: +44 (0)207 043 4178 - Email:







Duka selects U-WFM’s Cloud Workforce Management

Matt Hughes 17-Oct-2019 13:34:56


London, 17th October 2019:  U-WFM is delighted to announce Duka has selected its Workforce Management in the Cloud for its contact centre in Hinnerup, Denmark.


Duka Contact Centre


Duka is an innovative Danish company with ambitions to make a big difference to society. Duka’s goal is to make computers and the internet accessible to everyone regardless of age, thereby increasing communication with family and friends and providing access to information and services that are otherwise out of reach.


Designed as an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform, U-WFM will support Duka’s fast-growing operations with the proven benefits of automated forecasting and scheduling for its entire contact centre workforce. 


Mikkel Degn, Head of customer service at Duka says, “U-WFM’s solution is a great fit with our agile and innovative approach.  Our personalised IT support is being really well received, and our contact centre needs a workforce management solution that is not only cutting edge but can accommodate our business growth.  U-WFM’s comprehensive, yet flexible workforce management functionality, speed of implementation and future-proofed cloud technology, will help us to deliver the market-leading service levels that our customers have come to expect.”


U-WFM’s CEO Matthew Hughes says, “There is a lot of synergy between U-WFM and Duka and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.  It’s great to have the opportunity to work with Duka to maintain their market dominance and look forward to supporting Mikkel and the team during this exciting time in their development.”


Click here to read full press release...



Agent Adherence, Even Easier !!

Tim Wharfe 01-Oct-2019 16:28:56

Adherence History v1-1

Here at U-WFM we continuously strive to make every part of our application as easy-to-use as possible. So we've done it again! We've taken one of our most popular screens and made it even simpler to use. Multi select approval and powerful filtering, to name just two of the new features.


“Multi selecting out of adherence events is brilliant and a feature I hadn't thought of but makes life so much easier.”  Josh Kirkbride, Resource Planner at Simply Business



Real-Time Adherence...To authorise or not to authorise?

Tim Wharfe 29-Aug-2019 10:30:25


What is Real-Time Adherence (RTA)?

Put simply, RTA is the constant and automated comparison between what an agent is scheduled to do and what they actually do.  The result of this is a percentage score.

RTA - To authorise or not to authoriseRTA makes visible if the agent went for lunch, breaks, meetings or any other activity at the time they were supposed to. 

If they don’t then the time outside of the scheduled time is counted as OOA (Out of Adherence).

E.g. Agent A gets a score of 93%. So, 7% of Agent A’s scheduled time was not adhered to (OOA).


Tolerance in RTA

Most Workforce Management solutions will allow a ‘tolerance’ for specified activities that have been scheduled.  For example, setting a 2-minute tolerance will not count the agent as being non-adherent for 2 minutes on either side of a scheduled activity.

Whereas this can sound like a good thing to do from the agent’s perspective, for a Workforce Management professional, it’s covering up the fact that the agent did not adhere to their schedule during specific times.


Authorisation in RTA

Within most RTA solutions, it is also possible to authorise instances of OOA.  Any time that that has been authorised will be added to the calculation and therefore will boost the score of the agent.

In some cases this can be justified.  What if an agent was scheduled for a meeting to start at 11:00 but the agent’s manager doesn’t collect the agent until 11:10?  Authorising the 10 minutes before, and therefore the 10 minutes at the end seems like the right thing to do.


Problem & Solution

Tolerances and authorisation cause problems for Workforce Management professionals.  The reason is this – it’s a lie.

By introducing tolerances and authorisation it makes possible for the contact centre to appear to have performed better than it actually did.

The solution to this is to make available 3 different calculations for users to view depending on their role in the contact centre.


In U-WFM, we offer 3 adherence calculations:


Straight – Did the agent adhere or not?  No tolerance or authorisation time is included.  This would typically be viewed by Workforce Management Professionals and possibly upper management.

Tolerance – Includes any tolerance allowances, but no authorised time.  Viewed by various levels of management.

Score – Includes any tolerances and authorised time.  Viewed by agents and the direct manager of the agents.


In the below example, the agent has a straight score of 7.56%, including tolerances 9.24% and when any authorisations are added, 89.92%.  With this example it's easy to see that the agent had an activity for a large portion of their day which has been authorised. 


Adherence Calculations


This can be cross referenced with a historical adherence view.  Below we can see that a period of time (in green) between 07:00-08:37 has been authorised.


Adherence History


Utilising these 3 calculations means that it’s possible for users of U-WFM to view information that is relevant to them, regardless of what their role is within the business.


RTA remains an essential contact centre reporting tool, if not sometimes underrated.  In a sea of contact centre metrics RTA is one of the few that agents can have a direct impact on – and also provides Workforce Management professionals on-demand feedback on performance trends, potential problems and future operational goals.

In short, get it right and it can have a significant impact to your contact centre performance.


To speak to us about RTA or any other aspect of Workforce Management, please click here to contact us and/or schedule a demo...



Simply Business Contact Centre to benefit from U-WFM’s Cloud Workforce Management

Matt Hughes 27-Jun-2019 07:03:21


London, 27th June 2019:  U-WFM has been selected by Simply Business to provide Workforce Management in the Cloud services for its Contact Centre in Northampton.


Simply Business  & U-WFM Partnership


With over 580,000 customers, Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers. Making it simple for small businesses, landlords and the self-employed to create tailored insurance policies, the fintech company has offices in London, Northampton, and a growing Boston office in the US.


Technology is a vital part of Simply Business’s success. Supported by full-service in-house data capabilities which optimise efficiency and streamline customers’ online experience, yet Simply Business recognises that some customers prefer to speak to someone over the phone regarding their insurance. That’s where over 200 skilled consultants based in Northampton come in.


U-WFM’s flexible workforce management functionality will support Simply Business by providing automated task forecasting and scheduling for its entire Contact Centre workforce. The solution is scalable to meet the increasing volume of policies and subsequent contact into the company and deliver the optimal customer experience.


Daniel Cotton, Head of Operational Innovation at Simply Business says, “Our partnership with U-WFM is symbolic of our ambition to create one of the UK’s most progressive Contact Centres. We believe our customers of small business owners deserve the best possible insurance experience online and through the Contact Centre – so anything which enables a simpler process, including handling customer interactions even more efficiently, is to be welcomed. Crucially, our consultants will benefit too from the added flexibility U-WFM provide to our Operations – at an exciting time as we experiment our way to turning perceptions of what its like to work in a call centre on its head.”


U-WFM’s CEO Matthew Hughes says, “As passionate technology companies, there is a lot of synergy between U-WFM and Simply Business. One of the many advantages of   U-WFM is that it can quickly scale up so it’s great to partner with Simply Business during a sustained period of record growth.”


Click here to read full press release...



Is Erlang Dead in the Omnichannel World?

Karl Burgdorf 25-Jun-2019 16:46:04


For outsourcers or contact centres with highly skilled agents or relatively low volume queues in a single campaign, Erlang can prove particularly problematic when it comes to FTE stacking errors looking at combined view requirements. 

Put simply, forecasting and scheduling lets you down, costing substantially more than it needs to and erodes what is an already tight margin in low volume or outsourced scenarios.

The Agents are Here

The issue arises when the Erlang requirements for each individual queue are calculated and then added together, resulting in an overestimation of how many agents are needed to service all the queues because each queue’s requirements are rounded up to the nearest whole agent. So on 10 queues you could be up to 9 heads over. On a high volume queue needing 100+ agents an extra body doesn’t impact, but on a low volume queue it can significantly hurt the margin. It gets worse as we know. Typically in low volume queues, they can be identified as mission critical, needing higher skilled agents (higher per agent cost = higher margin erosion) and are less elastic on service levels - making this factor difficult to mitigate by playing the service level game.


Further, whilst Erlang does a good job of modelling queuing voice or chat media for a single queue in isolation, the reality is that single-skill and single channel contact centres are a distant memory.  In multi-skill campaigns utilising multi-channels the modelling errors this introduces can quickly compound (or stack) to make FTE forecasting this way ineffective, the campaign inefficient and thus the business uneconomic. This issue is especially apparent when viewing the combined view of many low volume queues, as often seen with outsourcers. Where for instance a single campaign for a handful of outsourced customers, each with a small number of low volume queues, ends up being a substantial volume of calls among one or two dozen queues. Experience says this campaign may only require 50 FTEs at most, but the stacking errors can result in an FTE requirement prediction of several hundred. It has been seen and of course is obviously wrong and treated as such. What if though the requirement prediction was 75? It’s enough over to kill the campaign margin and business justification stone dead but low enough to drag you into a poor decision. That’s even before we get in to how good the spend on forecasting and scheduling was.


The problem is of course how to account for partial agent utilisation between different queues.  U-WFM recognise this problem and attacks it on two clear fronts: 


In the forecasting phase where higher level modelling is used, U-WFM can tell you what your maximum and minimum FTE requirements will be for each queue, as well as any combination. So as an outsourcer you can quickly find the range of agent requirements for a set of queues in only a few clicks.  The minimum is found quite easily using the assumption that all agents have all skills. The maximum is not quite the opposite. Our algorithm uses a few rules to come up with a combined value depending on agent skills and queue settings, based on U-WFM’s feedback, experience and skills in the field. This is obviously of limited usability but enables you to see the bare range requirements and whilst there still is some stacking error, it’s not as dramatic as other WFM applications.


In the scheduling phase our proprietary algorithm directly addresses the issues and models agents between different queues and distributes allocated time based on skillset and queue demand in the right way.  Our smart solution utilises a representation of fractional agents.  This allows the necessary granularity and clarity such that the combination of agent FTE will always add up to the actual number of agents needed, with negligible stacking error.  Essential for you as a business and the benefits do not stop there. Our solution can therefore also be used with confidence to divide up costs between outsourced customers in the same campaign, or provide a better understanding of under or over-utilisation of skills and/or skillsets and thus where to focus agent training.  A real win-win.


In summary, U-WFM provides the smart solution by keeping margins relevant and enabling you to control your business better in the omnichannel world across all volumes.



To speak to us about Erlang or any other aspect of Workforce Management, please click here to contact us and/or schedule a demo...