Friday, March 17, 2006

swings and roundabouts - part 1

that's the term a colleague used to describe the movement of staff at work... we were talking about the situation in which i found myself just over a week ago. shortly before christmas, a few of us in our usual business line (BSL1) were approached with an opportunity for "development" - a temporary deployment, to a different business line (BSL2), to begin after the new year. it was meant to last 3 months.

while working in BSL2, those of us from BSL1 noticed how busy BSL1 seemed to be. in order to not breach a client service standard, a practice known as "callbacks" is employed whenever the waiting time for clients ringing in looks likely to reach the 10 minute mark. this practice involves answering the call for the sole purpose of arranging a return call at a later time - the theory being that this gets through a large number of calls fairly quickly, thus reducing the overall queue wait time. many dislike this practice, as it is typically seen as a bureaucratic means to be able to say that the service standard was not breached (since the call - though not necessarily the question - was answered within 10 minutes). usually callbacks only happen during our peak season. this was not peak season, yet callsbacks were occurring on a daily basis, and multiple times each day. those of us on deployment were glad to not be part of that action.

then there were rumours that our deployment would be extended for another few months, because BSL1 had to cut staff numbers (budgetary constraints) and were busy deploying staff elsewhere. nobody could quite fathom how this would help with the call load situation. then we (the deployed staff), along with other normal BSL2 staff, started being told to assist BSL1 by taking some of BSL1's calls. this became a daily routine - sometimes for a few hours, sometimes for the whole day. it made absolutely no sense - take someone from BSL1, move them over to BSL2, but still have them effectively work for BSL1. the cynics will say this too is a budgetary thing... since our time is being paid for out of BSL2's funds.

then came the official announcement that yes, our stay would be extended.

before the morning was over, this changed. now, instead of staying on another 3 months, we would be going back to BSL1 three weeks ahead of schedule! and so, as quickly and unexpectedly as it all started, it has now ended. i've been back for 1 week, and i can't say it feels good to be home.

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