Rouba Ibrahim (University College London)

Independent contractors or full-time employees? On staffing service systems with a blended workforce
Wednesday 5 April 2017 at 15.00, JCMB 5326

Abstract

The rise of the blended workforce, which is identified as one of the top workplace trends in 2017, is prompting firms to re-evaluate their staffing strategies. A blended workforce melds, as a deliberate business strategy, contingent workers, e.g., independent contractors or freelancers, with permanent employees. In this talk, we study optimal staffing decisions in service systems with a blended workforce, in the context of a queueing theoretic framework. We characterize how staffing decisions depend on three main factors: (i) the supply-side uncertainty of the flexible agent pool, (ii) operating costs in the system, and (iii) fluctuations in incoming customer demand, and show that it may or may not be cost-effective to staff a blended workforce, depending on the interplay between those factors.

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