A standard assumption in workforce management is that the firm can dictate to workers when to show up to work. However, that assumption is challenged in modern business environments, such as those arising in the sharing economy, where workers enjoy various degrees of flexibility, including the right to decide when to work. We use queueing theory to inform decision-making in those novel service environments.
We derive staffing policies for queueing systems where the number of servers, i.e., the number of workers, is uncertain. We also study the special case of a blended workforce, where a part the workforce is made up of in-house permanent workers, whereas the other part is made up of contractors. The staffing policies that we obtain are useful to improve the management of novel service platforms, such as Uber or virtual call center platforms.