off-peak business definition
Of or relating to a period of less than maximum use. For example, retailers typically reduce staffing during off-peak hours. An electric utility may price electricity lower during off-peak periods, when excess capacity is available. The lower rate influences some consumers to change their usage patterns at the same time it allows the utility to utilize its most efficient production facilities. See also variable pricing
Giant retailer Wal-Mart announced in early 2007 that the company planned to use labor optimization software to schedule employees according to the number of customers in its stores. At the time of the announcement, the firm was scheduling most of its workers in line with sales, rather than customer traffic. The new software would require the firm's workers to be more flexible (e.g., accept less predictable hours) regarding work during periods of peak and off-peak customer traffic. Employees might be sent home early during off-peak periods when customer traffic was low, or be “on call" to come to work during customer surges. The software could also identify employees who had worked enough hours to approach full-time status. Many of the firm's hourly employees were concerned about the new scheduling plan, which was likely to produce more days of work but fewer hours per day. In addition, some full-time employees who earned a higher wage and received benefits worried that they would be replaced with part-time workers. The scheduling software was likely to benefit customers and stockholders, but not the firm's employees.
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