This paper provides a simulation model for scheduling service task operations and distributing related human resources in dispersed work centres. The managerial concern for the minimisation of temporal overhead costs of task operations in the face of fluctuating, short-term service demands is examined under restrictions imposed by resource availability, work hour flexibility and task-backlog fulfilment. Scheduling strategies are developed directly from the constrained reduction of temporal overheads of appointment and release operations in distributed, non-interlinked work centres. To ensure the models structural validity, simulated task backlogs are adjusted to the actual backlog-reducing procedures in real applications. The model provides means for setting up balanced work schedules that can greatly lower temporal overheads of appointment and release operations if workers are selected in accordance with compatible time availability and task qualifications. Direct comparisons of worker productivities in the different centres can also be made, allowing managers to locate bottleneck points of service operations when productivity falls short of desired expectations. The robustness of the model is ensured by finding significant parameter domains through Monte Carlo simulations, centred on data points collected from real-time demand functions in actual service operations. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.