Sometimes lines just go dead and there is no productive use of an agent’s time. That is when books, magazines, and homework start to pop up. What is the risk of letting people get these minutes off? If used properly it can be a tool to manage mental fatigue.
There are always low activity moments and agents can be waiting a few minutes for a call.
Throw you can use the low activity for training, development, and refreshes you do need to be able to foresee them.
Call centers range from no, you can’t read to read whatever you want, passing through reading only company material or puzzle books.
“There should be a reasonable time delay between transactions so that your agents don’t get burnt out, and there are always peaks and troughs too”.
An alternative is to have hot times when the focus is demanded lighter time when some concessions can be made. This creates a lighter environment at work and reduces stress factors. But all in all, it is curious how some agents get this free time. Usually, there is more to do than hours in the day, and not seeing the end of your task list does contribute to your fatigue levels.
High-stress levels and fatigue can contribute actively to absenteeism in the call center. Solutions start by talking with absentees when they return to learn the reasons, create staffing plans so your team can manage their absences and, for instance, watch a match. Being flexible with leave, it is preferable to be able to plan ahead and consider leaves than deal with unexpected absences. When absences get recurrent and there is evidence of that suggest a medical condition, a specialist should be called into action. There is evidence that managing the fatigue levels, the workload and the number of hours can effectively increase attendance levels.
Some office rules also contribute to high-stress levels, agent dissatisfaction, and higher fatigue. We will name just a few: No personal stuff at the workstation, no eating at desks, monitored toilet breaks, no access to supervisors directly (just by phone or email), no mobile phones during office hours (for mothers this is a huge stressor). All these are enhanced by sometimes having to deal with unsatisfied clients and disgruntled humans on the other side of the line.
There are some really nice upsides that come into play, but we will get to them some other day.