ChaseData Call Center Software Blog

Preparing Your Call Center for Cold and Flu Season - and Agent Absences

Posted by Ahmed Macklai on Dec 12, 2019 8:26:39 AM

agent absences

With both cold and flu season and the most prevalent time for the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder now at hand, contact centers should examine their attendance policies and absenteeism rates. Because of the demands on many call center agents, absenteeism is common in the contact center setting. This can result in a lot of problems for everyone on your team, from agents experiencing smaller paychecks as a result of missing work to those who are left to pick up the slack caused by agent absences.

How does your center deal with agent absences? What are your attendance policies - and can they be adjusted to make absences less likely and provide a better environment for employees? Here’s what you need to know about tailoring your absence policy to the goal of improving attendance this season and beyond:

Be Transparent in Your Attendance Policy

Every successful contact center has an attendance policy. Establish yours as early as possible while setting up your center and ensure that it is distributed widely. Share it as transparently as possible with every employee, so that everyone in your facility understands what is expected of them. The more upfront you are about what is expected of every person on your payroll, the easier it will be for them to achieve those goals.

Associate Attendance with Performance to Show How Agent Absences Impact Everyone

Agent attendance is directly correlated to performance and productivity - as well as to how your center functions as a whole. However, not every agent can see this is would agree with this statement. Your job as a manager is to help them understand their importance in the bigger picture and how their absences can impact everyone else in your facility.

One way to do this is to show a direct relationship between attendance and performance. Use attendance as a metric on KPI and performance reviews. Show employees how often they’re absence - and how it impacts their work. Then, relate those figures to overall productivity ratings and show them how their work correlates to the success of the company. Once you do, employees will be more likely to show up and perform well, knowing their importance to the overall efforts of their peers.

Foster Commitment to the Job

Employees who take their jobs seriously and take pride in their jobs are more likely to invest more time and effort into them. In this instance, that means showing up on time and being ready to work once there. However, the desire to put a person’s best into the job isn’t something that happens overnight - or something that comes naturally for every employee. You have to grow and nurture that desire to achieve and give agents reason to feel it.

Pinpoint What Might Be Causing Your Agent Absences 

Why are your employees missing work? Are workplace sanitation issues causing widespread illness, or might mental health be the problem? Burnout is common in the contact center, which can lead to agent absences when employees feel that they need a break. Determine what might be causing absences to help employees avoid those instances and feel better about coming to work.

Reward Good Attendance

Positive reinforcement is one of the best tools for inciting change. To encourage better attendance, reward employees who are already demonstrating it. This will give others something to work toward - and something worth achieving once they get there.

Underscore the Importance of Prioritizing Mental Health

Some agent absences are actually a good idea. How? Because every now and then, agents may need a mental break from the taxing and fast-paced work of the call center setting. To ensure your employees are taking necessary breaks, encourage them to take days off on occasion for the sake of their mental health. Destigmatize this in your facility. Employees will be less likely to lie about why they’re absent and more likely to respect you for prioritizing their mental health.

Offer Flexibility in Scheduling

Allowing some employees to work from home or to adapt their own schedule to their individual needs isn’t just a boon for the agent. It is also beneficial for business. It gives agents the freedom to be more relaxed and therefore more productive while they’re on the clock - and prevents agent absences by allowing employees to work when they know they will be available and at their best.

Leave Work at Work

These days, people have a hard time divorcing themselves of the job - even after hours. This is mostly due to the prevalence of technology in our everyday lives. We are constantly connected to our email, our cell phones - it can make the urge for employers to contact us at all hours of the day and night stronger than it has ever been.

To prevent employee burnout or embitterment toward the job, establish rules for when management team members are allowed to email and call employees, and when they should stop. Allow employees some private time each day to ensure that they don’t feel like their work is constantly on their minds - or at the top of their to-do list.

Make Everyone’s Jobs Easier with the Right Technology

If your facility has the right software and technology, every agent and management team member’s job will be easier. From attendance management through streamlined software to easier and more efficient agent-consumer interaction, you can do it all with a technology upgrade.

For all of the tools and technology you need to fully support your workforce while they’re on the job, talk to the industry experts at ChaseData. We have everything you need to outfit your operation with the attendance management software and remote agent integration tools you need to keep things moving even when people have to be absent. Don’t let the cold weather freeze your contact center’s productivity; give us a call today to learn more!

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