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What Is Call Center Absenteeism?

What Is Call Center Absenteeism

Absenteeism in call centers is a usual occurrence where employees take the day off without any notice. This can negatively impact the customer experience (CX). It’s a complicated matter that needs to be carefully thought through and analyzed.

A Cornell University study indicated that call center absenteeism averages 6% on typical days, with outsourced call centers having the highest rates at 10%.

So, it’s very necessary to control absenteeism in a call center. Now, we will explore how to calculate the absent rate and various aspects of absenteeism in a call center. This will help you recognize your call center’s absenteeism better.

So, no more late, just jump into the deep.

What Is Call Center Absenteeism?

In a simple sense, call center absenteeism means the condition where call center agents or employers are absent from work without advance notice or authorization.

In a broader sense, The number of days that productivity is lost when an employee takes unapproved leave and is unable to report for work can be used to compute the agent absenteeism rate. This unapproved use of time off is being absent without leave or being sick. Absenteeism should not be calculated for vacation and arranged leave since everyone was aware during such times.

The focus of absenteeism extends beyond individuals with valid medical conditions. A large number of people may choose to do other things instead of reporting for work. There’s a chance that agents will never return.

Call center managers may quickly and simply compute absenteeism by hand. Finding out whether an agent is taking excessively many unpaid days off in relation to their job schedule doesn’t need much work. In the below, we will learn details on how to calculate absenteeism in a call center.

How Do You Calculate Absenteeism in The Call Center?

The absence rate is one of the most important measures used to assess call center performance. This is the amount of time that agents are not able to answer calls.

You can follow these steps to compute the call center absenteeism rate.

Step 1: Figure out the total number of hours that agents are expected to work in a given time frame, such as a week or a month.

Step 2 – Subtract the amount of hours the agents missed during that time. This covers all authorized time off, including vacation, sick leave, personal days, and others.

Step 3: Divide the total number of missed hours by the whole scheduled hours.

Step 4: To get the absence rate as a percentage, multiply the outcome by 100.

So, Absenteeism rate = Missed HoursTotal Scheduled Hours x 100

For example, a call center has 25 agents. They are scheduled to work 40 hours per week. During the week, they all took 50 hours off for several reasons.

The call center absenteeism rate is computed as follows:

Total scheduled hours = 25 agents x 40 hours/agent = 1,000 hours

Total missed/absent hours = 50 hours

Absenteeism rate = 50 Hours1,000 Hours x 100 = 5%

In this instance, the weekly absence rate was 5%. This indicates that 95% of the agents’ allocated hours were spent being reachable via phone. It is also related to call center adherence.

Call centers can spot patterns and take action to resolve any problems that might be causing agents to miss work by monitoring absence rates over time.

Various Reasons for Call Center Absenteeism

The majority of call center agents are well-trained and carry out their duties in a professional manner. They even continue their duties in difficult situations and busy times. However, when they are busy, there are some reasons.

The calling agency has some observations regarding the reasons for the call center’s absenteeism. The ten most common reasons for absenteeism in a call center are:

i) Sickness

ii) Family or personal crisis

iii) Stressful/Busy period

iv) Difficult customers

v) Using up sick days

vi) Their child’s sick

vii) Job interviews

viii) Injuries

ix) Harassment

x) Motivationlessness

Top 10 Reasons for Call Center Absenteeism (1)

Whatever the cause of your employees’ sick calls, your company may lose out on output due to their absence. There are valid reasons why an employee might be unable to work through a sick day, such as a medical condition that affects them or their child.

However, if the reason is harassment or a lack of motivation, address these concerns immediately. You can decide to discipline or fire the harassing employee or find another way to inspire the struggling employees.

Significant Impact of Call Center Absenteeism

Impact Flow of Call Center Absenteeism

Employees at call centers are expected to manage high call volumes and deliver top-notch customer service. However, call center operations can be severely impacted by absenteeism.

Absenteeism can impact your call center in the following ways:

  • Lower productivity: There may be a drop in productivity when workers are absent. Customers will have to wait longer and be less satisfied because fewer calls are returned.
  • Increased workload for other employees: The burden of managing the workload falls heavier on the remaining staff when absenteeism occurs. Increased turnover rates and fatigue may result from this.
  • Higher costs: Higher expenses may result from paying overtime or employing temporary workers to fill staff shortages caused by absenteeism.
  • Adverse effect on morale: Stress, low morale, a bad work environment, and a decline in employee satisfaction can result from employee overload brought on by absence.
  • Decreased customer satisfaction: When there is absenteeism in a call center, the workload falls on other employees. Other employees will lose their natural workflow. It results in bad performance and ultimately causes a decrease in customer satisfaction.

Call centers need robust strategies to find out and minimize absenteeism. Otherwise, the cold calling service of the call center will decrease.

How to Reduce Call Center Absenteeism

Absenteeism is not good for any call centers. So, it should be solved anyhow. There are some general ways to solve this problem. Besides, any call center company may need a specific solution to reduce this problem. Here are nine common ways to reduce absenteeism.

1. Acknowledge the Issue

The first and most important step to reduce absenteeism is to acknowledge why your employees are missing work. There could be a number of causes, including burnout, personal difficulties, health challenges, unhappiness at work, or a lack of drive.

You can find patterns and trends in the absenteeism of your call center employees by analyzing data from surveys, performance reviews, and attendance records. Agents who leave your call center can also be interviewed after they leave to gather their opinions on why they left.

2. Understand the Reasons for Absenteeism

After acknowledging the issue, you have to understand their reasons. There is something that accelerates them to miss the office. You should talk to them on this matter, know the pros and cons, and realize their problem.

If it seems their reasons are legitimate, then you should try to solve their problem as a call center owner. On the other hand, if they are casually missing out, you should take strict steps. Otherwise, other employers will be disciplined regarding this incident.

3. Have Clear and Defined Attendance Rules

Your call center needs to have staff attendance rules, and it should be available to all agents. Your agents will then be aware of your expectations regarding attendance. It also emphasizes how crucial punctuality and consistent attendance are. 

The effect of breaking these rules and regulations will also be described in the attendance policy. So, the call center agents will be fully aware of your attendance rules.

4. Attendance Policy

An attendance policy in a call center reduces absenteeism by setting clear expectations for agents. It defines acceptable behavior, considers job realities, ensures fairness, and tracks attendance.

This clarity, fairness, and proactive management create a productive work environment, thereby reducing absenteeism. A proper and healthy attendance policy will help to maintain good absenteeism in a call center.

5. Creating a Pleasant Working Environment

High absenteeism typically indicates stress or unhappiness in your company. Employees are more inclined to take sick days if they believe their jobs to be overly demanding. Creating an environment that agents like to work in is one method to guarantee that they show up for work regularly.

Here are some ways to increase the mood in a busy, stressful call center.

  • Regular Break: Motivate your calling agents to take frequent breaks. Especially when they feel exhausted, could you encourage them to take rest?
  • Break Rooms: Provide you with a comfortable free space to enjoy the breaks. You also can ensure they eat lunch in that space. It will be hustle and bustle-free from the call center floor.
  • Social Interaction: Promote agents to socialize with one another. Employee engagement will rise, and teamwork will be encouraged as a result. Try to maintain a healthy cooperative relationship among the agents.

7. Adopt Flexible Working Arrangements

You might want to think about giving agents some leeway in how they work. Permit them to work a couple of days a week from home, for instance. The ability to work from home will probably lead to a reduction in sick days and vacation time.

Additionally, it will raise staff morale. All you have to do is provide your agents with the equipment they need to work in contact centers.

8. Consider Cash Incentives and Bonuses

Giving your agents praise and recognition for their hard work and punctuality is another strategy to lower absenteeism. You can draft an attendance policy outlining the expectations of students, the penalties for missing class, and the advantages of being well-attended.

Additionally, you can create incentive programs that provide your agents with bonuses, rewards, or other benefits for hitting or surpassing attendance targets. You can also express your gratitude to your agents for their accomplishments and contributions in team meetings, newsletters, or social media posts.

9. Provide Different Types of Shifts

Providing greater flexibility and control over work schedules to your agents is one of the best strategies to lower absenteeism. When you offer them different shifts, your agents can choose their preferred shifts and trade shifts with others.

They can seek time off or work from home with the help of solutions like workforce management software, self-service portals, or mobile apps. Your agents’ ability to manage work and personal obligations, lower stress levels, and boost engagement can all be achieved with flexible scheduling and work arrangements.

10. Schedule Agents for the Shift Times They Prefer

You can also schedule the shift time for an agent. Sometimes, someone may have any issues to continue at a particular time. Then, you can offer them an alternative shift which they prefer.

It may also be a good solution to reduce absenteeism in a call center.


One of the vital key indicators of call center productivity and efficiency is absenteeism. Finding patterns and trends in employee absenteeism requires knowing the absence rate. Call centers can use this to address the underlying reasons behind absenteeism and implement the required countermeasures.

To make sure they fulfill service level agreements and deliver excellent customer care, call centers need to monitor absence rates on a regular basis. Call center managers can compute absence rates and learn more about the effects of absenteeism on call center performance by using the formula provided in this blog article.

You may consider call center software to cut down on agent absenteeism by implementing self-service features in your call center software. Employees may feel more inclined and motivated in this way when their responsibilities are decreased.

One thought on “What Is Call Center Absenteeism?

  1. Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed reading it, especially because it addressed my problem. It helped me a lot and I hope it will help others too.

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