Managing Absences in the Contact Center
Employees missing work is something that all managers need to deal with at one point or another. Be it for sickness or some other event, the simple fact of the matter is that sometimes, employees will not come into work (I myself might have missed a day the day after the Mets lost the World Series in 2015). But contact centers can be stretched extremely thin when employees miss work, due to the nature of the work. How should managers deal with this state of events?
As with most things in today’s day and age, flexibility is one of the keys. Allowing employees to take half days off or certain hours off (perhaps for events or family situations) will allow them to miss parts of days when it is necessary rather than full ones. This makes it easier to schedule around absences and make up for times when the contact center is understaffed.
Managers should also be proactive and try to anticipate periods of time where there may be a lot of absences in an attempt to schedule around them. As silly as my aforementioned Mets example is, big sporting events, especially those that end late at night, can lead to an uptick in sick days. Seasonal sicknesses can also play a role, as can big concerts or festivals. Good managers need to have their fingers on the pulse of the local scene in order to get a sense of when absences are likely in order to prepare ahead of time.
At the end of the day, managing absences is just like managing any other issues that may arise in the workplace. The key is always to be proactive and not reactive, anticipate problems and have a plan so that there is no scrambling at the last minute. Dealing with employee absence is especially important in contact centers, which are so focused on dealing with customers. Managers need to pay attention to all of the possible variables and manipulate their schedules to accommodate anything that might arise.
Edited by Alicia Young