Agents break times

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Call Centre Supervisor

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I have just becoming the supervisor of a small inbound contact centre with 8:45 to 18:00 working hours. I did a feedback session to make sure my new team were getting on well and highlight any problem areas. The main thing that came up is that instead of a 45 minute lunch break inbetween 12pm and 2:15pm the agents want a 30 minutes break inbetween the 12pm - 1:30pm, along with a 15 minute break later in the afternoon. They feel it would improve their performance later in the day. I am going to look into this to see if it is an option in terms call volumes throughout the day using the Erlang C Calculator. Do any other contact centres have breaks spread out through the day like this?


Call Centre Helper

I think that the split breaks will be a great idea and one that many contact centres use.

You just need to be careful if you have a mid-afternoon call peak.

Resource Planner/Infrastructure Analyst

Lloyds Banking Group

First of all, congrats on asking your staff and taking their opinions into account. I still find it amazing that so many people miss this bit out.

My bottom line is that if this is what the agents would prefer and it has no negative impact on your business, then go for it.

On a standard 8 hour shift, I would always have a morning and afternoon break as well as a lunch break

Planning & Control

You may have a good opportunity to allow them to do either, as there will probably be a few who prefer their existing breaks. This should allow you to have less agents off at a time, which depending on your profile might be a good thing.

The other thing to consider is if they have two breaks, do they need to be lunch break first, then 15 minute break?

I have experience with some agents who only want a quick break to carry them over, until later in the shift when they have their main break. This apparently makes the day go faster.

If you get a nice mix of all three options you could find a real improvement in consistent staff levels. Where before you could only fit 3 back to back breaks between 12:00-14:15 you might not be able to get 7.


Scintella Solutions

Hello Amy,

It makes sense on several levels. Have a read here : It discussies health and safety issues.

Just as important, scheduling shorter breaks will help you managing peaks and valleys. If each of your employees has to have a 45 minute break in a relatively short timespan (say, between 12 and 2) you are likely to have quite a short staffing situation at that time. By shortening the lunch to 30 minutes you gain quite a lot of resource during lunch, helping you meet service levels.

So, breaking up the lunch period would be a win / win.

Weimer Communications Inc.

We have devised a quite individual system for agent's breaks. For every hour of work there are 5 minutes of recreation time, 55 minutes of work. Everybody can sum up their recreation time and either take it all at once or have five minutes after each hour to regain their concentration. As they log out of the system durein their breaks, it is easy to monitor it.

Lead Product Management


It's actually a good idea to split your breaks, one thing I would suggest you keep track of:

1. At any point of time not more than 50% of your workforce should be on break, this would ensure your customers are serviced even though they might spend a longer time in the queue (again this is dependent on your call volumes).

2. Have a reliable break tracking mechanism, impossible without relying on some kind of a software that can manage this.

Workforce Manager

SAB Ltd South Africa

We allow 3 breaks

1st break 15minutes starting 2hrs from start of shift

2nd lunch 45minutes starting 3hrs from end of 1st break

3rd break 30minutes starting 2hrs from end of lunch break

I know , that's an awful lot of break time (it's what I inherited)

a typical shift span with breaks looks like this

07:00 (start)

09:00 - 09:15 (1st break)

12:15 - 13:00 (lunch)

15:00 - 15:30 (2nd break)

Of course....whilst Erlang C has shortcomings, it's a pretty good base for identifying best times for breaks etc.

Office Manager

Orbit Services


Our collectors have a 7.5hr day. They have 30mins for lunch between 12.30 - 13.00 and 15mins at 3pm. We stagger the lunch breaks and 15min breaks so that everyone isn't off at the same time to make sure we have enough staff to maintain a good service.

I have found this works well and the staff enjoy having a break in the afternoon. I would suggest if your team are happy to split their break up that you could try it for a trial period of a couple of weeks and see if it has any adverse affects?

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