Are Your Agents Getting Enough Sleep?

That may seem like an odd question: most contact center managers do not consider monitoring agent sleep habits as part of their jobs. Unless those agents are dozing in their cubicles.

But as a nation our sleep patterns are changing. Several recent studies devoted to this topic suggest that more people are getting just six hours of sleep a night – or less.

Why? The list of factors is a long one. Some of your agents are working a second job or also going to school; some have family obligations that prevent them from getting eight hours of sack time; some just stay up too late binging Netflix or spending time on social media.

Why It’s Important

A lack of sleep can impact both agent performance and morale. If an agent is tired that will be communicated to customers through his or her voice. Those that start their day feeling sluggish will not be as available to your customers. And after a particularly bad night, some agents may not show up at all, throwing off your shift schedules.

What Can Be Done?

You can’t follow your agents home and tuck them in at a reasonable hour. But you can encourage healthy sleep habits by making information on this subject available, and perhaps even sponsoring a presentation from a local physician on sleep education. When agents are aware of the risks, they might change their ways.

Some suggested guidelines include:

  • No caffeine 4-6 hours before bed
  • No alcohol after dinner (it can interfere with the sleep cycle)
  • Turn off smartphones and computers one hour before bedtime
  • Turn in at the same time every evening
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid thinking about worries or concerns while trying to sleep

As a last resort, some contact centers now allow breaks to be used for short naps. If you’d like to try this at your business, you may need to set up a space separate from the usual break room that would make it easier to sleep on the job. Dimmed lights, comfortable couches, and a location far enough away from the noise of the main work area would be a good place to start.

Do you have any tips on how to encourage better sleep habits and a healthier lifestyle for your agents?

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