Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

How Short Rests Can Improve Call Center Performance

June 14, 2017
By Special Guest
Christopher Lindholst, CEO and Co-Founder of MetroNaps -

The staff turnover rate at call centers is about twice as high as the average across all industries; estimates range from 30 percent to 45 percent. It’s one of the top challenges call centers face, because high turnover rates cause companies to lose their considerable investment in hiring and training. Call centers that lose experienced employees also lose their higher production rates and the customer relationships they’ve established.

High stress is often cited as the No. 1 factor in call center turnover. Call center employees are among the most monitored workers in any industry, and they often have to deal with sensitive issues and customers who are irate about a product, service or interruption. Most call center employees have demanding call quotas to meet, which only adds to the stress.

But innovative call centers are finding ways to keep valuable employees on board. Some have found a unique solution that’s backed by science: short rest periods during shifts. Research shows that taking a nap improves workers’ alertness, productivity and receptiveness to learning, and call centers that have installed short-rest facilities have found that napping serves as a highly efficient stress reducer.

For example, a call center in upstate New York that serves a large global insurer installed napping pods at its facility to boost employee productivity, satisfaction and retention. The insurer found that short naps significantly improved call center employees’ moods, making team members more likely to provide a positive customer experience.

In the UK, Samaritans of Havering, a not-for-profit that provides free telephone counseling for people in need, received a donation of a napping pod at its Romford branch, which is near London. The counselors at that branch often experience high levels of stress as they discuss callers’ concerns and help people sort through their challenges. But the napping pod helps.

Extensive research on short rest has identified at least six benefits that can help people stay healthier and happier on the job. A study published in Academic Medicine found that a mid-day nap can decrease attention failures by 30 percent. Improved alertness can help call center workers solve customer issues more quickly and get each contact right the first time.

Short rest can also help boost productivity and improve memory processing capacity. Research published in the Journal of Sleep found that even a very short period of rest can help improve people’s memory performance. Better memory processing can boost performance on the job, including in a fast-paced setting like a busy call center where workers must recall and apply policy, product details, etc.

But for call center workers who are subject to relentless pressure, perhaps the most important benefit of short rest is improved mood and reduced stress. Research demonstrates that short rest can stop or even reverse deterioration in visual perception and improve workers’ mood and self-confidence. A napping strategy that reduces the effects of stress and imparts an elevated mood is ideal for call center workers.

Many forward-thinking companies are already taking advantage of the benefits of napping, providing facilities for employees to take a short rest and return to their work refreshed and ready to tackle new tasks. Research implies and case studies strongly suggest that people who work in call centers could benefit significantly from a short rest strategy.

As call center leaders look for ways to reduce costly turnover and keep experienced people on staff, a stress-busting strategy that includes short naps should be considered. Research shows that short rests can improve performance overall while giving employees the confidence they need to handle a high-pressure job. That’s good for call center workers and for business.   

About the Author

Christopher Lindholst is the CEO and Co-Founder of MetroNaps, makers of the world's most famous and first workplace napping pod. A pioneer in corporate fatigue management solutions since 2003, Christopher has built a client base and established partnerships on four continents. Christopher is a frequent speaker at corporations and conferences, where he talks about implementing sleep into corporate well-being programs. He is also acting Chair of the National Sleep Foundation's Sleep Technology Council. Christopher completed his Bachelor’s degree at Wesleyan University and received his MBA from Columbia University. He is also an avid napper, having amassed nearly 5,000 naps over his 13-year sleep career by taking a 14-minute nap every workday afternoon.

Edited by Alicia Young