Agent occupancy refers to the percentage of time that call agents spend handling incoming calls against the available or idle time, which is determined by dividing workload hours by staff hours. It is a statistic used in calculating the productivity of a call center. When agent occupancy is the final outcome of how staffing is matched to incoming call patterns to a call center, the desired level of occupancy may drive staffing decisions in a sequential work environment. This useful metric can be utilized to measure instant messaging interactions as well.

Utilization rate, also known as call center occupancy, is measured as:

Handle time (talk time + after call work time) / time signed into a queue.

This metric is expressed as a percentage and tells you the amount of time that work is being performed in support of the call center’s queue. It also tells you how hard the call center agents are being driven. Higher the occupancy rate, shorter is the amount of time between calls. According to a research, 80% occupancy rate means that 20% of the time the representative was available for a call and the remaining 80% the representative was either on a call or in after call work status.

Call center utilization or agent occupancy is not controlled at an individual level. It is rather a group, queue or center measure. Also, it is a function of forecasting and staffing, the workload offered by the calls arriving randomly and the handle times. As a matter of fact, smaller groups have lower occupancy than the larger ones. Also, higher occupancy rates do not always correlate to an increased productivity. Therefore, call center agents can generally handle short bursts of increased activity but sustained high occupancy can lead to burnout. You need to know that call center occupancy needs to be considered along with other factors such as overall productivity, error rates, quality scores etc. in order to make the most out of it.

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