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Occupancy Rate

Market research 04 12
Table of Contents

Introduction to Occupancy Rate

Occupancy Rate can be defined as the relationship between rented/used space and unused space. In a Contact Center, this metric is essentially used to calculate how busy the center’s contact agents are. It is the ratio between the time they are logged in for work to the time they spend working. It is one of the key performance indicators of contact centers and is considered to be an important metric.


Why is it Important
for Contact Centers to Track Occupancy Rate?

Occupancy rates can be used by Contact Centers to achieve optimum efficiency. It helps, not only in saving money, but also in reducing the workload for its agents. This metric enables Contact Centers to map their long term hiring & staffing plans, improving their efficiency as well as increasing customer satisfaction.

Occupancy Rate1

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How to
Calculate Occupancy Rate?

A common method of computing Occupancy is by calculating the average handle time. The formula being:


Example Sum

If an agent has an engagement that lasts 30 minutes long, during a 60 minute period, their Occupancy Rate can be calculated as 50%. However, in real life, it isn’t as easy to calculate the occupancy rate as there are other kinds of engagement that needs to be included whilst calculating this rate. For instance the work that happens after the call, known as “after call work”, must also be included.

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Low Occupancy
in Contact Centers

When a contact center has a low occupancy rate, it is usually a sign that agents within the contact center are not working efficiently. It also means that the contact center is overpaying their agents and the employees aren’t being fully utilised.

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High Occupancy
in Contact Centers

When occupancy rates in a contact center are too high, employees get burnt out. Employees who are overworked won’t be able to provide optimum service levels. Agents require breaks and time to collect their thoughts between calls. Without this, performance levels can suffer and lead to higher absenteeism. Additionally, if occupancy levels are too high, call queues can build as agents aren’t available to pick up the amount of calls coming into the contact center.

Occupancy Rate2


What is the
Right Occupancy
for your Contact Center

Occupancy rates are often used for long-term capacity planning processes in order to ensure there are enough agents working for enough hours, in regard to the number of calls coming into the contact center. 80% service level is considered to lead to consistent occupancy levels. Most contact centers today have an occupancy rate of 83% and aim to have a rate between 85% and 95%.

Contact Centers should use occupancy rates to determine that the right number of agents are hired and that staff availability is aligned correctly throughout the year or following months.

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How to Maintain
a Good Contact
Center Occupancy Rate

These are a few ways in which a contact center can maintain a good occupancy rate:

Monitor Call Volume at Different Times

By monitoring call volumes throughout the day and different times of the year, managers can decide appropriate staffing levels throughout the year. In busy periods, more agents can be hired and in quiet periods, less can be hired. 

Reduce Staffing Levels

By using IVR solutions, contact centers can provide customers with self-service options. This allows agents to take fewer calls and reduces staffing requirements.

Partially Outsource Contact Center Operations

It is not always possible for Contact Centers to accurately decide staffing levels by predicting call volumes. This is when Contact Centers can partially outsource Contact Center operations in order to meet an unexpected amount of surge in calls. This not only enables managing surge volumes, but also helps run large-scale outbound call campaigns.