MetLife Releases Guide on Call Center Absenteeism

February 2, 2005 ( - Noting that call centers account for more than their proportion of employee absences, MetLife has released a guide aimed at finding solutions to the problem.

MetLife’s The Call Center: Absence, Lost Productivity, and Seven Solutions looks at research and an analysis of four industries that rely heavily on call centers – finance, telecommunications, mobile technology and travel – and attempts to find solutions to the problem of absenteeism.

MetLife claims that although call center employees account for only 20% to 25% of a company’s workforce, they account for over 60% of its total short-term disability claims and family and medical absences.

The report looks at three main topics:

  • Observations about the typical call center, including a look at job functions, worker demographics and work environment.
  • Problems that impact call center productivity, such as recruitment/retention of productive workers; absenteeism; presenteeism (workers who are “present” at work, but not productive); and high disability incidence to give readers a better understanding of the underlying causes behind poor call center productivity.
  • Solutions that positively impact productivity, including several work-life programs, methods of employee education and assessment tools.   It also provides case study that shows an effective absence management program at work.

“MetLife’s data on disability and absence management reveals that call centers are particularly vulnerable to staffing challenges – and often suffer from a rate of 30-40% absenteeism on any given day,” said Dr. Ronald Leopold, vice president and national medical director of MetLife Disability, in a press release. “The new MetLife guide examines the factors behind this trend and presents solutions for controlling disability program costs and increasing workforce productivity.”

The free guide can be obtained at