What’s the best way to spend breaks between calls?

The best way to spend breaks between calls when working in a call centre

How do you spend your breaks between calls?

For some of us having breaks between calls may seem like some mythical fantasy that only occurs in everyone else’s contact centre but yours.

But for those of us lucky enough to be in the situation of having breaks between calls what’s the best way of making use of the time?

And whilst those breaks may not be all in a row, a few minutes here and there can add up to a sizeable chunk of time and in life, every minute counts right?

A recent article on Lifehacker explored that very topic and we also put it to our Call Centre Legends Facebook page to find out just h0w they spent those precious moments.

Here’s a selection of the ideas of what to do with breaks between calls when you are working in a contact centre:

The good things to do with breaks between calls… 

We had plenty of good practical ideas that whilst they may not work for everyone, it may just give you a couple of ideas that you can borrow:

  • Take up a hobby that requires using the hands (knitting, origami etc)
  • Browse Wikipedia and educate yourself on a range of topics that you otherwise wouldn’t have time to do
  • Do an online course – Try out Coursera, Udemy and Udacity that often have free courses.
  • Adult colouring books
  • Update your CV and/or apply for other internal roles
  • Hunt for that dream house
  • Self-paced learning to allow career progression, stuff that actually makes a difference when applying for other roles within the business you work for.

The most common things people do with breaks between calls…

  • Just take a breath and get ready for the next call!
  • Browse the internet
  • Catch up on Social Media
  • Complete crosswords
  • Message other agents
  • Play video games (seems our nightshift colleagues have plenty of gaming time!).
  • Complete word searches online
  • Watch a bit of TV

They said what?

Of course, not all the comments were positive about how to spend your breaks between calls reflecting the diverse nature of the types of contact centres we all work in.

We had a range of everything from plain sad through to well, just mean!

  • Our call centre has a policy of do nothing. We are not allowed to read or access the internet. We are told we are to sit there and be ready. We are allowed to talk to each other though. That’s it’s.
  • In between calls…. hahahaha. OMG you take calls for other people and hope to god you get your notes done before the next call or email. Whip crack whip.
  • If we have any downtime at all we are expected to complete admin work
  • Just fire yourself because if you don’t work between calls in Australian call centres on our high wages you won’t have your call centre for long.
  • time…between calls. I’m trying to get off the line to take the next call
  • We had wait times up to 1.5hrs long (as in customers waited that long to speak to us)… any time between calls was spent trying to regain our sanity before our stats dropped too far.

Of course every contact centre and business is different which may explain some of the comments.

From those who ban any form of pen or paper in the office (often for security reasons) through to those that completely isolate their staff from using mobile phones or the internet.

Again sometimes this is for security (e.g. so you can’t take screenshots of account details etc) and sometimes management is perhaps still living in days gone by…

If that’s you then you might want to start looking around to find another job.

Trust me, good contact centre staff are in high demand so you might just find a contact centre role that enables you to enjoy your working life a bit more and not just ‘treat you like a number’.

Of course, as more and more of the simple calls get automated it’s leaving the far more complex calls left to live agents to handle.

So even if you do manage to get a few minutes downtime, sometimes just appreciating the relative silence can be reward enough before the next call comes through!

So I hope this has given you a few ideas on how to spend your breaks between calls and if you’ve got any more please share them in the comments section below.

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Justin Tippett
About Justin Tippett 78 Articles

I'm the founder of CX Group Australia - helping businesses and customer experience professionals to source, deliver and optimise customer experience solutions to drive business outcomes and I'm available for consulting and training services.


I'm also the person responsible for the terrible memes on the Call Centre Legends page😮


When I'm not working, I enjoy pretending that 40 something isn't that old and it's still not too late for a professional sporting career.

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