Companies and business organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve their business operations and levels of efficiency. They also know that employee attendance in their daily work roles and functions plays a crucial part in the level of operational excellence and efficiency they must achieve in their workplace. Besides, it’s typical for companies to have concerns and challenges regarding their employees’ attendance and attrition rates.

For one, it’s inevitable to see some employees calling in now and then, saying they won’t be able to report for work. This is unavoidable due to personal reasons and health emergencies at times. These may include family-related concerns, sudden illness, medical checkups, scheduled surgeries, or even having an unfortunate accident on the way to the office. These are all acceptable and valid reasons for employee absence.

Therefore, the higher-ups should develop a management workflow to handle call-ins and ensure staff levels are still enough to meet their operations or client requirements. Hence, numerous companies have found it necessary to install call-off systems at work.

Here are some things to keep in mind on how to set up an employee call-off hotline:

1. Establish A Dedicated Hotline For Call-Off

One of the first few things you have to do to set up an employee call-off hotline is to establish a hotline number that will serve as the hotline for all your employees. It’s highly important that you establish a permanent number so your employees can call your office when they won’t be able to report for work on a particular day. This is useful whether your employees will be reporting in the office or doing remote work.

You should centralize this number as soon as possible if you want to gain control over the attendance workflow of your employees. You can go about this in different ways. One is to set up a dedicated in-house phone number your employees can call anytime if they aren’t able to suit up for work.

You can also set up a voicemail box where they can call in and leave a message that they won’t be coming in for the day. Another option would be to designate a specific employee or a team of employees and give them numbers that would take in all the calls from employees who can’t report for work.

2. Learn The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Different Methods

The different ways or methods of setting up your employee call-off hotline each have their advantages and disadvantages. Some of them work for specific types of work arrangements, while others won’t work the same way. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a call-off hotline:


  • A single dedicated line would be easier for your employees to remember if they can’t come in for work.
  • Voicemail doesn’t have to be manned by any of your staff. It can take in voice messages any day and any time of the day.
  • Designating a specific member of staff or staff members to take in the calls from employees who can’t come to work gives you more control over the workflow. It also gives you a quick way of determining how many have called in for the day so you can forecast your personnel resources schedule.


  • It would entail costs because you would most likely have to designate a specific staff member to take the calls coming in from employees who call in to say they won’t make it to work on that day. Other callers will also have to wait if they’re still talking to an employee calling in, unless you hire additional members to take other calls.
  • The main disadvantage of voicemail is that you can’t respond quickly if the employee calling in has some questions or queries. Another is that some of the messages might pile up, and you might not pull up the relevant voicemail message you’re looking for when you need it.
  • The disadvantage with designating specific staff or staff members to take in calls from employees who won’t be reporting for work is that they’d have to match the hours of your business operations. If your company operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then you’ll also have to form a team that can provide the service for the same number of days and hours.

One of the best solutions to the need for an employee call-off hotline would be to hire a third-party solution provider. These are companies that offer a dedicated phone line that your employees can call if they won’t be able to report for work or they’re going to be late on any given day. They can provide your company or business organization with a unique hotline number that your employees can call to say they won’t come in for work. The hotline covers the information intake aspect of your absence management workflow.

3. Update Your Employees’ Attendance Policies And Call-In Procedures

Another aspect of your absence management system that you should set up is your set of policies and procedures for handling absences. If possible, you should have the outline of rules, policies, and procedures if you haven’t set up your call-in system yet. Strive to finalize your framework for these for your absence management system.

If your company has been operating for some time now, it’s highly likely that you’ve already developed a system for call-ins and a set of rules, policies, and procedures for handling absences. However, you’ll have to do a comprehensive review to match them with your chosen technology. This can take time, especially if you want to review your existing rules thoroughly.

Here are some typical questions your workforce might have about your attendance policies and procedures.

  • When would workers have to call in?
  • How many days of notice should they give before their scheduled absence?
  • What will be the consequence if they violate the policy?
  • How do they know and track their absences?

You would also have to include the following things in your absence management system, rules, policies, and procedures:

Attendance Policy:

Have a separate document that contains all your policies that cover all areas of concern about the attendance of employees. It should also provide rules on tardiness, not showing up for work, leaving work early, no-call no shows, and the different types of sick leave. Additionally, it should state how absences can impact their pay and bonuses.

Call-in Policy:

Attendance is a critical aspect of business operations in most companies or business organizations. Therefore, supervisors and team leaders need to know how many people they’ll have on board for the workday to determine whether they can do the job. This is especially true for industries where each person has an assigned set volume of work.

4. Configure Your New Call-Off System To Your Requirements

The next step in setting up an employee call-off hotline would be to properly configure your new call-off system to match the requirements of your business operations. Consider the procedures, scripting, and workflows when configuring your call-off system.

The whole point of having a central call-off system is to make things easier. Setting it up should streamline things for you, your employees, team leaders, supervisors, operations managers, HR people, and executive leaders. At the same time, however, you should ensure that your system configurations adhere to what you’ve written in your attendance and call-in policies.

For instance, your call-in hotline should have standardized and uniform scripting and response messages that can double as notification reminders. Each caller should be prompted by a pre-recorded message that would guide them each step of the way. If your call-in policy requires workers to call at a specified number of minutes before their shift, then your system should have a way of recording their calls with the accurate timestamp of when the call happened.

Some of the other features and functionalities that you can configure are as follows:

  • Set up your system notifications to filter who will receive which notices and warnings.
  • You can also set up a system that stacks attendance violations by individual employees. The system will send out notifications and warnings whenever there’s a violation of specific rules and policies.
  • Map out who will take over the work supposed to be done by an absent employee, based on who is present at work on any given day.

5. Educate And Tell Users About The New Call-off System Roll Out

The next step in setting up your new call-off system rollout would be to educate and tell your users about your new system because all your employees and team leaders and managers will be using this. Ensure that enough information reaches all employees and teams through your usual communication channels.

All your teams concerned and individual employees should receive enough information on how the new call-off system works. Otherwise, it won’t be fair to expect them to use the new system and comply with your attendance policies and call-in procedures if they don’t know anything about them.

Thus, here is some of the basic information that the employees should know:

  • They should receive the hotline number, which should be posted in conspicuous places in the workplace and sent to their emails.
  • They should receive paper copies or digital files containing the updated attendance policies.
  • They should receive enough information on how to access the portal or platform where they can do the call-in procedure.
  • They should know about the details and notifications that they’re going to receive and what they should expect.
  • For their part, the supervisors should be trained in using the call-in system. They should learn how to use its portal or platform and how to go about manipulating at least some of its basic functionalities. They should also know how to add records, send notifications, and run manual reports.

6. Use Attendance Data And Tools To Continuously Enhance Operations

Finally, consider leveraging your attendance data and absence management call-in tools to identify ways by which you can continuously enhance your business operations and workflow. Remember that your new call-off system has multiple features and functionalities aside from recording attendance violations. Take the time to explore its features and how you can use its various functionalities to improve your business operations and workflows continuously.

Here are some of the data stored in that call-off system that you can use:

  • Historical data on the attendance of individual employees and their respective departments
  • Data on the shifts of teams and individuals
  • Current point allocation
  • Data on notifications sent to an employee as well as previous warnings
  • Reasons were given by the employee for calling in
  • Infractions committed by the employee, if any
  • Incidents that may have occurred, with records of day and time committed

Here are the multiple ways by which you can make use of the historical data stored in your call-in system:

  • Forecasting attendance of employees daily, weekly, and monthly
  • Find out whether the attendance policies you formulated have been useful in increasing attendance levels. Try to get a sense of whether warnings and incentives have been effective ways to encourage better attendance among your employees.
  • Spotting potential abuse among individual employees who may have already established patterns of behavior that are unacceptable
  • Analysis of trends to help with monitoring of cases and following up on how to prevent the same cases from occurring


Companies need to set up the right call-off system that their employees can reach as soon as possible when they have to say that they won’t be able to report for work. This is crucial to business operations because team leads and supervisors would need to know how many and who among their employees would be available for work on any given day. It helps fill in employee shortages immediately so business operations won’t be affected despite attendance issues. Setting up an employee call-off hotline would ensure that a company can streamline its absence management system, reduce absenteeism and attrition levels, and enhance business operations, furthering business growth in the long run.