Course Content - Intermediate
Time Based Scheduling
Welcome to the online training series from 3CX. This module will explain the time based scheduling of 3CX, where you can configure the extensions to automatically switch their status based on the time of the day.
In this module, we will focus on the automatic routing of destinations based on the time of the day.
This will affect the inbound rules and where they route the calls to, as they have a different routing based on whether it is in-office hours or out-of-office hours.
This will also affect the way calls to extensions are routed as there are 3 different time based routings which can be configured.
We will also see how holidays are handled in 3CX.
Office hours are defined with 3 distinct states, based on time.
In-office hours define the hours when the staff are active, and working at their desks.
Break times denote lunch time, when the employees are away for lunch. The break times will only be applied to calls routed to extensions. Inbound rules do not have break times applied to them
Out of Office hours denote the hours of the day the employees are not working.
These three states can alter the behaviour of inbound rules, as the calls will be routed differently based on the time of day.
When a call eventually reaches an extension the time of the day will also affect the routing of the call as an extension can have its own forwarding rules.
The PBX has global office hours. This is a day by day, Monday to Sunday schedule, which can be used to define the hours of the company for the entire week.
This repeats every week.
With the Global Office Hours, you can define when the entire PBX will be:
In office hours. This is usually when all employees are in the office
Break times. This will only affect the extensions, however, and will not have any effect on the inbound rules.
Out of Office hours. This will apply the after hours routing, when the company is closed. This will also be the time the restrictions for blocking calls outside office hours for an extension will take effect, as mentioned in Module 2.1 - Extension Settings.
The setting up of the office hours can be done in the Settings page of the Management Console, by the “Timezone, Office Hours & Holidays” button
Configure the Office Hours and the Break Times. Just a reminder that the break times will only take effect on the extensions and not on the inbound rules.
All other times will be considered as out of office hours. Please note that you will not configure out of office hours on the PBX. These will be implied, based on the configuration of the Office hours.
The PBX also provides the option of configuring specific office hours for both Inbound Rules as well as extensions. This is particularly handy and is used in cases where you have a PBX which may not have a set time schedule or may work around the clock but will have, for example, DIDs which service different regions around the world.
You may have extensions which work in shifts. These extensions will have specific office hours which will be able to have a different time schedule to the main office hours of the PBX.
These specific office hours of an extension or inbound rules will override the Global Office Hours.
Everyone loves a holiday. Holidays are different around the world, with some countries being luckier than others, having more holidays than others.
3CX is capable of catering for all countries, and can even define partial, or half day holidays. You can set specific hours of a single day as a holiday and this can cater for partial day holidays, for example Christmas Eve, which a lot of companies worldwide provide this as a partial holiday.
A range of days is also possible to configure making configuration of multi-day holidays easier for the administrator.
Holidays can be defined on an annual basis for fixed date holidays as well as a per year basis for variable date holidays.
Holidays will define when the entire PBX is in holiday mode. An extension or DID may be exempt from the holiday settings by a checkbox located within their configuration.
Holidays in the PBX can be easily configured. In the settings page of the 3CX Management Console, click the “Timezone, Office Hours & Holidays” button.
Define which days are holidays. Each holiday can have its own individual prompt, allowing you to wish callers a happy holiday and inform them that the office or company is closed, and the reason why.
Configuring the in and out of office hours routing of the DIDs is done from the inbound rules.
Select your inbound rule and configure the routing destination for the in and out of office hours accordingly.
The Global Office Hours will be used if the “Set up Specific Office Hours for this Trunk” option is not selected.
To configure Specific Office Hours for an inbound rule, you will need to check the “Set up Specific Office Hours for this trunk” option underneath the routing options.
Set the specific times you need for this inbound rule. The Global Office Hours will now be ignored and these custom times will be used. As mentioned before, this is very useful if the PBX is serving many regions worldwide, and you need to define different office hours for different regions served by different DIDs.
You will need to enable your holiday prompts from the inbound routing of the SIP Trunk, or activate these from the Inbound Rules, in order for a caller to hear the holiday prompt.
From within the Inbound rules, check the option “Play holiday prompt when it’s a global holiday”.
When a Global Holiday date and time is active, the Global and Specific Office Hours of an Inbound Rule are ignored.
The caller will hear the prompt which was configured for that holiday. After the prompt is played, the caller will then be transferred to the HOL Digital Receptionist. This Digital Receptionist will give you the opportunity to give the caller an additional message and optionally give the caller a list of options, for example, to leave a message.
The call will then be handled by the Digital Receptionist and its normal call flow. More information about the Digital Receptionists can be found in Module 3.4 - Digital Receptionists.
In Module 2.1 Extension Settings, we saw that an extension has forwarding rules, which you can use to forward calls accordingly, depending on the profile status which is chosen.
It was also mentioned that the profile status can change automatically, according to the time of day. This is configured from the Forwarding rules.
In the Available status configuration, there is an “Auto Switch” section.
Enable the “Set to Available during office hours” option, which you can see highlighted in red. The configuration of this option will be covered shortly.
The PBX will now follow these hours and automatically switch the extension’s status according to the time of the day.
- During office hours, the “Available” status will be chosen
- During break times, the “Away” status will be chosen.
- Outside office hours, that is, the rest of the hours of the day which are not defined, the “Do not Disturb” status will be chosen.
The extension will now behave according to the new profile status.
When you enable the “Set to Available during office hours” option, you will be able to configure the Office Hours which will be used for the extension, to change the Profile Status automatically.
Choosing the option “This extension uses Global Office Hours”, the extension will change its profile status according to the PBX Global Office Hours.
You can then define specific Break Times, for an individual extension, if Break Times are not configured in the Global Office Hours, or if this extension and it’s user, follow different Break Times.
Alternatively, you can also define specific office hours for the extension, which will allow you to switch the profile status according to a more customised schedule, as was mentioned before as an example, for a shift worker.
The extension will use “Specific Office Hours” in this case. You can also define custom break times for this extension. This schedule will now apply, only for this extension.
A lot of people confuse the concept of the office hours which can be configured in 3CX. Let me clarify a few things about the office hours.
The office hours can only be defined as times between midnight, that is 00:00 all the way up to 23:59. You cannot define office hours for example from 11pm, or 23:00 to 07:00.
In this particular case, you will need to define the hours as 00:00 to 07:00 and 23:00 to 23:59 in the next day's configuration. This will configure two distinct office hours periods, for one continuous shift, but as the shift spans over two days, this will need to be configured over two separate days.
Also, there seems to be some confusion over the break times and what can be configured.
Break times should only be configured within the office hours. If your office hours are 09:00 to 17:00, your break times can be any time between 09:01 and 16:59. You cannot have break times outside of office hours.
It is possible to have multiple office hours, for example, in a restaurant, where you can have a lunch and dinner shift, with no overlapping office hours. Break times can be configured for each of the shifts individually. The time between the shifts will be considered out of office hours.
Thank you, and goodbye!