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Health issues of outsourced call center agents

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  • Health issues of outsourced call center agents

    The call center is one unique industry because majority of the employees are in another country. The main complaint of the call center agents here is the time difference of our country vis-a-vis the host country. Usually the daytime there is night time here and there are hosts that start work before midnight and ends at dawn. The impact on the health of those employees should be given emphasis because they get sick mostly because of the shift schedules.

  • #2
    Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

    I agree. I haven't worked at a call center office before but have many friends and relatives that did over the years and I heard lots of stories. I think some of them have resident physicians but I guess that is more for just emergencies and probably the more general sense of staying healthy is still left up to the employees themselves.

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    • #3
      Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

      People don't get sick because of being up in the early morning hours. They get sick because of bacteria and viruses. There is nothing scientific about being up late at night that will get you sick unless it is below zero weather. In the Philippines they believe weird superstitions and non factual events to explain sicknesses.

      If anything, a call center agent is exposed to 100 plus operators in the same room and therefore are exposed to possible transfer of sickness from other employees. It's just like when you are on a plane for 10 hours. You will get something from someone else that is coughing on the plane.

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      • #4
        Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

        Well, if you change the working hours for call center employees frequently, then their health will definitely suffer. However, if a call center keeps an employee on only set working hours, chances are that they won't get sick unless they catch something. So, the key is to keep the working hours consistent. The human body clock is not meant to change hours every week.

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        • #5
          Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

          Originally posted by djchain View Post
          Well, if you change the working hours for call center employees frequently, then their health will definitely suffer. However, if a call center keeps an employee on only set working hours, chances are that they won't get sick unless they catch something. So, the key is to keep the working hours consistent. The human body clock is not meant to change hours every week.
          That is the issue in the so called rotation of shifts because some call center agents are asked to work for 16 hours straight when the agent for the next shift is not coming. That means he gets only a few hours of rest and then work again for 8 hours. With the changing of shifts, it is a minimum of 2 weeks to make it comfortable to adjust to the new work schedule. But again, when some agents wouldn't come to work then some have to take over the chore regardless of the shift they were assigned in.

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          • #6
            Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

            I don't see the reason why the workers would become ill because of shift schedules. The shift system has been around in other industries long before there were call centres and the workers have been able to cope with the changes all along. In the call centre business the shift rotation usually last for a period of two weeks.Therefore, there is usually frequent relief from any particular shift.

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            • #7
              Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

              The reason why most call center agents get sick is mainly because of their lifestyle and stress. I have worked in a BPO before and I've seen more of these. Most of the agents got sick because of night shifts which caused them to be anemic. Staying up late up to morning (regularly) can cause low blood pressure. Some had UTI's because of not urinating and holding it for a long period of time because of the queuing calls. Most call center agents have a not-so-good lifestyle as well. They go out and drink right after duty, especially during pay day. They smoke a lot at work because of too much stress from customers and callers. They drink tons of coffees and energy drink which aren't really liver friendly. Not to mention that we sit the entire shift, not unless you would stand up or stretch.

              So there can be a lot of reasons as to why some if not all got sick while in a BPO because of these. But I guess it also depends on the individual if they'll take care of themselves or not.

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              • #8
                Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                This calls for concern having to break the night working. Looks like working against the order of nature and may have some health implications on the employee. For example, people with episodes or issues of occasional high blood pressure may really need time to rest and sleep at night. Night work may pose a threat to the health of these kinds of people. Employers should understand these while outsourcing jobs

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                • #9
                  Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                  The Reason why I did not try working in call centers is because of this. Staying awake until dawn is bad enough for the body, what more if you would be stressed while taking calls around this time? Most agents that I know are too stressed out, overweight and have health problems.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                    I worked as a call center agent for two months or so during my early career and as OP rightly pointed out it will adversely affect our health. We were having night shifts as the customers were from foreign countries. Sleep is an important function for over all well being of your health. If you can't sleep well, like a computer you are prone to over heat which result in a lot of issues.

                    Yes, there is enough time to sleep in day time but as you know when other people are still active in the house a peaceful sleep is not possible. Sleep is only effective if can do it at a stretch and if something disturbs you like outside noises you are not going to get the benefit. If you are short of sleep it's like a bank balance which gets accumulated over time. That's why I left the call center job as I was not able to take it anymore.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                      Originally posted by djchain View Post
                      Well, if you change the working hours for call center employees frequently, then their health will definitely suffer. However, if a call center keeps an employee on only set working hours, chances are that they won't get sick unless they catch something. So, the key is to keep the working hours consistent. The human body clock is not meant to change hours every week.
                      I quite agree health issues are most likely to arise if the shift of the call workers are changed too often. The body begin to change adaptation too often and that can upset the general health of the individual. Our body once used to a particular life plan should be allowed to keep that for months before any change the body needs time to adapt.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                        I know of so many people working in call centers. One thing I notice in them is their smoking. Mist if them are chain smokers and some even learned smoking when they became call center agents. The health issue may be related to that smoking habit since it us not good to smoke when you are tired sleepy. They say that smoking relieves them of stress. I understand that the job of a call center agent is very stressful. But smoking can negatively affect their physical well-being.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                          I guess there is no right or wrong answers here. If you are working in a call center all you need is to adjust well to the environment- Eat nutritious food, take vitamins and most importantly take enough sleep.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                            Working through out the night is dangerous to the health of the individual. This negative development in most cases mean the call center agent isn't having adequate sleep.If the trend of work continues for years I am afraid this may cause serious health problems especially for the advanced adults. If one must work at night then make sure to have enough sleep at least seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep during the day. I guess this can help health wise.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Health issues of outsourced call center agents

                              Human body is not nocturnal in nature. Humans are supposed to work during the day and sleep at night. However, in the modern world, not everyone gets a day time job, there are millions of people who work at night. Efficiency of night time worker is always lesser than those who work during the day. If there is a compulsion to work at the night, human body can slowly adapt to the working condition. However, if the shift is changed too often, body will find hard to adapt, which poses health risks.

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