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Call Centers Agents and their Health Issues

By  | 26, Jan 2010 | 8 Comments

The call center has been established as an industry in corporate world of Pakistan only over the last ten years. This industry has given thousands of unemployed graduates an opportunity to start their career without any particular work experience.

Particularly in Pakistan where unemployment rate is very high, fresh graduates take this opportunity as sunshine towards their bright future. This job is not only easily accessible but also does not have any boundaries in entrance.

Job seekers also take this opportunity as a first step towards the corporate world, but unfortunately only few happens to be successful. Most of them remain stucked in this job forever.

Following article, in my opinion, stands valid for both the call centers, serving local customers or abroad customers.

Furthermore they face number of health issues like:

  • Burnout stress syndrome
  • Pressure building
  • Ear problems
  • Heart diseases
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • Stress
  • Loss of sleep
  • Lack of social activities
  • Stomach problems

And some other psychological factors like:

  • Self De-motivation
  • Dis-respected

Now let’s discuss the above mentioned problems and the reasons causing them in detail.

Working environment in call centers

Long hours of work, permanent night shifts, incredibly high work targets, loss of identity are the major reason that threatens the employees of call center in Pakistan. The odd timings and nature of work in call center makes an agent work on a chair for 9 hrs, continuously taking calls and reading a pre-scripted document to gain the customer around the globe.

His every day performance is calculated and is appraised accordingly. A little distraction messes up with his work. All his senses are continuously in action and not only this, the stress he has to face while working could not be measures.

Health issues caused by the working conditions

  • Computer vision syndrome (CVS): according to Wikipedia it is a temporary condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a computer display for protracted, uninterrupted periods of time. Some symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, fatigue, eye strain, dry, irritated eyes, and difficulty refocusing the eyes.

This is a common problem faced by call center agent since the system designed is according to the technology not the employees’ health.

  • Digestive disorders: the employees of call center have also complained about stomach related problem.
  • Losing their voice: it is also suspected that the employees due to frequent speaking are also facing the possibility of losing their voice. For example cough irritation, breathing difficulties and etc.
  • BOSS stands for burnout stress syndrome: as we have already discussed that call center employees have to face continuous work pressure this ultimately result to stress.
  • Heart diseases: the stress also effects heart of the employee and also leads to sleep disorderness.
  • Ear disease: due to sudden high frequency noise, ear of an employee also damages. This may cause permanent deafness.
  • Muscular pain: body pain is a common complaint by call center agents.
  • Social life is also effect affected: due to irregular timings the most important thing that is affected of employee is their social life. An employee especially working at night sleeps at morning so that lessens employee’s social meetings with his friends and family.

Caller abuse:

The employees of customer care have to deal with different type of customers which include some polite customers while others are really aggressive.

The most difficult and tough part for an employee is to deal with an angry customer. Customer when not satisfied with the service of the company or when they don’t wanted to be disturbed they normally get very aggressive. A customer care representative has to not only satisfy a customer but also has to tolerate the abusive languages. He/she tries to remain calm irrespective of how bad he/she is feeling

This result to demotivation and stress in an employee. He feels disrespected and humiliated.

Things that Cell Center Agents Should Get:

  • Healthy Working Environment.
  • High & Equally Reward structure.
  • Fitness Assessments and fitness clubs.
  • Health recreational centers.
  • Transparent incentive and reward policies.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • Especial trainings for night shift call center agents.
  • Periodically checkups of ENT.
  • Flexible office infrastructure.
  • Promotion channels & highly self motivated schemes for call center agents.
  • Giveaways programmes and call center agents personal brandings.

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  • Jamshed

    One of the best read !!!

  • kamran

    i totally agree with u. in some cases things are more worst than what have u mentioned . i am working in ZONG call center and not a getting a single that u mentioned under the head THINGS THAT CALL CENTER AGENT SHOULD GET .not only this we are also deprived of things that are our right. for example we are not given a single peny for working on public holidays. still getting an off in ZONG even for medical reasons is an uphill task. we working in 9 hour shift and are given off after 6 days which is toughest because other call centers are getting atleast two weekly offs.on other hand our supervisors and managers are getting two weekly offs.

  • Mustafa

    Ooops zong!

  • Hammer man

    lol yeh sari services, i.e. :

    * Healthy Working Environment.
    * High & Equally Reward structure.
    * Fitness Assessments and fitness clubs.
    * Health recreational centers.
    * Transparent incentive and reward policies.
    * Flexible working hours.
    * Especial trainings for night shift call
    center agents.
    * Periodically checkups of ENT.
    * Flexible office infrastructure.
    * Promotion channels & highly self motivated
    schemes for call center agents.
    * Giveaways programmes and call center agents
    personal brandings.

    call centers nay provide karni shuru kardeen tau phir csrs ko har mahenay kay end mei adhi(1/2) salary bhi apnay respective call center ko he donate karni paraygi =)

    call center hay koi Multinational company thori :s

    personal note to brother kamran : even ptcl only gives 1 day off after 6 days of work as per my knowledge.
    (not to forget the fact that PTCL’s call center is outsourced)

    But I do agree that a company like Zong should give you atleast some fringe benefits because my comments above were for not meant for Call Centers owned by reputed companies like Zong, Telenor, Warid etc.

  • Arsalan Aamer

    Hello,
    Friends .. Both of u people are just what is right!Iam up there with you .. Being a Call Center Agent of Telenor. I can understand all the problems and crocodiles of the Mission towards death of an Agent is simply just not as simple ..
    Social network of an agent gets Fucked from back side and upside both … The Problem is not that agent cant handle the pressure the Problem in call center is that they dont have Flexibility even if the agents are in problems .

    The Best thing is to get something out of nothing then move from this Hell thats it … and it will gonna work ..

    Look For Better Things !

    Stay Safe ..

    Regards
    Customer Relation Officer
    Telenor – Operations
    TRG – Pakistan
    03452744664
    Mohammad.aamer@trgworld.com

  • http://www.vulms.vu.edu.pk Muhammad Faisal

    I am not agreed with you all. There is no chance for fresh graduates to earn money through the call centers. after getting the degree of graduation no one say he is now secure even calls centers are can not fill up the unemployment. Fresh graduates are behind the wall rather old graduates are facing such type of problem.

  • http://www.nlchiropracticlajolla.com/ Marybeth Varron

    Awesome. Thanks for typing this. Its always great to see someone give back to the interet.

  • Mikee M.

    Do you have any study or was there any documentation on proving those aforementioned health risks?