Call centres – the reality

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Call centres – the realityOn 1 Nov 2001 in Musculoskeletal disorders, Personnel Today The call centre is a unique working environment where good management isvital to the health and happiness of its staffWhat is it really like working in a call centre? With more than 13 years ofpractical experience at all levels in call centres before turning consultant,Becky Simpson, managing director of Improvement Solutions, was able to shareher personal experiences with the audience. Her talk covered the sort of best practice regimes that employers can use tominimise stress levels in call centres, ranging from rest breaks to measures tocombat eye, limb and back strain. She also looked at the impact of poormanagement practice on the health of call centre staff. The call centre, she pointed out, is a unique working environment. Nowhereelse are staff: – Managed minute by minute – Told when they can have a break and leave their desk – Tethered to their desk with a headset – Expected to work for more than 80 per cent of their working hours – Carrying out a role where monotony and routine are commonplace – Isolated from much of the rest of the organisation. She broke down the occupational health hazards faced by call centre workersinto a number of different categories. The environment (lighting, temperature, ventilation and noise) wasdiscussed. Screen glare caused by poor lighting, inadequate ventilation to copewith the high density of people and equipment, and noise making it difficult tohear the caller are all common features of the call centre environment. The workstation ergonomics need to be carefully addressed if the operativeis not to fall prey to eye strain or musculoskeletal disorders and rest breaksof 10 minutes every two hours are considered best practice, ideally taken in aseparate rest area. Indicators used to measure productivity include the number of calls handledper person per hour, average call duration, number of outbound calls made andaverage speed of answer. All these are easily measurable but create poor qualityand cause stress. Putting quality measurement indicators in place which emphasise criteriasuch as the rate at which problems are resolved at the first point of contact,the accuracy of data entry and the number of complaints and complimentsreceived gives a more balanced view. Regular training and creating opportunities to involve staff indecision-making all help reduce stress levels and frustration and increaseenjoyment for call centre operatives. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

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