Health Issues faced by BPO Employees - Health Fitness India

Health Issues faced by BPO Employees - Health Fitness India

From http://www.trikal.org/ictbm11/pdf/OB/D1241-done.pdf

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Some of the health issues faced by BPO employees are:

Tension

Sleeplessness

Headaches

Eye-strain

Repetitive strain injury (RSI)

Voice loss, hearing problems and burn-out.

· Sleeping Disorders

One major severe ailment afflicting people working in Indian call centers is the sleeping disorder. Not only the freshers, even the experienced managers are unable to escape it. Some call centers are looking at devising innovative mechanisms like flexible shifts with sleeping arrangements in the office premises.

· Digestive System Related Problems

Working long hours and odd hours without any sleep, and eating food supplied by external caterers every day, has led to employees suffering from digestive disorders. Especially for the large number of girls working in the industry, the problem is even more severe. Many call centers are now taking additional care to ensure their caterers supply hygienic food; besides stipulating strict conditions to maintain the quality of the food they serve.

· Depression

The gradual realization that there are limited scopes in developing a career owing to fewer growth opportunities is increasing the frustration levels in the BPO industry. Coupled with growing mental fatigue and increasingly punishing physical environments, depression is the obvious end result. Some call centers have now devised different stress management programs mainly to counter depression.

· Eyesight Problems

Globally call center employees are considered a high risk group for eye related problems. While the quality of monitors might impact these disorders, sitting continually without adequate breaks seems to be the truerer reason. While this is already a problem in the IT industry, which some companies have overcome by use of anti-glare monitors.

· Hearing Ailments

A call center job invokes taking calls throughout the shift, sitting with headphones. While quality of headphones does make a difference, it would not be appropriate to say that good quality of headphones can solve this problem; it is more to do with giving rest between calls.

Cultural Shifts

Though on one side we learn to become as professional as western world executives some other disturbing issues are arising. One such serious issue is the personal habits that have undergone a considerable change.

The personal habits, discipline and behavioral issues and detachment with family have been discussed below.

· Personal Habits

The young executives tend to develop certain bad habits such as alcohol, smoking etc. It is not uncommon to find women smoking and drinking alcohol in the BPO setup which is definitely a social stigma in the Indian societies. There are increased concerns about the habits of the employees among the parents, who are not finding it easy to talk to them about their habits, which in no way are welcomed by the Indian families.

Solving such issues lies majorly in the hands of the employees and their employers. Employees can be made to attend counseling sessions of professional counselors. Conducting group counseling, workshops, educative film shows, in order to create awareness on effects of bad habits. Such actions will enable individuals to realize the importance of good habits and they could seek one-to-one counseling sessions.

· Discipline and Behavioral Issues

Call centers provide excellent working environment, free food and transportation. There is always a situation where individual or group of youngsters tend to commit mistakes and abuse the freedom. The most common behavior cited is misuse of food, behave erratically in vans, and smoke in public places, misuse of telephones and other resources of the company. The supervisors themselves reel under the pressure of performance and achieving targets. Hence do not give their time for finding solutions. The professional counselor can play a major role in educating the youngsters on discipline; provide advice to erring executives.

Unacceptable behaviors cause disturbance to others and affects the overall productivity. Continuous education and counseling will help to mitigate such problems and it is possible to change the behavior by adopting a positive approach.

· Detachment from the Family

Since the daytime is spent in sleep and recreational activities with friends. The employees are hardly able to give time for their families. Problems become more pronounced when they get married. Additional responsibilities of running a family demands more time and hence eventually people quit the industry. Most of the employees work on Indian holidays too, which causes frustration. Some employees even feel the need for inclusion in the family and the society. Hence it is important for family members to render support for their young sons and daughters and to help them with the stress that they are undergoing.

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Kindly note that minor health problems unchecked and not cared for can lead to major health problems. In this regard, all BPO employees should regularly visit doctors for general checkup and more as required.

I think that Genetics, Lifestyle and Environment determine a lot about how healthy and fit a life we would live. Research shows that the majority of people do not do the recommended levels of activity which has been putting people at a risk of a range of diseases. Activity has also been shown to reduce the chance of illnesses such as heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers. It can also help improve mental health. In this regard, I wish that the BPO employees do the best that they can to have the best health and fitness as possible while working in the BPO sector. I also wish that the Health and Fitness India network would be of value to them in this regard including towards uplifting the health and fitness of the masses.

I also think that the employers would do better with healthier and fitter employees and so the BPO employers should try to provide whatever that they can to their employees for their health and fitness.

Best,
Shakti

Read the Ergonomics and Exercise Article for Wellness of professionals at workplace (offices etc.)

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