Study Finds U.K. Agents Suffering in Contact Centers
September 17, 2008
It really should not be any surprise to learn that for some individuals working in the contact center industry, their chosen profession can be a detriment to their health. Whether they have a hard time handling the stress of the job or their environment is not designed around ergonomics, the reality is that the job can be tasking for some – even to the point of causing long term problems.
Research carried out by Coleman Parkes on behalf of NB Data, a U.K. telecoms distributor, has found that nearly half of all U.K. businesses – contact centers included – are risking the long-term health of their employees by using unsuitable equipment in the office.
Employees in the U.K. are suffering from ‘phone-neck’, which is a form of repetitive strain injury. Of those respondents who use either fixed-line headsets or a traditional handset in their day-to-day role, 42 percent had experienced neck pain during the past year.
Nearly two thirds of respondents indicate that their phone use exceeds five hours per day and another 30 percent spend between three to five hours on the phone every day. Of those that use a fixed line headset or traditional handset, 75 percent feel chained to their desk by this technology.
Another 64 percent of those surveyed believe that having cordless headsets would allow them to be more productivity by enabling them to work in any office location. The challenge within the contact center is that agents still need to be able to have access to their desktop information in order to properly manage a customer interaction.
“It’s incredible that employees are spending up to five hours a day on the phone. By providing wrong, outdated equipment, companies are jeopardizing their greatest asset, their staff. Dragging their feet over equipment issues is simply not acceptable,” said Gary Basso, director, NB Data, in a company statement.
“Relatively low levels of investment in the short-term to upgrade kit will ultimately pay dividends as companies will slash time out of the office for avoidable sick days,” added Basso.
As a result of this research, NB Data has established five top tips that serve as a useful reminder of the easily overlooked health and safety issues affecting employers and employees who regularly use telecom equipment at work.
These tips include proper seating to encourage good posture; constant and moderate volume control on the headset; good headset and voice tube hygiene; headsets used specifically for only one person; and re-hydration and good nutrition. While some may always find contact center work to be stressful, following these tips can at least help to promote a more healthy work environment.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart