(Philippines) Recently health officials reminded workers in Cebu’s business process outsourcing (BPO) sector to be more mindful of their lifestyle choices following the release of a study that shows call center agents may be exposed to more health risks due to the nature of their work. However, this wake-up call is not only intended for Cebu’s BPO call agent only it’s intended for all Call Center agents all over the Philippines.
With the rapidly increasing call center industry, more and more people are engaged in countless hours of grueling training and practicing on how to handle calls, file reports, schedule personnel and inventory checks, and more. With globalization, the different call centers required shifts even during the graveyard time frame, which means that call center agents would have to endure the normal sleeping hours working just to accommodate transaction calls from halfway around the world. Staying healthy in the call center industry is simple and defined into four simple keywords: coffee, cigarette, alcohol, and sex.
With the long continuous and tedious hours in which the agent endures sitting idly talking to a headset, it would definitely cause the body to slow down and lessen the person’s capability to circulate the blood within. This causes a reflex action of yawning, which signifies a greater need for oxygen in the respiratory – cardiovascular area. It would also manifest a sense of sleepiness.
As a result of this common phenomenon, coffee has been one of the mainstays of the call center agents, and personnel’s alike to combat sleepiness and degradation of competent performance. Even if the direct effect of coffee on the body is to keep us awake, there are detrimental effects of too much coffee such as possible kidney complications and dehydration.
Lessening the amount of coffee per day would also lessen the amount of urged moments for the agent to go to the bathroom. Furthermore, lessening of bone density has been found on chronic coffee drinkers.
Another avenue for stress release of agents in the call center industry is by lighting up a cigarette or two during break time or lunch hour. Many of these agents claim that the habit of lighting up a cigarette during a free time not only increases their social sphere but also lessens their anxiety and work-related stressors.
However, we all know the negative effects of cigarettes on the lungs and body of a smoker. For one, the smoke coming from the cigarettes passes through our respiratory system. This smoke is a combination of impure particles which we allow to reach our lungs and attach to our bronchioles. A gradual and significant blocking of the smoke in the linings of the bronchioles would lessen the amount of oxygen exchanged between, which causes us to have difficulty in breathing.
After work shift hours, one of the usual stress release methods of agents is to go to the local hangout place and have a round or two of alcoholic drinks. This happens especially when salaries have been doled out. However, when alcohol is excessively ingested, could damage the liver. The liver is man’s natural fat and alcohol synthesizer. An excessive alcohol load on the liver to synthesize in frequency may cause the liver to a malfunction or lead to alcohol-induced cirrhosis.
The dramatic increase in the number of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases rose from 528 in 2008 to an alarming 709 cases last year. Lack of HIV awareness and “risky behavior” may be the common reasons for contracting HIV. Their behavior in having sex with multiple partners, engaging in unprotected sex, sharing of syringes, having sex with the same sex and engaging in casual sex is considered one of the reasons call center agent is included in the list of majority HIV infected individuals.
These four things are the main culprits in lessening the health status of call center agents. Staying healthy in this concept would entail being able to say no or lessen these four culprits. Staying in the call center industry is technically a tedious and health taxing job to undergo, especially due to the high demand for work. Nevertheless, substitutes for these may come in the form of healthy fruit juice, or eat healthy foods; healthy lifestyle and regular exercise. It is a matter of initiative and choice for one to stay healthy when faced with a situation, and lastly, abstinence is the best way not to acquire the AIDS virus. If abstinence is hard, then stick to partners that you personally know and practice same-sex. High ethical sensibility is also significant to get rid of the temptations. Finally, one has to have the common sense to regulate his lifestyle even in an irregular situation.