HSE study reveals stress in call centres

Staff
in call centres should be given better training and more time to recover after
receiving an abusive call, according to new advice to employers.

A
major new study by the Health and Safety Executive has revealed that call
centres have a unique environment and that working practices are more intense
than other office-based jobs.

The
industry now employs around 2 million staff and despite dispelling the notion
that all call centres are sweatshops, the HSE found that many employees feel
stressed at work.

The
research found that half of those questioned were permanently monitored
electronically to measure performance and a further four out of five were judged
on the duration of calls and the time lags between them.

The
HSE has issued new guidelines and recommended better training for call handlers
to enable them to cope with the levels of abuse from irate callers.

Bill
Callaghan, chairman of the HSE, said that the research would benefit employers
and staff.

"We
want to help those who work in call centres and those who manage them. This
research will both help to spread good practice and eliminate those examples of
bad practice revealed by the report.

"It
will help call centre employers control the occupational health hazards in this
sector and promote a better quality working environment," he said.

The
HSE is analysing the findings to identify the extent of the risks and will
publish more results next spring.

www.hse.gov.uk

 

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