Call Center Jobs Require Too Much Sitting
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
Is it your responsibility to keep your employees healthy? While many companies might think the answer is “no,” smart companies know that helping your employees stay healthy is a good investment in your company’s future and will be less expensive in the long run than dealing with high turnover or paying disability costs.
While call centers may not be dangerous places to work, there is significant opportunity for injury, particularly repetitive motion injuries, skeletal and muscular injuries due to prolonged sitting and even raised blood pressure and heart problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, call center agents are also prone to hearing injuries called “acoustic shock” from hearing too-loud sounds through a headset.
Smart call centers understand that protecting their employees from all of the above is a good move. Call center employee turnover tends to be high even in a perfect world: employees that are not protected from injury will turn over even faster (and possible pursue litigation against the call center).
Sitting for prolonged periods has been linked to a host of health problems and even a shortened life span. A study that appeared earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that prolonged sitting is a risk factor for earlier death, even if the subject is otherwise physically active.
Canadian office furniture company Belair Office Products is hoping to aid call centers that put an emphasis on employee health. The company recently introduced a new line of call center office furniture designed to maintain customer service representative health. The line, called Altitude, is a series of sit-stand desks that can be used either for sitting while working or converted into a desk that can be used in a standing position, allowing agents flexibility throughout the day in their working position and cutting down on the amount of time they sit.
“We are sitting longer and longer for work. It is a big part of our degrading health," said Scott Vanderform, leader of the Ontario office furniture manufacturer, Belair Office Products, maker of the Altitude line. "Almost weekly there have been articles in the news about the dangers of sitting too long. With screen-oriented-work becoming our norm, this danger is ruining our health.”
The Altitude line is fully adjustable and can offer the user a variety of ways to work, and they are also easy to move into the desired set-up.
"The big thing is convenience,” said Vanderform. “It needs to be super simple for an office worker to work with more body movement. People need to be able to work standing and sitting without having to stop and think about their health."
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli