Do Call Center Agents 'Stand' a Chance of Getting Healthy?
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
In a busy society where people are always "on the go," it seems somewhat silly that obesity is a problem among U.S. citizens. For some, the problem is lack of exercise and/or too much processed foods. It could also be the nature of their job - if a person sits all day, can they be healthy?
In the call center environment, sitting for long periods is one of the requirements of the job. It does "stand" to reason that an individual would need to sit at a desk to be able to use the computer and the telephone to easily handle calls. If an individual is sitting all of the time, is it detrimental to their health? If the answer is yes, could the call center organization make a difference if they took a different focus with their call center furniture?
Ergonomic workstations have certainly gotten much attention in the call center arena as working efficiently and comfortably are as important to the individual as it is to the company. With adjustable height workstations, such as those made by call center furniture provider Interior Concepts, call center agents can make the necessary adjustments to work more comfortable.
Misconceptions in the area of call center furniture suggest that the only way to provide adjustable height workstations are to have the entire workstation move up and down with a crank or push button power mechanism. The problem with such an approach is that it is costly to have the entire workstation move up and down, and it can be time consuming and difficult to adjust the height of the workstation.
Another challenge to such a scenario is the reality that height adjustability by moving the entire worksurface up and down in a singular motion is not necessarily the most ergonomic solution since the other components may not have the capability of independent adjustments.
Comfort is important in the call center, but so is health. For the agent who sits all day on call center furniture, weight gain is likely. There is a way to change this environment, however, as Interior Concepts' sit-to-stand workstations can transition from sitting to standing by using a keyboard tray and monitor arm with enough adjustment to be used while in a sitting or standing position. Such a set-up of the call center furniture can be accomplished with 95 percent of the agent population.
An interesting study featured in the New York Times found that those who stood all day doing nothing other than standing burned hundreds of calories more than a group of individuals sitting all day. For both men and women in this study, standing burned multiple calories, but did not ignite hunger. The researcher noted that if you want to lose weight, you don't necessarily have to go for a long run: "Just get rid of your chair."
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 Patrick Barnard