1011 — Call centre “community sharing” could benefit occupational health, HSE says

Jan 12, 2004 | Conteúdos Em Ingles

A new approach of “community sharing” in the call centre industry could improve their occupational health record and benefit UK industry overall, says the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The report, “Psychosocial Risk Factors in Call Centres: An Evaluation of Work Design and Well-Being”, supports the view that psychosocial issues are a major contributory factor to poor mental health among call centre employees. The research indicates that working as a call handler is more stressful than working in other jobs, although not all staff are affected equally, or by the same factors.

The research recognised that working in some call centre environments – such as telecommunications and IT business sectors – more directly affected their well-being. Other contributing factors included working in 50+ AP ’s call centres, those on permanent contracts, agents following strict scripts and staff who had their performance measured.

Researchers recognise that there are encouraging signs of action by call centre managers and owners to change not only the perception of the industry by positive moves being made to meet the needs of existing staff.

Allan Davies, head of HSE’s Local Authority Unit, is optimistic that the work on psychosocial effects on staff will have a positive outcome: “HSE hope the new research will provide local authority environmental health officers (EHOs) with useful information to help call centre managers and employees overcome some of the psychosocial difficulties and problems they may encounter.”

Chris Rowe, head of HSE’s Psychosocial Policy Unit responsible for work related stress, said: “No two workplaces are the same and no two workforces are the same. It is not possible to prescribe a set of solutions for all causes of work related stress. But there are some common themes, and there will be some similarity of experiences.

“The new guidance we have published is designed to enable employers to work with their employees to identify and devise workplace solutions that address specific issues identified in specific workplaces. The guide does include a specific case study from a call centre and the lessons available from the other case studies could equally apply to this work environment.”

The quantitative research report presents findings from a larger scale (questionnaire-based) study conducted by the Health and Safety Laboratory and includes data from 36 call centres and over 1100 call centre employees.


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