E-SAT SURVEY 2005: The Health Factor

Intense stress resulting from 24×7 shifts, long hours at
work, night shifts, pressure to perform on metrics and high call volumes tend to
affect the health of workers. There are often cases of absenteeism but so far
there is no report that directly correlates BPO-related ailments to the high
turnover in the industry. Common ailments among BPO executives are sleeping
disorders, insomnia, digestive system-related disorders, eyesight problems, ear
problems, among others.

Particular illness people developed after joining this job 

Figures except base are percentage of employees who named these illnesses they developed after joining a BPO

Health: Digestive Problems &
Depression

Digestive problems and gastroenteritis takes its toll on the overall system and
results in severe stomach problem. Coupled with all the other problems is
depression. Staying up at ungodly hours tends to affect peace of mind.
Short-term benefit that arises from good pay soon loses its charm and takes a
backseat, while factors like lack of a career path, uncertain future, distance
from the family, absence of adequate holidays, and monotony add to the
depression. However, only 9% of the respondents agreed that depression is a
reason for concern, a drop of nearly 15% points from last year. Are depression
levels declining at Indian BPO? Possibly. Thanks to media attention, there’s
growing awareness about the BPO industry and what is expected from people
working in the industry.

Health: Sleeping Disorders
Over 34% of respondents complained of sleep disorders. Most customers of
Indian BPOs come from the US and UK. So, employees work on UK/US shifts and
typically spend long hours in the night, at the office. Abnormal timings have a
two-fold effect on call center executives-freshers are required to adapt
themselves to a different biological clock and existing employees often suffer
from insomnia.

Health: Eyesight problems
More and more BPO executives are complaining of eyesight problems. Long
hours in front of the computer tend to exhaust the eyes. Employees face problems
like irritation, and watering of the eyes. Absence of adequate breaks and sleep
adds to the stress levels and put pressure on the eyes. Nearly 19% of the
respondents complained of eye problems this year.

Health: Lethargy
It looks at more and more employees in the BPO industry are showing greater
acceptance a BPO job. Only 12% of the employees expressed problems from lethargy
this year as opposed to 23% last year. Lethargy, typically, arises from monotony
and lack of excitement at work. A fall in levels of lethargy that employee
experience could only arise from the fact that people have realized that it
makes more sense to live with the realities of the BPO industry and adapt
themselves to struggle and survive.

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