Aches, Pains, And Ailments

Following on from previous blogs about the ease of falling sick in the call centre, it’s not just people going to work sick that are the problem. There’s also the hazard of the aches, pains, ailments from the job itself and the equipment being used.

It’s normally very busy and we are requested to give a lot of information when setting up a policy, as well as the normal daily customer service ad answering enquiries. It’s important, if not crucial, to keep a drink on the desk as talking so much dries the throat and it can become very sore very quickly. This obviously leads to the problem of wanting the loo frequently. We are allowed 15 minutes during the day for toilet breaks, this is on top of breaks and lunch. It’s very easy to go over this, even when breaks and lunch are used for the toilet too, as we all drink a lot of water, tea and coffee, which are diuretics, and pop. Caffeine, which is in a lot of fizzy drinks, as well as tea and coffee, is also a diuretic.

We also wear a headset and all too often the customers come through on a bad line, or eating, coughing, sniffing, clearing their throats, shouting, or just speaking too fast that we can’t get a word in edgeways. It often causes headaches or earache. The stress it generates creates back and neck strain. We get eye strain from staring at the computer so much and from the overhead lights. Then there’s the constantly changing temperature. Every day it’s hot then cold, hot then cold, hot then cold…My jumper’s on then off, on then off, on then off…

Then there’s the desk hopping. When you’ve finished for the day, or if you’re not in, there’s often someone who will sit at your desk so they can chat to a mate. The slightest cough over the keyboard and you’ve had it. Or if they have a cold and rub their nose. You get the picture? I keep a pack of disinfectant wipes in my bag. They kill 99.9% of germs – so it says on the packet.

And there’s the noise in the call centre. People around you are normally on the phone. If they’re not then they’re chatting, laughing, joking, or sometimes shouting across the bay to another bay. I can’t count the amount of times I have had to ask people to keep quiet because I’m straining to hear a customer. And more often than not, it’s the managers not the agents who are causing the noise.

The worst problem by far is the total lack of hygiene of some people. I’ve seen people picking their nose and wiping it under the desk, and I know people who can’t be bothered to wash their hands after going to the toilet. In fact the state of the toilets and what the cleaners have to put up with will be the subject of another blog – not to be read whilst eating.

Not only do we have to have a thick skin to deal with the irate, aggressive, and plain rude customers (not all of them thank goodness), we also need a super human immune system to just survive work.

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