Working in the BPO industry’s call center department has its financial rewards, but at a trade-off to one’s health as working in different shifts to catch western hemisphere’s time zone displaces one’s natural body clock.
In recent years, the Department of Health (DOH) has issued many warnings regarding the high-risk that call center professionals are facing due to the nature of their work. When combined with an unhealthy lifestyle that includes smoking, alcohol consumption and the lack of medical attention to one’s health, it could lead to cardiovascular diseases and other health complications.
In a landmark partnership, the Department of Health has announced a partnership with Johnson & Johnson to address the health risks that many of the Filipino call center professionals are facing. The call center workforce is estimated at around 1.3 Million across the country.
“Due to the invaluable contribution of the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) employees to the country’s economy, the Department of Health enters into partnership with J & J,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said in a statement published by the Manila Bulletin.
“Additionally, the BPO industry is said to be among the fastest growing sectors in the Philippines. These BPO employees represent a significant portion of our country’s workforce today, thus it is imperative that we address every health risk that they face in their work including lack of sleep, job-related stress which they try to counteract with unhealthy lifestyles, among others,” Ms Ubial added.
Furthermore, Ms Ubial cited the study published by the International Labor Organization Asia-Pacific Working Paper Series, titled “Business Process Outsourcing in the Philippines: Challenges for Decent Work,” authored by researchers Lorenza Errighi, Charles Bodwell and Sameer Khatiwada in December 2016.
“The study referred to a study by a certain Amante in 2010 that found high levels of stress common in the BPO sector, particularly in contact centers. It further said that on the average, call center agents entertained 78 calls each per day that could go up to 100 calls on a busy day. Agents had to respond to at least 91 percent of these calls within 22 seconds, and then were given five to six minutes to address clients’ requests,” cited Ms Ubial.
BPO Employees are at risk for high blood pressure, over-fatigueness and the weakening of their immune system against pathogens like influenza.
As a result of the partnership, the DOH and Johnson & Johnson has established the BPO Health Care Program. The collaboration program aims to provide quality coverage consisting of health care information to be distributed to all call center professionals in the country. Additionally, the program aims to train health care professionals with modules specifically for the BPO industry. This is to better diagnose the commonly associated health risks in the BPO call center environment. This aims to improve the long term health outcomes for BPO professionals.
The BPO Health care Program will start for implementation in the 4th quarter of 2017 and a series of activities will kick-off the program. The program will continue until 2018. The aim is to reach all BPO call center professionals with access to quality health care diagnosis.