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Stress Problem in BPO Sector

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Business process outsourcing, the most flourishing Indian industry sector has emerged as India’s most promising sector, and has been growing at a rate of 40-50 per cent since its inception. BPO is a very fast paced and a high momentum industry. BPO industry is expected to generate one million jobs by the year 2008. Taking advantage form the abundant skills and low cost benefits, large number of BPO companies have mushroomed in India in recent years, many of the well established IT companies have also started their BPO divisions. But, there is another side of the BPO picture too. The side that has already brought the BPO industry in limelight many times. This picture is concerned with the non viability of the BPO and the fact that the young generation of India is actually loosing out in the BPO.

INTRODUCTION
   
Business process outsourcing, the most flourishing Indian industry sector has emerged as India’s most promising sector, and has been growing at a rate of 40-50 per cent since its inception. BPO is a very fast paced and a high momentum industry. BPO industry is expected to generate one million jobs by the year 2008. Taking advantage form the abundant skills and low cost benefits, large number of BPO companies has mushroomed in India in recent years, many of the well established IT companies have also started their BPO divisions. But, there is another side of the BPO picture too. The side that has already brought the BPO industry in limelight many times. This picture is concerned with the non viability of the BPO and the fact that the young generation of India is actually loosing out in the BPO.
                         Business process outsourcing organizations, commonly known as call centres – work when rest of the India sleeps! Most of the BPO organizations work according to the international (US and UK) timings, therefore most of the BPO employees work in might shifts starting anywhere from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and ending at 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. There is also a graveyard shift starting at 4 a.m. working in such shifts having odd timings have started showing hazardous results on the health of the Indian youth.

Reputed BPOs in India

With increasing scope of BPO industry, many top-ranking software companies have established their BPO centers in India making a career in the BPO sector lucrative.Some of the well-known BPO companies in India are WNS Group, Convergys, Zenta, Wipro Spectramind, EXL, ICICI Onesource, Daksh e-Service, Tracmail, HCL Technologies, MphasiS, GTL Ltd, Sutherland Technologies, vCustomer, HTMT and 24/7 Customer.
These companies are the top-rankers on providing career in BPO sector on the basis of criteria like employee size, overall satisfaction score, job content/growth, salary and compensation, training, company culture and appraisal system etc.

 What is Stress?

According to the web, stress is defined as: constraining force or influence: as
•    A force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part; especially : the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch
•    The deformation caused in a body by such a force
•    A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
•    A state resulting from a stress; especially : one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium .

In another simple definition, stress is the emotional and physical strain caused by our response to pressure from the outside world. Common stress reactions include tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, and a variety of physical symptoms that include headache and a fast heartbeat.


Problems in BPO’s
Spot the symptoms
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways but symptoms may include changes in behaviour… smoking or drinking more, being unable to sleep, a change in eating habits. Or you may become indecisive, lose concentration, become irritable angry or anxious, or start feeling tired and listless. Stress can also be the underlying cause of aching muscles, headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure and palpitations.
 Prolonged working in shifts of odd hour’s can have major implications on the physical and mental health of the employees. The physical strains like sleep disorders, depression, odd working shifts, learning foreign accents, constantly handling abusive calls and high stress levels are making the BPO employees more prone to hypertension and heart attacks.

Various surveys and research conducted amongst the call centre employees have shown that depression is the most common problem faced by BPO employees. Frequent headaches, feeling of fatigue, sleeping disorders and frustration have become regular problems for them.

Stress Busting Tips for Call Centre Staff.
While it is impossible to eradicate stress completely, as an employer it is your legal and moral duty to be pro-active and ensure the negative impact of work-related stress is kept to a minimum. Although working in a call centre can be highly pressured, trade unions have suggested some ways call centre staff can combat stress. Here are some of their ideas:
•    Take breaks as frequently as you can to reduce eye strain, voice loss and general stress. The European Working Time Directive entitles workers to a minimum of a 20 minute break after six hours – but this really is a minimum.
•    Frequent, short breaks are thought to be better than fewer, longer breaks.
•    Stretching exercises help reduce muscle tension and other problems.
•    When you can get a proper break, get right away from your work station – don't take lunch at your desk – and do something different. Take a walk outside, do some exercises, chat to colleagues.
•    If you have to move frequently to different work stations – called 'hot desking' – check your chair and VDU is adjusted to suit you each time.
•    Take frequent drinks of water to avoid voice problems and dehydration. Tea or coffee can exacerbate stress levels. A healthy diet – snacks of fruit or raw vegetables rather than crisps and fizzy drinks – helps combat tiredness.
•    You should have your own headset, to avoid catching infections, with volume control, to reduce hearing difficulties.
•    If you have an abusive or distressing call, take a breather and – if you can – get support from someone else. Your supervisors should take action against the caller if this is a regular customer.
•    Having a variety of tasks – moving from one kind of call to a different sort or to paperwork – helps reduce monotony.
•    If conditions are oppressive, you can lobby for change by joining a trade union.

CONCLUSION
Call centers have become one of the largest and most vital components in the contemporary business world.The stress related problems are acute and existant. Only thing we have to see it is how actively the problem can be solved by effective dealing.  Acknowledging stress and having positive attitudes towards it in the workplace ensures an open and positive response to it. It gives people ‘permission’ to be stressed. All too frequently employees are too afraid to mention the ‘S’ word in case it is treated as a sign of weakness. By taking the initiative, introducing a few simple ideas and leading by example you can start the attitude adjustment from the ground up. The advice may be obvious, and you may well have heard it all before but it can’t be stressed enough!
REFERENCES

•    www.naukrihub.com
•    www.chillibreeze.com
•    www.indiaedu.com
•    www.bpoindia.org
•    callcentrehelper.com

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