Stress is a natural consequence of work. Even people who seem to have the easiest jobs experience a certain degree of stress in their workplace. Highly stressful work, such as in a call center, can impact the performance and level of job satisfaction of your agents.
But, a job in an outsourcing company doesn't have to be a health risk for impact sourcing workers. Here are six tips on how managers can help their agents manage work stress.
1. Create a comfortable work environment for your outsourced staff.
Back pain and repetitive strain injury are common among office employees, especially those working in outsourcing companies. Office work may not be as strenuous as hard labor, which is commonly observed in construction and logistics. But, sitting for long in front of a computer can gradually cause damage to one's health. That's why sitting on ergonomic chairs that provide good lower-back support and using tables that are not too high or too low are highly recommended for call center agents.
Make sure your agents are comfortable with the lighting and temperature in the office. Research studies have shown that people sitting by a window with access to natural daylight and fresh air went on to have improved concentration levels and focus and better morale. Consequently, they perform better than people who work in places with insufficient light and that are either too hot or too cold.
2. Reduce the impact of background noise on your outsourced staff.
Dealing with the general public on a day-to-day basis already has a negative effect on the morale and performance of your staff. Don't make it harder for them to do their job with a noisy workplace. Offices that make use of padded walls and cubicles with chest-level dividers are conducive to work.
But, if you're trying to lower costs, then a long table with substantial space in between employees is your best option. This setup is great for collaborative work, especially for teams. However, the interaction can be a bit too much for some people. To help them concentrate on their work, give these people noise-canceling headphones that will effectively muffle environmental noise, such as beeping printers and ringing phones.
4. Provide a steady flow of good coffee to your outsourced staff.
Office workers are known for their coffee-drinking habits. Coffee helps them maintain focus and keep their energy.
People who like their coffee brewed, with richer aroma and flavor than coffee in vending machines, will take time to walk to the nearest Starbucks and buy an iced latte or frappuccino in a venti cup.
Dissenting opinions notwithstanding, coffee brewed from green beans is actually good for one's health. One of the reasons is the abundance of antioxidants in green beans rather than the overly ripe ones.
5. Make sure your employees continue to learn as they take on challenging work.
Oversimplification is a risky habit to continue, especially among call center agents. Repetition of mundane tasks will surely lead to boredom, and it will definitely cause decreased motivation and job satisfaction in your agents. That's why it's important that employers provide challenging, creative work to their employees.
For example, strict adherence to scripts takes away the spontaneity of a conversation with a customer. As a result, workers have little chance to deliver a creative spiel and practice discretion in decision-making. Without autonomy, call center workers feel they have no control over the outcome of their work and they may feel disengaged, frustrated, stressed and worthless because of it.
6. Emphasize the importance of family in your company.
Customer service reps are busiest during the holiday season. Working the phones on Christmas day is anxiety-inducing, plus it negatively affects their relationships with their friends, family and romantic partners. In this case, a flexible work schedule will not only make your employees happy during the holidays. It also helps them blow off steam, give them the leeway to arrange their work hours around that time frame when they can go home and be with their loved ones even for a short time.
How to Design a Stress-Free Contact Centre
Why are Call Center Jobs Stressful?
How to Reduce Stress in the Call Center Environment
The Best Desk Layouts for the Contact Centre
Experience of a Call Center Agent during Holiday Season