There's no escaping the stress that comes with a call center agent's job description—irate customers, sup calls, ACW, AHT, CSAT surveys...(sigh!). And who could possibly get used to the freezing AC that gives everyone in the office a shivering fit?
And yet, you're still here, willing to brave it all. For your family, for your savings, for that latest iPhone in the market! Whatever your motivation for accepting this job, it doesn't matter.
The fact remains that, even the strongest of us have moments of fatigue, when nothing else—even a suspension threat from your TL—matters. All you wanna do is forget the world, and succumb to the inviting softness of your bed. The next thing you know, you're 3 hours late for your shift. We all have those moments. That's why I've put together a list of health tips for call center agents who want to survive the BPO industry.
Health tips for call center agents who want to survive the BPO industry
1. Get a healthy hobby before nicotine and alcohol get you!
Most call center agents' coping mechanism to stress usually consists of nicotine and alcohol. Smoking every chance they get between breaks. Drinking during days off, although sometimes, they apply exceptions and drink during workdays too.
Addiction, really, is a sad, sad thing. You know you ought to get out but the pull is too strong that you might as well give in, because you simply can't bear the alternative (quitting). It's too painful. And impossibly hard.
If you're a newbie and you fortunately haven't given in to these vices yet, then don't ever give them a try. If you're already an addict, then it's not yet too late to quit. When quitting, don't just quit your bad vices, replace them with good ones.
If music interests you but you don't know how to play any instrument, this is your queue to learn some guitar, maybe play some drums, and why not compose some music. Quitting a bad habit you're deeply addicted to will be more effective if you replace it a healthy one. That way, your brain won't be focused on what's missing and you're less likely to fall back.
2. Don't convert your vacation leave into cash. It's called "vacation" for a reason.
When you take a vacation, you're not only taking care of your physical health. Most importantly, you're tending to your mental and emotional health, which by the way are the ones most negatively affected by stress by your customers' tantrums.
Your mental health is very important. And so are your emotions. When in a chaotic state, you cannot function at work, you feel depressed, and you simply just want to disappear from it all.
So don't cheat on yourself by converting your vacation leave into cash. You're only making the company richer, and you, poorer. You'll get the equivalent cash, but do you really think it's the same value?
3. Forget gym membership. Create your own gym at home.
Not only can you save thousands of pesos from membership expenses that you rarely use, you'll also save time. Time you could have used to get more sleep.
When you go to the gym, you need at least an hour to prepare, to commute, put on your exercise gear, and to look presentable, which, by the way, take longer for ladies. An hour and a half of preparation for a 30 minute exercise? Forget it!
On the other hand, here's the benefit if working out from home.
- No need to buy tons of fancy exercise outfit. Nobody's watching you!
- No need to spend 30 minutes looking presentable either. Nobody's watching you!
- Say goodbye to your monthly gym membership fees. Once you've bought the basic workout tools— a set of dumbbells and a mat— you're pretty much set.
- No trainer? No problem. In YouTube, you'll find thousands of free, uninterrupted, easy-to-follow workout tutorials for different kinds of workouts— yoga, Pilates, HIIT, Zumba, cardio and strength training, the list goes on.
4. Your workout is a waste of time if you're dining at McDonald's.
It's better not to exercise but eat healthy, than exercise but eat crappy foods. Research show that the foods you eat has way more impact on your weight than the workouts you do. In short, it is the quality of food that heavily impacts weight. Exercise does, but not as much.
This explains why after a strength training exercise, it's imperative that you eat lots of proteins to feed your muscles, otherwise your exercise will be for nothing and other than fatigue, you won't see any results.
Therefore, if you want to maintain a healthy weight focus primarily on eating high quality foods. Exercise comes next.
Not sure if the foods you're eating are healthy?
Then they probably aren't. To make sure, make it a habit to discover new recipes, get your butt to the kitchen and cook your own meal. When shopping, head to the farmer's market and buy real foods. And finally, invest in a juicer or a blender. You won't regret them.
5. You can cheat your CSAT but not sleep. It always takes what's due. And with interest.
Don't sleep today and you can forget about functioning at work tomorrow. No amount of coffee and energy drink will spare you from sleep deprivation. It'll eventually catch up on you, will take what it's due, and most of the time, with interest.
There's only one way to deal with sleep, really, and that is, make it as luxurious as possible.
If you're working night shifts and the daylight disrupts your sleep, buy a blackout curtain. Not only does it reduce the daylight and the outside noise, it also reduces heat by 24%.
If it helps to have a mosquito net brushing against your feet, then by all means help yourself. Do whatever it takes to get in harmony with your body. Otherwise, the consequences could be dire.
6. Don't work for companies who shuffle their employees' schedules within short periods of time.
As if the night shift isn't enough, most companies shuffle their agents's schedules like they're changing their clothes. There just isn't any justice to it.
Your body clock is screaming at you to, "Please don't mess me up!". And here's your TL telling you, "Tomorrow, you'll transition to your new schedule, which means you go home after work, sleep for 2 hours and go to work again."
Just don't work for them! Work for companies who only changes schedules every 3-4 months. It's more practical and better for your overall health and balance.
7. Feeling like an emotional punching bag? Meditation will work wonders on you.
If you feel that exercising isn't enough to relieve your stress, it's because it's probably isn't. After all, the fatigue isn't so much physical, but mental. You feel like an emotional punching bag. You log out, go home, sleep, and just when your mental energy starts to recharge, there goes another 8 hour shift of your life.
Therefore, you shouldn't only focus on physical but also on your overall brain health. I need not mention all the researches that proved this fact. If you think that meditation is only for the Buddhists and religious people, then you need to learn a lot about meditation.
Think of meditation as a way to detox and cleanse your mind. When you're stressed, thoughts pop up in your head at a rapid, chaotic level. You can't think clearly and the part of your brain that controls rational thinking is fogged. When this happens, you easily get grumpy, say things you don't mean, and give too much fuss over simple things.
But when you meditate, it calms the chaos inside. It's like resetting a computer after it lags.The nagging snippets of thoughts that used to aimlessly float inside your head are placed back where they truly belong. You're sober. You can think clearly which makes you effective at work. And happier.
But I can't do the uncomfortable lotus pose!
You don't have to. Meditation comes in different kinds of poses. In fact, exercise is a form of meditation.
In essence, you want your mind to focus on one thing only, or better, at nothingness.
There are thousands of videos in YouTube on how to meditate and all of them have different setups: sitting on chair, lying, walking, staring at a specific object. Find the technique that works best for you and stick to it. Even a 5-minute session can already make a difference. And remember, you have to do it everyday, no matter how short.
8. Science show that you can die of boredom.
Unfortunately, call center agent are prone to boredom. It's an unchanging cycle of log in, take calls, log out.
When you're bored, you're less invested in growing and learning new things. Your body ages but your mind is barely challenged. When the things you do are the same every single time, the natural brain degeneration is more likely to speed up.
Therefore, it is very important that you introduce new things and experiences into your life. Challenge your brain. Learn a new language, learn a new skill, and even better, find a contact center company that encourages and even funds extra curricular activities just for their employees to participate in. I'll give you one example: ePerformax.
9. If you don't see yourself climbing the corporate ladder, then think about leaving your job someday.
Forgive me if I'm wrong but I find it hard to believe that, a call center agent, would choose to remain a call center agent for the rest of his life, if he has a choice about the matter. There is no such person. The truth is, every call center agent despise every second of customer tantrums, hysterical screaming, and sarcastic remarks hurled at them.
So if you don't see yourself being promoted, or being happy about the idea of being promoted, then you gotta do something different.
If you want to survive working in a call center, don't.
That isn't always a realistic option (mouths to feed, family to support, bills to pay), but you aren't completely choiceless about the matter. There are other ways you can earn money. They take time, but they are possible:
- Build a small business that doesn't require much capital.
- Know the new in demand skills online, invest in yourself and pay for an online course to learn them and vow to leave your call center job someday. It's never too late to learn anything new.
If you're interested, read: 10 Extra Income Ideas for Call Center Agents and start taking action.
Hope this helps!
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