The health of people who work in contact centres is coming under the microscope in a major study funded by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast..
Contact centre advisors are at a high risk of heart disease, diabetes and other problems due to a combination of social and workplace factors.
Now researchers from Liverpool John Moores University, Lancaster University and industry support bodies Call North West and South West Contact Centre Forum are launching a three-year study of ways that contact centres can improve the health and work conditions of thousands of workers in the sector.
“We will work with the sector to explore what centres currently do and find out why some centres are more proactive at helping their advisors than others, and look at the most effective policies and interventions,” explained Dr Lee Graves, a Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health at LJMU’s Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
The project will create resources and guidance that contact centres can use to implement policies and interventions to improve the health and work conditions of their advisors.
Why we need this project?
Contact centre advisors typically live on low incomes and are from deprived areas. They experience high levels of stress due to conditions at work, such as continuous performance monitoring and sitting for long periods.
This financial and work-related stress increases their chances of smoking, drinking, having a poor diet and taking part in little physical activity and exercise. These unhealthy behaviours can lead to a decline in health, poor work performance, and promote absence and attrition. Overtime, they also increase the chance of advisors getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and dying young.
“Many employees do not have the money, time or support outside of work to improve their health, so we are looking to the contact centres themselves to encourage healthy behaviours and create health-enhancing work conditions,” added Dr Graves.
Jane Thomas, Managing Director of Call North West and South West Contact Centre Forum, said: "We are delighted to support this research initiative. Such insight gained will ensure that contact centres are rightly employers of choice for current staff and future talent attraction.
"We encourage all contact centres in the North West and South West to participate, and believe the results will offer much insight to improve the health and working environments for our advisors.”
Interested or have a question?
If you would like to be involved in this research or have a question, please complete this 1-minute survey and a member of the research team will be in touch within one week.