Manager Office worker Call centre HSR IT Worker Receptionist
image of Call center

Call centre

Generally, workers in a call centre:

  • Handle significant volumes of inbound and outbound phone traffic and/or electronic requests.
  • Are trained and skilled in customer service.
  • Use workstations with single or multiple computer screens.
  • Are equipped with a computer, telephone (usually with headset) and supplementary task-related documentation.
  • Commonly have little task variation, limited autonomy, and tight performance targets to meet.

Call centre workers face similar ergonomic and office based hazards as displayed in the virtual office, however may be at a higher risk of experiencing a workplace musculoskeletal disorder.

    Potential Harm
    Musculoskeletal disorder

Top risks:

  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • customer aggression
  • bullying

What can I do? (for myself )

  • If your organisation utilises ‘hot-desking’ arrangement make sure you understand and know how to set up your workstation to suit your physical needs.
  • Take your headset with you.
  • Learn to be a skilful communicator. Each contact with a client will be different so you may need to be able to adjust your communication style to suit the interaction.
  • Try not to raise your voice, adjust your headset if people have trouble hearing you on the phone.
  • Know and understand your rights to end a phone conversation that is rude or abusive. Your employer should have a policy or procedure in place to instruct you on how to terminate these calls.
  • Take every opportunity you can to take micro pauses. These are short 10 second breaks where you relax your muscles, stretch and change posture.

What can my employer do?

  • Train workers on the correct ergonomic set up and techniques to temporarily rest the muscles (micro-pauses).
  • Where ‘hot-desking’ is utilised, allow time at the start of each shift for workers to adjust the workstation to their needs.
  • Consider sit/stand workstations to allow workers the opportunity to change position more often.
  • Have a call termination procedure in place. This should enable workers to warn clients that abusive or rude behaviour will not be tolerated and that if it continues the call will be terminated. The procedure should also provide an escalation process for calls to be handed to more senior personnel. To accompany this there should also be a process for workers to have access to counselling services
  • Provide break areas away from the phones.
  • Rostering should allow for peak times to be adequately covered whilst allowing periods of relief to workers (breaks).
  • Consult workers before developing software, or changes to software, to minimise keyboard and mouse use.
  • Procedures should be in place and workers trained in responding to specific incidents such as bomb threats, suicide and violence threats