I have always thought of the ‘call center diet’ as cigarette, coffee and lots of junk foods. Well, I can say that also to almost everyone who works on deadlines all day or night in front of a computer, inside an office or a home office like virtual assistants, graphic artists, writers and bloggers.
Sedentary lifestyle takes a whole new different meaning since the entry of personal computers – before it was beer and television, now it’s a more productive version but no less dangerous than the previous description.
Some of the health issues attributed to this type of working environment are:
- Disrupted Body Clock
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Back aches
- Unhealthy lifestyle and food choices
- More Stress
Call Center Agents, specially those who work at night, are at high risk of developing unfavorable health conditions and for that they need special care. A special lifestyle and diet that will keep them healthy in spite of the stressful work conditions. But first, let us find out why would people want to work as a Call Center Agent? Let’s take a look for example the benefits that SYKES Philippines (a 17 years old call center company in the Philippines) are offering its applicants:
- Night Differential
- Overtime Pay
- Meal Allowance
- Transportation Allowance
- Medical Insurance
- Above par vacation and sick leaves entitlement
- Life and Accident Insurance
- Maternity Leave
- Paternity Leave
- Solo Parent Leave
- Certification Allowance
- Technical Allowance
- Tenure Allowance
- Performance Incentive Allowance
- Employee Referral Incentives
- Language Allowance
That, plus an above average basic pay? Who can refuse that kind of offer? To sum it up, People are the greatest asset of a Call Center business – that’s why they are also their greatest priority. Management have always taken into consideration the many health hazards of working in the call center industry that is why you see them putting up their own in-house Fitness Center. SYKES Philippines for example, even has its very own clinic and slumber area.
However, call center companies are only limited to providing the facilities that will aid their people to remain healthy and it is still up to the agent to develop a habit or a counter-culture lifestyle that will enable him or her to do the job minus the health risks.
Here are some health tips on how to keep you functioning like a well-oiled machine while working as a Call Center Agent.
10 Health Tips for Call Center Agents
- Hydrate! Drink lots of water, but since your main tool in the business is your voice – it is advised that you stay away from cold water. Clean tap water would be sufficient. Drink lots of it, it will lubricate your throat and keep your voice in tip-top shape.
- Stay away from Caffeine and Cigarettes! While this habit would seem to make you feel more relaxed and alert, too much of it would be detrimental to your health. Not to mention that it also brings you bad breath and foul body odor. Cigarette smoking is also a precursor to many diseases like cancer, hypertension and many others. Coffee has antioxidants but like I said it also has caffeine and too much of a good thing is bad for you.
- If you can’t stay away from old habits then schedule it. Make it creative so that you can remember it like: Caffeine Friday, Tea Tuesday, Water Wednesday, Veggie Thursday and Fruit Monday.
- Make sleep part of the job! Clock in and have a non-interrupted 6 to 7 hour sleep every day. Sleep is the only way for the body to re-energize (not those silly energy drinks – stay away from those as well) and recuperate (repair damage tissues and fight off diseases).
- Learn the art of relaxation. Believe it or not – it’s all in the breathing. When you are under a lot of stress, stop for a while and monitor your breathing. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly while counting silently until all air in your lung expires and repeat it until you are totally relaxed.
- Take quick stretch breaks. Stretches releases tension and also increases blood flow in areas that have remained idle for some time. Do it at least every two hours.
- Bring an apple to work. Fruits are not only nutritious, they are also great equalizers. Apples and Bananas can already pack you with enough nutrients to get your body working properly every day.
- Hey, Exercise! Your company can’t stress enough the importance of exercise in your line of work. Do some threads, jump some jacks and pick-up some weights. Get that blood flowing and sweat those excess fats out of your body.
- Balanced Meals – that is the key to optimum health. Unless you have a health condition, you can eat anything but always in moderation. Working in the BPO industry is no excuse for not being able to get a balanced meal. Meat (protein), Veggies (fiber) and rice (carbohydrates) is an example of a balanced meal. There are many ways to get it. Bring your own food (BYOF) – ever heard of the word ‘Baon’? Choose, plan and use your breaks wisely. Stop taking photos of your meals on Instagram and just eat the damn food so you’ll never complain of not having enough time to eat during break time.
- Lastly, take supplements! If you think you’re not getting enough nutrients and you’ve already developed some very nasty habits while working as a call center agent? Then, taking the right food supplements might help your body get back right on track. I am a fan of FLP products – they’re a bit pricey but the quality of the products are just exceptional. Here are a few suggestion: Aloe Vera Gel Drink (for cleansing), Absorbent C (fiber plus vitamin C), a combination of GinChia (ginseng, golden chia, calcium, soy) and Royal Jelly for energy, vitality and over-all health.