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The BPO Industry: No Pain, No Gain

Let’s face it, the BPO (Business Process outsourcing) industry is one of the most important sources of revenue here in the Philippines. An example of such industry are call centers. Since its introduction, the country has experienced unparalleled economic growth during the turn of the millennium since its precedence of economic turmoil due to several political instabilities since the 80’s. With about 1 million workers since its inception, we could say that the main resource that is being manipulated in this business are, you guessed it right, people.

People are not machines, that’s for sure. We surely can do complicated tasks what no mere machine can do. But unlike our mechanical counterparts, we are limited on what our feeble bodies are capable of. Machines do not need to sleep, eat, drink nor amuse itself at the boring wee hours but human beings, as biological and social as he can be, surely need to. People are intellectual entities and at the same time very complicated organisms who must be fulfilled physically, emotionally and socially. Amidst financial growth brought by the industry, BPO employees tend to be deprived on all three aspects due to the demanding nature of the job.

Since most of a BPO company’s clients are from another time zone, employees are required to work on very unnatural hours (graveyard shift). This practice has several effects on a normal person’s health such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity. Furthermore, According to studies, majority of BPO employees cannot sleep at daytime and thus will lead to sleep deprivation. Depriving yourself of sleep will often lead to fatigue, depression, decreased cognitive and executive functioning and overall increase on disease susceptibility.

Due to the nature of the job involving answering calls from clients, it cannot be avoided that an employee would deal with a wide spectrum of personalities every single day. To maintain company reputation, an employee must at all times show a positive demeanor amidst client frustration, negative feedback and outbursts. To do this, the employee is forced to repress any negative emotion when confronted with a very boisterous client. If an employee is not given an avenue to release emotional repression, this may result in several negative effects such as anxiety and depression.

After several years in this monotonous job, an employee may develop a certain degree of immunity from the numerous physical and emotional turmoil that they undergo every single day. Rather, employees say that the most important aspect that they are missing out when they are in their jobs are their social lives. They cannot be with their families or with their friends since at night they are catering their client’s needs while in the morning all they want to do is sleep due to exhaustion from their nocturnal lives. Others maybe awake during the daytime but due to fatigue and exhaustion, they are physically present but mentally absent.

As worse as it may seem, these damaged aspects can be remedied through the acknowledgement of the company and the employee that this job can be detrimental to an individual’s health and thus must need immediate action. The company must play a part in maintaining the well-being of their employees by installing distressing centers such as gyms, libraries and counseling facilities in the workplace. Also, a regular health examination on all employees must be observed to detect early symptom of physical and psychological disorders. The individual must obviously also play a big role in maintaining his health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by engaging in exercise and eating nutritional foods is a must if one wants to improve his well-being. Indulging in alcohol and smoking to distress will not really help one’s cause and will even worsen the situation. Without the cooperation of the two entities, a consensus on maintaining the well-being of the industry’s most important resource will never be achieved.

Originally posted 2015-09-19 10:03:14.

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