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Occupational Hazards in the BPO Industry

It is a myth that call centre or BPO jobs are relatively less stressful. I have met quite a few people, sadly some of them even close to me, who feel that BPO jobs are easy. I’ve actually been subconsciously thinking about this since one of my engineer friends remarked, ‘Oh you don’t know how much stress I have to deal with at work! After all, you work in just a BPO!’

I wasn’t offended because I understand that she certainly doesn’t mean to offend me. In my country, remarks like these aren’t often assumed to be offensive but more like an expression of frustration. But I decided then to write this article to share some of the stress related occupational hazards.

Health Related Hazards

Any business process outsourcing professional, might have some relief in the form of free transport and meals. But the diverse time zones that we work in really take a toll on us. The fact is that many of us do not have the routine that’s much needed for health and effective management of families. In fact many of us end with irregular sleeping patterns and insomnia related issues.

Personal Life

I’ve seen couples who’ve ended up never being together except for those occasional weekends, because they work in different shifts and on different days. In fact if you look at the executive level employees, it is very much possible that the spouses get different days as offs, which means they won’t even get the weekends together. Imagine the plight of mothers who cannot look after their children because they work odd timings.

Work Stress

Just like all other industries, in our line of work too we have our professional causes of stress. Like every other domain in business we multi – task, we’re understaffed, we’ve got deadlines, we have over times and we have extra shifts to work. We have managers to appraise us, we have clients to keep happy, we have customers to make happy and then at the same time, we have reports to generate and then managers as well as junior team members to deal with.

No Substantial Work Experience

Most BPO employees who continue working as callers or on the associate / executive level fail to do anything else in terms of another job. This is not so true for employees who manage to reach a manager level. However, you have to understand that given the kind of numbers that are hired in such organizations, the corporate ladder isn’t as easy as many people think. The competition is equally tough here as well and in case of business folding up, there’s no bright future.

Instability

The domain in itself isn’t as stable as it was in its peak years. Unless one is lucky enough to get into a captive unit, one never knows how long a process is with the offshore operations or when it might be taken back. In other words, many of the outsourcing industry employees are pretty clueless about how long they are going to be in a job.

However, the world isn’t entirely as bleak as you think it might be. There are organizations who specialize and operate on a slow and steady basis consistently. These organizations are stable and so are their employees.

There are other forms of outsourcing that are slowly finding their way in the market like knowledge processing, recruitments, human resources, design and development etc. which have lesser hazards then the typical outsourcing. But they need a better skillset and a better ability to perform high – end services.

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