For employees working in the BPO industry, unnatural working hours have always been a problem. In addition, the time taken to travel to work has also been cited as a major reason for stress at the workplace. Night shifts pose another problem in that it completely affects the biological cycle of the human body. In sum, the timing issue against BPO has been a constant source of stress for workers.
Employees are virtually tired out at the end of the day owing to extended hours of work as well as the travel time. For instance, high pay packages offered by call centers often bring with it stress and work pressure. Work at call centers is closely supervised with unbreakable routines in addition to being highly pressurized. This combined with the time issue against BPO has been some of the concerns that have emerged in this sector.
Furthermore, employees have a set of targets that have to be attained at any cost. In call centers, this may come to as many as 400 calls in a single night shift with regard to outbound and inbound services. Call center workers are also not allowed to disclose their nationalities or real names. This leads to the problem of dual identity. They have to play the role of Westerners during the time of their work and then return to their native self at the end of the day. Along with the timing issue against BPO this causes personal dilemma and additional stress.
Timing issue against BPO: Women in crisis
A strict regime has been set in place in BPO centers. For example, there is limited time for taking and making calls, with minimal interaction with other employees and limited breaks. Added to this, cameras and call interceptors may monitor every movement made by the workers. In particular, the call center scenario may prove to be a challenge for women in Asian countries like India. The timing issue against BPO raised in some quarters is more likely to affect women than men.
Indian women have to bear the dual burden of family and work. As such, the night shift may pose a problem for them. Many women choose not to join BPO companies that work at night. Sometimes, when companies pass through a change of hands and move base to the United States, night shift may be introduced. This has forced many women employees to drop out from work.
Employees faced with health and stress problems are prone to raise the timing issue against BPO companies. Erratic hours of work and night shifts lead to disruption in the natural sleep cycle, further causing changes to eating patterns and social routines. BPO companies have to step in and take sufficient measures to ensure the well-being of its workforce.