Consequences of unmanaged stress in call centers

Call center agent stress. Image source

The call center industry is one place where people work for long hours.  Pressure to meet targets, night shifts, working without a day off, all these factors increases the level of stress in call centers.  This unmanaged stress has devastating effects on the lives of people working in call centers.

What happens internally during stress?

Each time a person experiences stress, several things happen internally. The brain sends warning signals to the nervous system once it sees a threat. The nervous system prepares itself to face the threat causing a rise in the levels of blood pressure, heart rate and pupil dilation. This also causes an adrenalin rush to manage the threat.

Constant adrenalin rushes may have a toxic effect on the body. The cognitive part of the brain is responsible for turning the stress response on.  It can also turn it off once it determines that there is no threat and stops sending signals to the nervous system.

As a result of this, the hormones cease to be released and return to normal.

The 3 Consequences of Stress In Call Centers

1. Physical consequences

The main physical consequences of unmanaged stress are development of stress-related diseases like high blood pressure, heart damage, diabetes etc. There are also chances of developing respiratory-problems like bronchitis and asthma.

Stress also inhibits digestive processes and this causes ulcer, chronic diarrhea and colitis. Above all this, stress causes inhibited tissue and bone growth leading to osteoporosis and decalcification. Fatigue, increased muscle tension and headaches are other consequences of stress.

2. Emotional Consequences

Stress can cause depression due to the constant release and depletion of nor epinephrine. A feeling that life is terrible and not worth living triggers depression. People with stress in call centers experience helplessness, ineffectiveness and a lack of self-confidence.

Also they isolate themselves from other people and this increases the intensity of depression. Other symptoms include anxiety, fearfulness, rigidity, irritability and cynicism.

3. Behavioral Consequences

The behavioral consequences are as a result of an urge to survive.  This may also turn problematic in many ways. For example, this may result in “addictive behaviors” due to the repeated efforts to escape from unmanaged stress. Drugs, alcohol and over-eating are some of the tools which help to manage stress even though the effects are short-lived.

The mind’s tactic to deny long-term consequences just to satisfy the short-term aim to escape stress may result in over use of drugs, alcohol and excessive eating habits. Poor planning, excessive sleeping, procrastination are also consequences of stress in call centers.

In addition to all the above consequences, reports say that stress may reduce the likelihood of reaching the goals effectively. It is important to have proper health management and help employees cope better.

The stress on employees working in call centers has serious consequences and it is necessary to have systems in place for effective management.

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