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Psychosocial Risk Factor in Call Centres: Analysing Work Design and Well-Being of Employees

Psychosocial Risk Factor in Call Centres: Analysing Work Design and Well-Being of Employees

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Psychosocial Risk Factor in Call Centres: Analysing Work Design and Well-Being of Employees

  1. 1. Psychosocial Risk Factor in Call Centres: Analysing Work Design and Well-Being of Employees By Your name Name of University Name of Student Student Roll Number Tutor Name Submission Date
  2. 2. Table of Contents Psychosocial Risk Factor in Call Centres: Analysing Work Design and Well-Being of Employees..................................................................................................................................1 List of figures.............................................................................................................................5 List of Tables .............................................................................................................................6 Executive Summary...................................................................................................................7 1.0 Introduction.....................................................................................................................9 1.1 Background of the Study .................................................................................................9 1.2 Definition of a Call Centre...............................................................................................9 1.2.1 Call Centre ..............................................................................................................10 1.2.2 Call Handler ............................................................................................................10 1.3 Designing of Work and Well-Being ..............................................................................10 1.4 Research Literature over Call Centres ...............................................................................14 2. Method .................................................................................................................................15 2.1 Samples:.........................................................................................................................15 2.2 The Questionaries: .........................................................................................................16 2.3 Procedure: ......................................................................................................................16 3. Results..................................................................................................................................18 3.1 Characteristics:...............................................................................................................18 3.1.1 Size of the call centres: ...........................................................................................18 3.1.2 Location of all centres:............................................................................................18
  3. 3. 3.1.3 Operating Business of the call centres:...................................................................19 3.1.4 Main Occupational Profiles available the Call Centres:.........................................19 3.1.5 Distribution of Employees on the Basis of Age: ....................................................20 3.1.6 Distribution on the basis of Gender: .......................................................................20 3.1.7 Distribution on the basis of tenure of work: ...........................................................21 3.1.8 Distribution on the basis of working hours:............................................................21 3.2 Difference between the job of call handler and other jobs; whether job of a call handler is more stressful than other works?......................................................................................22 3.2.3 View of Call Handlers and Other employees: ........................................................23 3.2.4 Job Satisfaction:......................................................................................................26 3.2.4 Work load of the employees ...................................................................................28 3.3 Working as the call handler is equally stressful for every one ......................................30 3.3.1 Difference of business sector to well being ............................................................31 3.3.2 Number of employees working in the call centre make a difference to well being33 3.3.3 Nature of call handling............................................................................................34 3.3.4 Nature of employment contract...............................................................................36 3.3.5 Working as a part time call handler ........................................................................37 3.3.6 Having a graduate degree make a difference in stress ............................................39 4. Discussion........................................................................................................................41 4.1 Do Females have Lower Levels of Wellbeing in Call Centres? ....................................41 4.2 Does increased contracted hours decrease wellbeing? ..................................................41
  4. 4. 4.3 Does an employee's specific job role influence wellbeing? If so, which job roles improve wellbeing? ............................................................................................................................42 4.4 Is working as a call handler more stressful than working in other jobs? .......................42 4.5 Does an interest in wellbeing of staff actually increase the wellbeing of staff?............43 4.6 One who works as a one and all other call handlers who work in a team. Is it same stressful in both scenes?.......................................................................................................43 4.7 What are the aspects which are responsible for creating stress among call handlers? ..45 4.8 Risk factors on the psychosocial aspects associated with Call Handlers.......................46 4.9 What are the key factors are worth implementing in the work culture of call handler in reducing psychosocial risks .................................................................................................47 4.10 Overall Conclusion: .....................................................................................................48 References................................................................................................................................49 Appendix..................................................................................................................................51 Questionaries:.......................................................................................................................51
  5. 5. List of figures Figure 1 Job related anxiety among employees.......................................................................25 Figure 2 Job related depression among employees..................................................................25 Figure 3 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on Intrinsic job satisfaction ..27 Figure 4 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on extrinsic job satisfaction..28 Figure 5 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on work load .........................29 Figure 6 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well being ........................32 Figure 7 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well-being and job satisfaction ...............................................................................................................................34 Figure 8 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on nature of call handling and well-being.................................................................................................................................35 Figure 9 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of employment contract, well-being and job satisfaction..................................................................................37 Figure 10 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of job, well-being and job satisfaction .........................................................................................................................38 Figure 11 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on educational level, well- being and job satisfaction.........................................................................................................40
  6. 6. List of Tables Table 1 Distribution of call centres in different locations .......................................................18 Table 2 Distribution of call centres according to operating business ......................................19 Table 3 Distribution of employees according to occupational profile.....................................20 Table 4 Distribution of Employees on the Basis of Age .........................................................20 Table 5 Distribution on the basis of Gender ............................................................................21 Table 6 Distribution on the basis of tenure of work ................................................................21 Table 7 Distribution on the basis of Contracted working hours ..............................................22 Table 8 Distribution on the basis of Actual working hours .....................................................22 Table 9 Job Anxiety and Job Satisfaction among different occupational profiles ..................23 Table 10 Mean/SD of Anxiety and Depression among employees .........................................24 Table 11 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on job satisfaction................26 Table 12 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on Work load .......................29 Table 13 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well being .......................31 Table 14 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well-being and job satisfaction ...............................................................................................................................33 Table 15 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on nature of call handling ....35 Table 16 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of employment contract, well-being and job satisfaction..................................................................................36 Table 17 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of job, well-being and job satisfaction .........................................................................................................................38 Table 18 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on educational level, well- being and job satisfaction.........................................................................................................39
  7. 7. Executive Summary Call centre industry has become vast, as compared to previously annotated working designs; the industry is growing at a faster pace and so is the myths and risk associated to it. It is not a fact that there is a certain percentile of risks involved in working culture of such call centres and BPO’s; further probing into the context might reveal whether the risk are physiological, psychological and psychosocial. All of these terms are equivalently important in the terms of their rationality; however in this report we are to focus on psychosocial risk factors which are prevailing in the working cultures of such call centres and BPO’s. The research analyses following major research questions, which would determine the involved risk and how such situations arises in several contexts. 1. Difference between the job of call handler and other jobs; whether job of a call handler is more stressful than other works? 2. Whether the stress so induced is global or is present in rare cases? 3. Several factors which makes the job of a call handler stressful. 4. Recommendation of measures which should be adopted to reduce the effect analysed factors, inducing stress to the call handler. The research needs to be carried out on quantitative basis. Quantitative analysis included data collection techniques such as questionaries, surveys and other primary data. Here in this report a major portion of the data was collected from questionaries. For such questionaries 36 call centres were chosen, collectively these call centres employed around 144 employees of different profiles. Based on the analysis of the data so collected it was found that it the working design of a call handler was really stressful as compared to other job profile within the same organisation. This further gave a clear implication that call handlers were more prone to the risk of health
  8. 8. problems. The analysis also indicated that the stress phenomenon wasn’t global at all. Employees with stress issues were either working in IT business sector, large call centres or do not have much interest in the working design. Thus it can be concluded that there were various external and internal factors which drives the stress situation among the call handlers. On the basis of such analysis, several factors were undermined due to which call handling can become more and more stressful. Some of the factors were:  Workload was more than enough.  Do not have a clarification about the roles to be played.  Not being able to make use of skills efficiently and effectively.  Conflicts in the powers and roles in various situations. On the basis of understanding and analytics so formed various recommendations were made to combat such stress, profounded among the call handlers. Some of the recommendations included:  Making certain processes autonomous.  Defining clear roles and giving required authorities to attain the respective tasks.  Allowing innovations, so as to cherish the work done by the handlers on the basis of their skills.  Increasing the boundary of task.
  9. 9. 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Backgroundof the Study Last five year’s data reported a massive growth in the call centres and BPO sector. An estimated data reported that number of employees working in this sector varies from 331,000 to 530,000 (Cross Christine, 2015).The number are likely to cross 840,000 by year 2017 (Datamonitor, 2003). According to the estimated data, there has been a total number of 7,000 to 8,000 call centres currently working (Datamonitor, 2003) in UK. These number of call centres are expected to rise above 10,000 before 2017 (Datamonitor, 2003). The reason behind this instant growth is the progress of computer and telephonic technology. All of the data are in approximate numbers, as call centres are growing rapidly; also there had been a limitation in the agreement of exact definition of call centres. A recent report published in July, 2015 reported an employment for more than two hundred people in a call centre at NCO Europe Ltd. located at Lancashire. It currently have around 41,000 employees and the growing work load created job opportunity for 200 more people (IDS, 2000). The motive for presenting this data of NCO is to drag attention towards modern trend as a reference point. 1.2 Definition of a Call Centre During entire research, no single definition can conceptually define the ‘Call Center’; this is probably due to the wide range of operating areas of such organisations. However this report suggested an operational definition of call centre and call handler which is mentioned below.
  10. 10. 1.2.1 Call Centre ‘Call Centre is termed as a working environment for conducting and handling business via telephonic communication, along with the simultaneous use of DSE i.e. Display Screen Equipment in the working environment.’ 1.2.2 Call Handler ‘Call handler is termed as an employee substantially using his or her working time, proportion to respond to telephonic calls along with the use of DSE.’ A lot of negative comments has been communicated by the media about call centres. Terms like ‘electronic sweatshops’ and ‘battery hens’ are being used by various sources like Newspapers, Radio, and T.V. These terms illustrates call centres as a stressful job making call handler’s nature intensive. The jobs in call centres are normally perceived low in quality, boring and tedious. Parker S.k., (2002) stated proliferation in the line of production of call centres, which is quite contradicting phenomenon as people usually think of this as hectic and troublesome. Call centres are the model of mass production; where all other enterprises in the field of manufacturing had already moved to work, involving high practice profile (Parker S.k., 2002). 1.3 Designing of Work and Well-Being A guiding framework is quite important for the examination of psychological risk factors, which can be implemented using theory of work design, after being discussed with LAU (i.e. Local Authority Unit) representative of the respective organisation (Callaghan, 2001). Designing of work has been a matter of concern with job’s characteristics. Five core characteristics of job has been identified by Callaghan, (2001) relating to employee’s motivation and job satisfaction. The five core characteristics are mentioned below:
  11. 11.  Variety in skills: An extent to which skills are required by the job.  Identification of Task: An extent to which identifiable work piece completes as a whole rather than a part of work.  Significance of Task: A degree to which job has impact on people residing inside of organization as well as outside of organization.  Autonomy: A degree to which an implementation of choice and decision making has been allowed by the job holders.  Job Feedback: A degree to which an information based on the performance are provided to job holders. The above illustrated aspects are very influential and crucial over producing ‘critical psychological states’ in call handlers. For example, one may experience the important of his or her work on the basis of skill variety, task identity and significance of task in the job. On the other hand, autonomy involves understanding self-responsibilities over the given task and feedback, which somewhere helps in enhancing working culture. While analysing these perspective in deep context, four major results come out conclusively. These four outcomes are satisfaction, internal motivation, improvisation in performance; and absenteeism and turnover. (Parker & Wall, 1998). Basically, the job characteristic model is a theoretical approach which is widely used to create job designs (Parker & Wall, 1998). Although, the limitations are also observed in the model which may create certain conflicts in the design study, are discussed in (Parker, 1998). However, Parker and Wall concluded that, even if it has seen some limitations in design, specified job characteristics may found supportive over cross-sectional and longitudinal research, as it is an important determinant of outcomes.
  12. 12. In order to negotiate the weaknesses of JCM, Parker & Wall (1998) recommended an expanded model, which have been used by us for further research. The measures of work designs uses several perspectives given below.  Timing Control  Method Control  Role Breadth (a.k.a. ‘Control over Boundaries’)  Decision making Participations  Variety in Tasks  Utilization of skills  Workload  Conflicts in assigned Roles  Clarification of Roles  Support form Co-Workers In order to examine the context of call centre, these work characteristics clearly seems helpful. Frequently, limited varieties in the task assigned in call centre such as picking up or handling same calls over multiple times by the same handler is seen. In these scenarios, call handler is expected to repeat same lines of assistance over multiple calls, multiple times; simply which is called scripting. Interestingly, call handler become able to make justification and negotiation on call in a controlled manner, due to scripting the calls. This automatically strengthen them to deal with maximum number of calls in very short time, which call centre utilizes very cleverly. A system known as ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) is adopted by call centre through which, calls are automatically forwarded to corresponding consoles of distinct call handlers who have finished running call logs simultaneously. This process keeps themselves busy with their task and make them more dynamic in their allocated profession.
  13. 13. Another aspect which is required on allocating task to call handlers, is maintaining minimum call duration and delivering complete solution to each calling customer, alongwith maintaining maximum number of call as much as possible. These expectation are followed because, company requires maximum satisfaction from its customers and for this it pays for lesser duration; if duration gets longer, no extra pay is given. In this situation, call handler tries to finish call in the set duration which is awarded by associated client or company. This research implies that, call handler gets great load when working in such situations, the work design and design character may influence the health and performance of worker (see Parker & Wall, 1998). There have been cases of mental weaknesses in the call handlers who have lowered task variety. This can also be stated in other words as, if an employee is having greater job control gets higher satisfaction (Terry, 1999) Those employees who have poor characteristics in performance are also stated as mentally poor. With poor characteristics, conflicting roles results in contradictory demands from the managers of the call centres. Clarification in the roles to be performed by an employee, if no clarifications have been made it tends to mean that he or she is actually not aware of assigned task. Above describes different psychological risk factors or associated hazards (Cox & Griffiths, 1996). In order to reduce these psychological risk factor, it is necessary to reconsider the designing of framework. There are several researches and studies on examination of work re-design and hence, a compensation could be established between Health & safety and associated work culture (Parker, Jackson, Sprigg & Whybrow, 1998; Jackson & Parker, 2001; Parker & Williams, 2001). According to study made in (Parker et al, 2001), the redesigning of work will be helpful for constructing strategy over stress prevention and improvising organisational effectiveness (P- 24). Initiative of making improvement in the working culture may help for making improvisation in well-being and performance.
  14. 14. 1.4 Research Literature over Call Centres When our research begun during 2015, only few of published academic papers were found, corresponding authors had made their examinations on psychological risks such as stress, in call centres. Research to be published is often concerned with four distinct sectors of call centres. (Callaghan & Thompson, 2001) These sectors are management control forms (Bain & Taylor), management of high commitment (Fernie & Metcalf, 1998), relationships within industry and unionism (Zapf, Vogt, Seifert, Mertini, & Isic, 1999). Human Resource Management journal is devoted in the welfare of call centre human resources implementations (Volume 12, Number 4, 2002). It includes some informative papers which may help further in the research. As far as our evaluation made over call centres is concerned, it is familiar with the research made by Holman (2002). The topic of Holman research was based on ‘Employee well- being within a call centre’ is relevant with respect to the research we are preparing. Holfman had created it paper in 2002 which is focused over same concern that we have concerned about. Concentration over human resources in call centres is required primarily and the paper prepared by Holman is more focused than our own. This is stated so because, Holman’s paper study has got support from ESRC from the Centre of Organisation & Innovation (COI) in ESRC sector based at IWP which stands for Institute of work psychology which is affiliated with university of Sheffield. We have originated our focus in the area of psychological health and it is founded by NAME. We have taken this research to be based over Holman’s paper as it is stated crucial for our research in the earlier paragraphs. With the help of his paper, we can find some well- being measurements and competitiveness for our originated research.
  15. 15. 2. Method 2.1 Samples: The research was made using the primary data using questionaries. Although, for the success of the research it was quite crucial to take the right location to conduct the questionaries. Talking all the primary objectives of the research into account the locations were chosen as London, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and other England. The approach was to choose the call centres meeting the requirement on the basis of sector type, its size and location. This approach can be better denoted as stratified. There were 144 call centres chosen, based on the criteria laid out according the research requirements. To make the data more representative, call centres operating in different business sectors were accounted. The main sectors which were taken into consideration included financial, telecommunication, transport, emergency services and police services. The distribution of the call centres among the chosen sectors were quite non-uniform, as there are some sectors where there are only a few number of call centres operating, such as police service and emergency services. The chosen call centres were had variations in their size, which may vary from small, medium to large. This sorting on size was done on the basis of number of employees working the respective call centre. The distribution can be seen the later part of report. To collect the descriptive data, e required to have authoritative access to the employees, for asking them to take part in the questionaries. This as a crucial part of the analysis as it took much time to gain all the privileges in different call centres and their respective departments. Although, some of the call centres readily agreed to support, but some had their own code of conduct for whole process. Lastly, we could successfully collect all the data from 144 call centres all across the chosen regions.
  16. 16. 2.2 The Questionaries: Initially the questionaries was a huge built up and consisted of over 60 questions. However the original compiled version of the same consisted of only 24 questions. This happen as several experts from different call centres reviewed our questions and made necessary modifications; they recommended what would the critical questions which would give required insight and data into the context. Psychometric adequacy was used, which refers to the technique and theoretical concepts used for measuring psychology. Questionaries comprised of question based on various context, such as personal, occupational, work history, well-being and professional atmosphere. As the main objective of the research was to determine where to determine the psychological risk factors among the employees, specifically centred on the call handlers. Thus the questionaries was designed for the specific purpose. The details of the questionaries can be seen in appendix 1. 2.3 Procedure: To get started with the data collection process, the questionaries were sent to the 144 organisations, managing the respective call centres. These questionaries were sent with a cover letter explain the purpose of our research and what authorities e would be required to be granted in order to carry out the data collection process from their working environment. The employees were assured of the confidentiality of the data they are providing, with a condition of full co-operating of providing complete information, as per the questionaries. The questionaries were then distributed among several representative, which were the actually the employees working in the same call centre. The representative were further to distribute the questionaries to the call handlers, team leaders, managers and other listed employees. The planning was to complete the who process of questionaries in less than a month
  17. 17. time, for this the organisations were posted remainders, so as to extract maximum response from the employees. There were around 400 copies of questionaries distributed among the employees of all the sectors and call centres collectively. Out of these only 144 response containing useful information, although the percentile of response was greater than 60%. But the useful information remained to be around only 28%. This was due to the inappropriate data which was filled out by the employees.
  18. 18. 3. Results 3.1 Characteristics: 3.1.1 Size of the call centres: There are various ways of defining the size of such call centres, it may be on the basis of the infrastructure or on the basis of number of employees working in it. Here for this research, we have taken the data on the basis of the number of employees working different call centres. It was found that the size of the call centres was as low as involving 48 employees and as big as employing around 1600 employees. This gives a clear implication how big the data would have been transformed into if the analysis was made on the basis of each data point from 48 to 1600, thus for simplicity the data was divided into three units as small, medium and large. Call centres containing employees less than or equal to 50 employees were classified as small, employing between 51 to 500 was called medium; while employing greater than 500 was called as large. 3.1.2 Location of all centres: As described previously the questionaries were made in 144 call centres and sampling was done by taking only a definite amount of employees, so as to evaluate the data. As can be seen in the table below, the exact location of all of the call centres was not taken as the data would have become more complex and unreadable. Table 1 Distribution of call centres in different locations Region Count of Call centres London 85 Other England 36 Scotland 2
  19. 19. Wales 1 Ireland 5 Other 1 System 14 Total 144 3.1.3 Operating Business of the call centres: The data undertaken was quite widespread as can be seen in the table 2 below. While analysing the data that 43% of the call handlers were from Telecommunication sector while 40% was from financial services. While the remaining small percentiles were distributed among remaining sectors as transport, emergency services and police services. Table 2 Distribution of call centres according to operating business Sector % of call handlers Financial service 40.3 Telecommunications 43.8 Transport 5.6 Emergency services 6.9 Police service 3.5 3.1.4 Main Occupational Profiles available the Call Centres: The data was collected all across 144 available call centres, based on which the 68 number of call handlers were proactively questioned. The other profiles which took part in the questionaries included team leaders, call centre support, supervisor and manager. The data was intentionally collected more from the call handlers as the research is more focused on the whereabouts of the call handlers.
  20. 20. Table 3 Distribution of employees according to occupational profile Occupational Role in Call Centre Count Call handler 68 Team leader 34 Call centre support 17 Supervisor 11 Manager 14 Total 144 3.1.5 Distribution of Employees on the Basis of Age: Data was divided into five group represented certain age groups. It was further found that 39.6% of the call handlers were of the age group ranging between 25 to 34 years. Besides this there was a close proximity found between the number of call handlers of ages 18 to 24 and 34 to 44. Table 4 Distribution of Employees on the Basis of Age Age Count Percent 18 to 24 32 22.2 25 to 34 57 39.6 35 to 44 36 25.0 45 to 54 13 9.0 55 or older 6 4.2 Total 144 100 3.1.6 Distribution on the basis of Gender: It can be clearly seen that females dominates more in the call handler job, as the percentiles are around 57%.
  21. 21. Table 5 Distribution on the basis of Gender Gender Count Percent female 83 57.6 male 61 42.4 Total 144 100.0 3.1.7 Distribution on the basis of tenure of work: The questionaries consisted of asking the employees the duration for which they have been serving the organisation. It can be clearly seen from the table 6 below36% of the call handlers have been working in the organisation since 2-5 years; however there might be variations in the actual years as the questionaries made the division taking into account 3 years range. Table 6 Distribution on the basis of tenure of work Time length Count Percent 3-6 months 34 23.6 7-12 months 44 30.6 2-5 years 53 36.8 6-10 years 9 6.3 11-15 years 4 2.8 Total 144 100.0 3.1.8 Distribution on the basis of working hours: Working hours can be further analysed on the basis of contracted hours and actual working hours. Both of them are illustrated as below:
  22. 22. Table 7 Distribution on the basis of Contracted working hours Contracted Hours Count Percent 4-6 hours 20 13.9 7-9 hours 69 47.9 10 hours and above 55 38.2 Total 144 100.0 Table 8 Distribution on the basis of Actual working hours Actual Working Hours Count Percent Much greater 6 4.2 Somewhat greater 15 10.4 Slightly greater 52 36.1 About the same 60 41.7 Slightly fewer 6 4.2 Somewhat fewer 5 3.5 Total 144 100.0 3.2 Difference between the job of call handler and other jobs; whether job of a call handler is more stressful than other works? It is quite critical to evaluate whether the job and working design of a call handler is more stressful than other works. To perform the valuation of the question primary data has been taken into consideration. Studies by Holman (2002) suggest that there are several factors which might be responsible for such stressful situation; thus evaluating the conditions among the sample data will give a useful insight on the research data.
  23. 23.  View of Call Handlers and Other employees  Job satisfaction  Work load 3.2.3 View of Call Handlers and Other employees: It can be concludes from the table below, according to 48% of all call handlers their work design is much more complicated and stressful as compared to the other job profiles. Where 41% of employees with other occupational profiles said that the work design of call handlers is stressful. However as compared 28% of call handler and 14% of other employees said that the works of call handlers was very stressful and unconditional. Table 9 Job Anxiety and Job Satisfaction among different occupational profiles Variable Call handlers (n=68) Support role (n=17) Supervisor (n = 11) Managers (n = 14) P Job related anxiety 2.06 (0.92) 1.82 (0.78) 2.55 (0.85) 1.43 (0.57) Ns Job related depression 2.03 (0.90) 1.68 (0.65) 2.35 (0.82) 1.11 (0.51) **
  24. 24. Ns = not specified ** p<0.1 The above that shows that how much the people of various job profiles thinks that the work structure of the call handlers is quite hectic and unconditional. On the other hand there is kind of job anxiety in the people working in the call centres that the work structure and also the working hours of the call handlers are quite ungenueine. There is a percentage comparison of one organisation of 144 call centres which include 144 call handlers is taken in the above table. The table given below will provide the data how the person in one organisation thinks that the work structure of call handlers is very stressful and unconditional. Table 10 Mean/SD of Anxiety and Depression among employees Employees of organisation Job related anxiety N mean/s.d t-test Job related depression N mean/s.d t-test Call handlers 68 2.06(0.92) --- 68 2.03(0.90) --- Supervisors 11 2.55(0.85) 11 2.35(0.82) Call centre support staff 17 1.82(0.78) 17 1.68(0.65) Team leaders 34 2.09(0.92) 34 1.98(0.86 Managers 14 1.43(0.57) 14 1.11(0.51) Total 144
  25. 25. Figure 1 Job related anxiety among employees Figure 2 Job related depression among employees
  26. 26. This means that 14% of the other staff thinks that the call handler’s work is quite hectic as compared to the other staff work. The above shown is the distribution of the percentage of staff of different job roles and also the call handlers. Actually the fact is that the call handlers are the people who tried to help the people on the other side of the call and it would take them time to make them convinced about certain product and services so this automatically increase their working because they have the target based jobs. They have to take as many calls as it is transferred to them. 3.2.4 Job Satisfaction: The job satisfaction of the call handlers in the call centres depend on various factors like the working culture of the organisations, the salary package they are getting, the support of the senior staff and the coordinating staff, the appraisals which they get after a year or so and other important factors are the internal satisfaction of the job like the psychological factors, opportunity of development. These factors always make a count in considering the parameter of job satisfaction. The data is collected by analysing and discussing with the staff of the call centres that how much of the call handlers are satisfied with the job they are doing. The following data shows how much the people are satisfied with the job they are doing including all other staff. Out of 68 call handlers only 31% of the people are satisfied with the job and on the other hand the other people in the call centre have their satisfaction level as 38% of supervisors, 31% of call centre support staff, 30% of team leaders and 32% of managers. Table 11 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on job satisfaction Employees of organisation Number of employees Job satisfaction (intrinsic) Job satisfaction (extrinsic)
  27. 27. Call handlers 68 3.16(1.21) 4.22(0.94) Supervisors 11 3.82 (1.21) 4.729(0.96) Call centre support staff 17 2.88(0.85) 4.42(0.84) Team leaders 34 3.18(1.21) 4.64(0.78) Managers 14 2.79(0.88) 4.66(1.54) p 144 ** Ns Ns= not specified **p<0.01 Figure 3 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on intrinsic job satisfaction
  28. 28. Figure 4 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on extrinsic job satisfaction The above data shows that the average of 32% of the people who are working in the call centres are satisfied with the job they are doing. This shows that it is quite a weak percentage which shows that the job satisfaction in the call centres is very low. The other part which can be used to check whether the call handlers are not getting as much as they should get is the work load. 3.2.4 Work load of the employees The work load of the call handlers is much more as compared to other people which are working in the call centre because they are the people who by using their skills they can satisfy the customers by helping them in solving the problems/. On the other hand when is out of the hands of call handlers that it is the duty of technical support staff which help the customers to help them in solving the problems. The other people in the call centre do not handle that much mental pressure of work as compare to other responsible people in the house. There is a specific
  29. 29. data which shows that how much call handlers and the other supporting staff is handling the work loads. Table 12 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on Work load Employees of organisation Count Work load Mean/S.D t-test Percentage of Work load Call handlers 68 2.82(0.77) ----- 80 Supervisors 11 2.64(0.85) 60 Call centre support staff 17 3.29(1.18) 40 Team leaders 34 3.18(1.11) 60 Managers 14 2.79(0.82) 30 Total 144 Figure 5 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on work load
  30. 30. The above percentage of work load shows that the work load on the call handlers is much more as compared to the other people in the call centre. In the above data which shows about 80% of the work load is handled by the call handlers because they are the people who handle all the customers. The team leaders and supervisors have to take care to set the target of the number of call that each call handler has to attend. The other people manager only handle 30% of the work load, supervisors handle 60%, other call centre support staff handles 40% and team leaders shares as much work load as the supervisors handle because they are the people who will be held responsible for any kind of flaws in the work. This shows that the people working as call handlers handle more mental stress as compared to others. Here an important question rises that the working stress is equal for every person who is working as the call handler. 3.3 Working as the call handler is equally stressful for every one This question is very important for any call centre management that who can handle the work pressure in the call centre who are not. It is equally important to judge for the well being of the employees working on different level in the call centre. The following are the factors which shows that who can handle the work pressure and stressful for everyone. 1) Difference of the business sector to well being 2) Number of employees in the call centre make difference to well being 3) Nature of call handling 4) Nature of employment contract 5) Working as a part time call handler 6) Having a degree make a difference in stress
  31. 31. The above factors make account in determining that stress is equal for every standard of people who work in the call centre. The basic thing which raises here is their interest in working the call centre is because of their interest or they are doing it for the money point of view. This makes a huge difference in the stress because if it from the money point of view that it would certainly more stress on the mind. 3.3.1 Difference of business sector to well being According to the Holman (2002) in the business sector the mental anxiety is very less as compared to financial sectors. Here the most important issue is the depression which can be faced while in the business sectors because of the huge ups and downs in the business according to the market. The call handlers in the call sectors dealing with the business sectors handle the work pressure of providing the exact details of the market to the customers. The following data will provide the information that how much the business sector makes difference in the well being of the call handlers and other employees. Table 13 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well being Sector Count Job related anxiety Job related depression percentage Financial service 58 2.79(0.69) 2.68(0.57) 19 Telecommunications 63 3.12(0.85) 3.13(0.85) 25 Transport 8 2.90(0.79) 2.78(0.76) 20 Emergency services 10 2.52(0.68) 2.46(0.58) 18 Police service 5 3.00(0.79) 2.91(0.79) 21
  32. 32. Total 144 21= Average Group difference F ratio Sector Centres within sectors 1.91** 1.91ns 3.57** 3.39** Ns= not significant **p<0.01 Figure 6 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well being And on the other hand the well-being in the call centres is about 10% so it very clear from the data provided that the well-being in the business sector is much high then that that of the call centres therefore it means that the mental stress in the business sector is less as compared to the call centres. According to the data there is only 15% of the stress that is handled by the call handlers in the business sectors.
  33. 33. 3.3.2 Number of employees working in the call centre make a difference to well being The number of people working in the call centre means the size of the organisation. If the size of the organisation is small i.e. the number of employees will be around 50 or less then the work load on them would high. This give the indication the mental stresses are high in the small scale sectors. In small size call centres the job responsibilities of the people are not defined and they are forced to handle extra job responsibilities which raise the mental pressure on the people. On the other hand the call centres with large size (100 or more that that) or enough number of employees so that they could handle the job without facing any extra pressure of extra job responsibility. The following data shows that the people who are working in the call centre could handle how much percentage of mental pressure and stress. Table 14 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well-being and job satisfaction Size of call centres Job related anxiety Job related depression Job satisfaction Percentage of stress Small size (50) 2.64(0.69) 2.54(0.68) 4.44(0.95) 80 Medium size(70) 2.91(0.78) 2.89(0.80) 4.18(1.00) 60 Large size(24) 2.89(0.77) 2.81(0.77) 4.26(0.95) 40 P Ns * Ns * *p<0.05,ns=not specified
  34. 34. Figure 7 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on well-being and job satisfaction The above data shows that there is tremendous amount of work pressure in the small size call centres which is the main reason that call handlers face lot of mental stress to complete the targets. On the other hand the medium size call centre also have a considerable amount of working stress that is 60% of the total pressure belong to the call handlers. While on the other hand with large size call centre the job responsibilities are clearly mentioned and they have to perform their defined duties this means that the mental stress is quite less as compared to others. That is of the amount of 40% which is about half of that of the stress in the small size call centres. 3.3.3 Nature of call handling In the call centres there are two type of calling system usually present that is the inbound and outbound and even both depend on the working system of the call centres. According to the local authority health and safety directorate told to measure that whether the working stress in more in case of inbound based call centres or in the outbound processes. The following data
  35. 35. which is collected from the 144 call centres which consists of both type of inbound and out bound voice processes which shows the percentage of level of stress in the call centres. Table 15 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on nature of call handling Nature of call centres Count Job related anxiety Job related depression Percentage of mental stress and job satisfaction Inbound voice process 80 2.93(0.77) 2.89(0.79) 60 & 73 Outbound voice process 24 2.70(0.77) 2.61(0.77) 48 & 92 Both 40 2.86(0.87) 2.74(0.69) 58 & 75 Total 144 P Ns ns Figure 8 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on nature of call handling and well-being
  36. 36. In the above data it is clear that in the outbound voice process call centres there is very less about of mental stress as compared to the inbound and both types of voice processes that is of 48% as compared to 60% and 58% respectively. On the other hand if we talk about the job satisfaction level in the call centres that it is quite high in the outbound voice processes call centres that is of the rate of 92% as compared to 73% and 75% respectively. 3.3.4 Nature of employment contract The nature of employment contract play a crucial role while considering the mental stress because if the salary packages are high then mentally it is clear that there would considerable amount of pressure and person is ready to take it. In this way it clear to the person that the company is paying me to handle the pressure of work. But where the work stress is high and the employment contract is not up to that level that it is quite difficult for the people to handle the pressure of the job because the person is not mentally prepared to handle that much amount of pressure. There is data which is collected after discussing this problem with the employees of the call centres. Table 16 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of employment contract, well-being and job satisfaction Type of employment contract of call handlers Job related anxiety Job related depression Job satisfaction GHQ Permanent (60) 2.94(0.78) 2.88(0.79) 4.14(1.00) 1.11(0.51) Temporary(84) 2.67(0.72) 2.63(0.69) 4.51(1.00) 0.96(0.45) P ** * ** * *p<0.05,**p<0.01,***p<0.001
  37. 37. Figure 9 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of employment contract, well-being and job satisfaction This data shows that the call handlers which are working on the permanent basis they are handling the more work pressure and stress that is 80% as compared to the temporary contract call handlers 40%. This is certainly making effect on the level of job satisfaction of the people and the data shows the same that the call handlers who are working temporarily have high job satisfaction and on the other hand the people who are working permanent have low job satisfaction i.e 85% and 40% respectively. 3.3.5 Working as a part time call handler In the call centres many call handlers are hired on the time basis which works for less than 30 hrs a week. According to a survey conducted in the call centre which shows that the part time call handlers have less amount of work pressure as compared to that of non- part timers. But the work taken from them is not that easy they have almost equal amount of pressure in their minds about the work. The data is shown in the table below which shows the level of work stress is there on the minds of the call handlers who are working as a part timers.
  38. 38. Table 17 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of job, well-being and job satisfaction Type of job (<30hrs) Job related anxiety Job related depression Job satisfaction GHQ (likert) Part time(50) 2.95(0.80) 2.88(0.76) 4.22(0.96) 1.10(0.56) Non part timer(34) 2.89(0.77) 2.85(0.80) 4.12(1.02) 1.04(0.49) P Ns Ns Ns Ns Ns= not specified Figure 10 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on type of job, well-being and job satisfaction The above given data shows that the work stress on the part time is not that less as said but they are also performing vary responsible duties in the working hours, they also face the
  39. 39. work stress while working in the call centres and on the other hand the non-part timers have considerably high amount of pressures. 3.3.6 Having a graduate degree make a difference in stress According to a scholar though about the literate professional, they have a considerable of skills to handle any kind of mental stress easily because they use their education to handle the work and use of the technology make them more reliable and active while working in any kind of company whether it is a call centre of any kind of other company. A data has been collected from the call centres that the people who have the degree, how they are able to handle the work pressure. Table 18 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on educational level, well- being and job satisfaction Education level Job related anxiety Job related depression Job satisfaction GHQ (likert) Degree holder call handlers 2.83(0.67) 2.80(0.75) 3.95(1.00) 1.05(0.45) Without degree holders 2.91(0.79) 2.87(0.79) 4.15(1.00) 1.09(0.51) P Ns Ns Ns Ns Ns= not specified
  40. 40. Figure 11 Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on educational level, well- being and job satisfaction Now this data is quite surprising that even being degree holders and have skills to handle the work pressure but still they are not satisfied with the job. Onthe other hand the call handlers who do not have the degree with them and they are also feeling the pressure of work and they are still satisfied with the job they are doing. The only reason of the less satisfaction of the job might be one of the following ;- The salary package, they are doing it for money and are not very much interested in working in a call centre and the without degree call handlers do not have any open options to do the job. To earn money they have to handle the work pressure and satisfied with what they are getting for it.
  41. 41. 4. Discussion 4.1 Do Females have Lower Levels of Wellbeing in Call Centres? For finding the answer of this question the research is done on 144 call handlers and collected data is made available in tabular form showing the distribution of number of male and female employee working in the call centres. On the basis of table 5 given in the section 3.1.6 it is interpreted that out of 114 call handers, 83 call handlers are female and rest 61 are males. This shows that out of 100%, there are 57.6 % of employee who are females and rest 42.2% are males. The rate of male employees working in call centres is lower than the female employees. Only 42.2% of males feel welfare; and the higher rate of female employees working in the call centres shows that females are lot more comfortable and dominates in this job. And hence this interprets that females do not have lower levels of wellbeing while working in call centres. 4.2 Does increased contracted hours decrease wellbeing? The percentage comparison of one organisation of 144 call centres which include 144 call handlers is done. On the basis of the collected data Comparisons of call handlers with other occupations on work load is done. Figure 5 given in the section 3.2 shows that about 80% of the work load is already getting handled by the call handlers. If contracted hour’s increases then there will be increase in the mental pressure among employees working in call centres. The increased mental pressure directly affects the level of performance which gets decreased day by day. This increased pressure certainly breaks their trust on the call centres. Some employees starts hating to work as a call handlers and gets discouraged to join their personal lives at the fullest. Some of them changes their profession. And hence it is interpreted that increased contracted hours decrease wellbeing.
  42. 42. 4.3 Does an employee's specific job role influence wellbeing? If so, which job roles improve wellbeing? On a general basis, it is reported that working on a certain level of rank in an organisation weather it is a call centre or any kind of other professional field influences the wellbeing. While working in an organisation the employees work under many leaders, during that time they influence from certain job roles and dream to become on that job role in life. For finding the answer of this question, a research is done on employee having different profile in call centres. The collected data is analysed and made available into the tabular form. On the basis of table 12 given in the section 3.2, Call handlers’ percentage of work load is 80. Whereas, other profile such as call centre support staff and managers have a work load of 40% and 30% respectively. This higher work load influences wellbeing of call handlers. Call handlers are likely to develop anxiety and depression faster than other job profile employees. The job role which influence the most is the Manager because of the less stress, which 15% lesser than call handlers. He also has power to change things all of a sudden and he do not need to answer to any of the employee working under him. 4.4 Is working as a call handler more stressful than working in other jobs? Working as a call handlers is much more stressful than any other job because they are the people who deals with the problems of the customers and if they unable to do so that they have to face the feedbacks from the managers and other team leaders. The other factors which add to their stress are the increased number of contracted hours which make them more stressful and decrease their confidence and reduce the time which they want to spend for their own. The job of handling calls has more stress and depression than that of working in other sectors. As the anxiety level of call centre jobs is higher and similar among all the call centre.
  43. 43. Anxiety and depression associated with call centre, both have higher ratio comparatively with other groups’ job (Mullarkey et al, 1999). There is a report of lowest levels in job satisfaction, also intrinsic job satisfaction of critically low. Even after making comparison among several call centres, the response is same critically data shows average Extrinsic satisfaction of call handler in the industry. (Holman, 2002) Though extrinsic is much higher than intrinsic as per data. There is a very least difference in opinion among several call centres. Which also clarifies, that a certain call centre will not be focusing or taken into account over getting claimed. However, call handlers have risk of facing mental health problems and this is the primary concern of the discussion other than rest of all discussion. (Mullarkey et al, 1999) 4.5 Does an interest inwellbeing ofstaff actually increase the wellbeing of staff? Yes obviously because an interest in well-being means they want to make the lives of the people well balanced with their social lives. This interest forces them to settle strictly the number of contracted hours of the call handlers or any other employee. An interest in the wellbeing of the staff makes them arrange certain events within the organisation which may interest the staff and try to make them to work for the organisation for more time. It is a psychological fact that if an organisation shows interest in the wellbeing of the staff then it contributes in a positive way to encourage the workers to work ethically for the organisation and for long period of time. 4.6 One who works as a one and all other call handlers who work in a team. Is it same stressful in both scenes? Differences in business sector
  44. 44. We found various business differences over estimating well-being in the sector of call handling perspectives. The call handler are found to be poorest well-being among distinct corporate market employees. Most of the influence has been seen in telecommunication and IT sectors. Only there are some minimal aspects where variability is achieved. Call Centre Size The call handler who works in small call centre have found to be less anxious and stressed but those of medium size and large size call centre are mostly responsible for mental strain and job related depression. The highest level of satisfaction and extrinsic satisfaction both have been dealt in small call centre in an appropriate way whereas, large and medium does not meet call handlers’ expectations. Call Handling Nature There is no such nature has been achieved significantly over analysing nature of call handlers who continuously takes call at their workplaces. Nature of Non-Permanent call handlers There have been some good reviews found on account of analysing nature of part time call handlers comparatively to the permanent employees. They are different in well-being which seem likely to get more exposer. Education Attainment There has not been seen any difference in the behaviour of well-being among call handlers having higher degree of education and those who have lower education. Scripting
  45. 45. Analysis says the call handlers who use to follow strict script report are settled at poorer well-being than that of those who do not follow. Monitoring Performance Those associates of call handling who have great skills and dynamic over electronic operations have been found greatest well-being among their other colleagues. The poorer well- being have been found those call handle who are not found active on professional electronic devices placed at their workplace. Interest over Residing in Call Centre The number of call handler who have been called as well-being have less interest in staying call centre and industry associated with it. 4.7 What are the aspects which are responsible for creating stress among call handlers? Work of all the associates of call handling have been examine carefully by us. We made a comparison of work culture of call centres and the work culture of other industries. We came to analyse that the employee who works as a call handler have less control comparatively the one works in other industry. Call handler have been reported less controllable than even that of ‘ladySew-Lean’ group. The people who belong to this group do work over lean production in which environment of garment manufacturing is to be faced. And Study says, the worker of lean production have greater control at their work than that of call handler who use to get AC halls at their workplaces (Jackson and Parker, 2001). We have also originated some comparisons between work culture call handling role and other job profile in the same call centre and the result have been found contradicting and unfavourable for call handlers. As we discussed above, call handlers are less controllable, feel
  46. 46. narrower in their role of assigned work, not dynamic with respect to their task, and less skills utilization as in other roles assigned in the same call centre for higher level authority. On other hand, efficiency of call handlers are higher than that of other employees with their assigned roles. Call handlers do not get conflicted with their respective roles whilst other respective employee are not worth residing in their assigned rolls. 4.8 Risk factors on the psychosocial aspects associatedwith Call Handlers As per our analysis there are some key things which correlates over setting different benchmarks of becoming well-being, variable and dynamic in the work. These three things are utilisation skill, workload and role conflicts. However, many characteristics of working design inter relates some other aspects in the psychosocial system. For this we were required to study more over individual concerns. Among distinct measure of well-being which have been taken out by us, we have found some common factors in each call handler. These common factors are anxiety, job regarded depression, intrinsic satisfaction and extrinsic satisfaction. On the other hand, the call handler who had poor well-being basically suffers from lack of skill utilization, workload, clarification and conflicting roles. Call handler lacks their working culture and capabilities only due to not making the full use of their skills. Having higher workload, and unclear about job role create so many conflicts arise within professional careers. Also, level of control does not decide the well-being ness of call handler as well. Because, the associates who had a low level of control has also come up in the list of well- being in several call centres.
  47. 47. 4.9 What are the key factors are worthimplementing in the work culture of call handler in reducing psychosocial risks There are some defined characteristics and properties found in the behaviour of call handler who use to be intrinsic to the job and feel uncomforted while thinking about changing it. These factors are,  Comfortably of speaking with people over phone rather than facing them – Though this form of communication never effective and less rich, it also deny to judge one’s character over phone as no relations and facial expression are shown.  Short-term interactions with customers – There is very less opportunity of repetition making in call centres to the same call handler and hence he or she becomes comfortable with respect to the client he or she is dealing with.  Dealing on the same concern over wide variety of people – As call handler knows what a client or customer is going to ask and what resolution he or she is about to deliver to the client. So very comfortably it delivers satisfactory resolution to various people without any extra efforts. And associates become used to of it.  Very less probability of call handlers to face problem in their working time – Commonly, in such scenarios call gets terminate and repeatedly it does not appear on the same call handler. These are intrinsic properties of job characteristics of the call handlers’ role and various challenges which use to be faced by an associate. This logic of framework is stationary in the field of dynamic culture as there no change in the characteristics and personality of a call handler reflects rather than accessing electronic system pretty fast. However, this reflects smarter performance of organisation as call handler becomes familiar with the assigned job. Overall, to be in call centre, a worker will be found pressurised, repetitive and rigidly
  48. 48. controllable. In the further research, we have found discussion over analysis of manager capabilities that how it designs the different roles of call handlers distinctly. 4.10 Overall Conclusion: As all the fingers of the hand are not same, it can be concluded that the work of a call handler is not stressful in all the workspaces, it is very much dependent on the practices the handlers are using. The variability seen in our statistical analysis reveals that there are so called ‘goods’ and the ‘bads’ in the practices, in which the call handlers are drawn into. Such bad practices lead to the disorders such as stress, anxiety and trauma. However, by following a standard practice this stress can be reduced to a much smaller extent. It is also evident that there will also always be a degree of complexity in the work design of a call handler; although, such complexity are the basis operation and the work which is a part of the process. Adding to it, that the job of a call handler will always be to receive and handler customer over a voice channel. However this can be reduced by frame working approaches and working in teams.
  49. 49. References Callaghan, G. &. T. P. (., 2001. Edwards revisited: technical control and call centres.. In: Economic and Industrial Democracy. s.l.:s.n., pp. 13-37. Cox, T. &. G. A., 1996. Handbook of work and health. New York: John Wiley. Cross Christine, G. B., 2015. The Psychological Contract in Call Centres: An Employee Perspective, s.l.: Cross Christine. Datamonitor, 2003. New Statistics from Datamonitor. [Online] Available at: http://www.cca.org.uk/indnews.html Fernie, S. &. M. D., 1998. hanging on the telephone: payment systems in the new, s.l.: s.n. Holman, D., 2002. Employee wellbeing in call centres. Human Resource Management Journal, 12(4), pp. 35-50. Holman, D., 2003. The New Workplace: A guide to the human impact of modern working practices. In: Call centres . Chinchester: John Wiley. Holman, D. C. C. &. T. P., 2002. The effects of performance monitoring on emotional labour on well-being in call centres. Motivation and Emotion, pp. 57-81. IDS, 2000. Pay and conditions in call centres, London: s.n. Jackson, P. P. S., 2001. Change in manufacturing: How to manage stress-related. In: Case studies in practitioner forma. Norwich, England: HSE Books, HMSO. Parker S.k., G. M. A. S. C. A. a. W. T., 2002. Effect of temporary contracts on perceived work characteristics and job strain. In: Personnel Psychology. s.l.:s.n., pp. 689-719. Parker, S. &. W. T., 1998. Job and work design. Organizing work to promote wellbeing and effectiveness. London: Sage.
  50. 50. Terry, D. &. J. N., 1999. Work control and well-being: a decade review. International Review of Industrial and Organizational. Zapf, D. V. C. S. C. M. H. &. I. A., 1999. Emotion work as a source of stress: the concept and development of an instrument. European Journal of Work and Organisation Psychology, Volume 8, pp. 371-400.
  51. 51. Appendix Questionaries: The questionaries done with 114 call centres comprises of following questions:  Do you have any children?  Length of job in your previous profession  Do you think training and recruitment method can reduce turnover?  I have access to counselling or debriefing from managers  What is your age?  What is your gender?  At which location do you work?  Which of the following best describes your current relationship status?  What is your area of work?  Which of the following best describes your qualification?  Which of this best describes your call centre job role?  Length of current role of job?  How many hours do you actually work?  What are your contracted hours?  How would you describe your job role?  How challenging is your job?  I am satisfied with my opportunities for professional growth.  Do you think there are effective ways to improve wellbeing of call-centres' employees?  Do you think there is a high turnover rate within your industry?
  52. 52.  Do you think introducing reward system can reduce turnover rates?  Do job targets seem to be too demanding?  Do you get support from your team leader or supervisor after attending to an aggressive call?  Management is not very interested in the wellbeing of staff.  Managers and team leaders always support us.

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