Working conditions and management practices in call centres have been put under the spotlight following a survey by UNISON. The union found that four in five workers suffered headaches while more than 60% experienced pains in their hands, wrists and back. One third found their work station uncomfortable and only a quarter felt their software systems were easy to use and efficient. Background noise made 85% of staff feel uncomfortable.The survey sampled the views of people working in call centers throughout Scotland, many of whom are employed by local authorities. Call centres are a growing source of employment north of the border with 46,000 working at more than 200 sites.
The survey is a warning to organizations in the public and private sectors of the risks that call centers present. UNSION has launched a six-point call centre charter: ‘Raising the Standard’. It aims to develop best practice in this area where an increasing number of staff are likely to be employed in the future. The union recognizes that progress has been made in improving working conditions and management culture but it calls for all call centres to be brought up to the standard of the best. The charter includes: a positive approach to worklife balance, better job design and training and development.