Call Centers and Body Aches October 23 2015

If you’re working at a sedentary environment    such as a call center, have you ever wondered why your neck and shoulders ache after a day’s work? That no matter how many massages you get they keep on coming back. Research shows that call center workers are at a high risk of upper extremity musculoskeletal symptoms due to poor workstation characteristics and psychological stress.

D’Errico et. al (2010) discovered a high incidence of upper limb musculoskeletal symptoms -  especially in the shoulder-neck region amongst call center workers. According to data gathered from surveying 775 workers from seven call centers in Turin, Italy - neck pains were the highest (39%), followed by shoulders (22%), hand-wrist (10%) and elbow symptoms (4%). Symptoms are greatly influenced by two things: psychological stress, which can be observed with the pressures that are associated with work; and ergonomic factors    such as the comfort and functional design within their work areas.

Work stress can never be completely removed; it can be lessened by being more organized, but still dependent on one's workload. Alternatively, more staff can be hired to share the workload, but that can be financially stressful. The ergonomic factor, on the other hand, can be modified by having alternative workstation designs such as ones that can be height-adjusted to provide adequate back and forearm support and mobility at the same time.

Stand up desks provide workers the ability to adjust their keyboards at a comfortable height parallel to monitors, preventing neck and shoulder strains and making workers feel comfortable while working. They are a cost-effective long term investment that offices and call centers can provide their employees, as they have a lot of benefits not only in productivity, but for a workers’ health as well.

 

Reference:

D’ Errico, A., Caputo, P., Falcone, U., Fubini, L., Gilardi, L., Mamo, C., Coffano, E. (2010). Risk Factors for Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Call Center Employees. Journal of Occupational Health, 52, 115-124.