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Now, help at hand for call centre execs

An independent body has been formed to help executives fight physical and mental disorders by talking to experts.
PTI | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JAN 29, 2005 07:51 PM IST

Help may be finally at hand for scores of young call centre industry professionals in India who increasingly fall prey to ailments like insomnia, depression and digestive system disorder due to job stress.

In a first of its kind initiative, an independent body has been formed to help the call centre executives fight physical and mental disorders by talking to experts and sharing their woes with peers.

From tackling abusive and racist clients overseas to staying connected with the family and friends despite working in the night shifts to service customers in the West, the Young Professionals Collective (YPC) seeks to address all these.

The collective, lunched last weekend, will also sensitise the call centre managements and their overseas clients, the Government and other stakeholders about working conditions in this money-spinning sector.

"Our objective is to ensure the framing of standard working conditions in all call centres in India that is at par with international practices," noted city-based labour lawyer Vinod Shetty told IANS.

Shetty, along with two of his colleagues, has formed the YPC that is to be registered as a trust in the next couple of months.

Despite being a trade union activist, Shetty claims the collective would function only as a "welfare organisation" and it is not an attempt to unionise the burgeoning call centre industry.

"We are not going to make a statement against anybody. Instead of a confrontationist attitude, we want to launch a collaborative exercise with the industry as well as the Government," he said.

"We find that most of the call centre professionals today are not equipped to handle the graveyard shifts. This results in grave physical as well as psychological disorders and a high attrition rate in the industry.

"The industry, on its own, is not able to handle the high attrition rate. With the launch of the Young Professionals Collective, call centre companies can now outsource the welfare of their professionals to us."

Under the collective, a help-line has already been set up where experts would make call centre professionals aware of a host of issues like sexual harassment at workplace, drug abuse, alcoholism, and unsafe sex.

"In our research, we found that most of the call centre professionals silently suffer at their workplaces, as they don't know where to go to discuss their problems," said Shetty.

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