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Self-care in the contact center: A win-win for your team and your business

Posted May 16, 2019
Woman meditating on her desk

Working in customer service is not always easy. Interacting day in and day out with a wide, often unpredictable cross-section of the public can be tiring and challenging, to say the least. For those working in contact centers in particular, answering repetitive queries and complaints day-in and day-out can be psychologically taxing, which is why a focus on self-care is an absolute must.

Self-care is much more than just a mud-mask and essential oils (although these can certainly help). It’s about taking time to care for your own mental and physical well-being; a challenging endeavor in our hyper-connected, modern age where it can feel like you’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions at once.

By virtue of its name, ‘self-care’ is personal and must be initiated and carried out by the individual, but that doesn’t mean companies don’t play a role. An employees’ ability to provide self-care is reliant upon their employer creating an environment and fostering a culture where health and well-being are prioritized.

Here’s a closer look at a few employer-led initiatives that promote self-care in the contact center to ensure your company’s greatest assets are healthy, engaged and inspired to grow their careers.

Comprehensive healthcare and parental benefits

Finding the time to think about and address your own self-care needs can be exponentially more difficult if you’re already busy caring for your family and managing work demands.

By providing broader healthcare coverage plans, parental leave and support programs, employers can help their employees balance work, family and personal responsibilities. For example, TELUS International offers extended health insurance benefits to their team members’ families (including parents) and provides onsite daycare in certain locations.

Fitness facilities

‘Sitting’ has recently been touted the new ‘smoking’ because of its overwhelming linkage to chronic health problems. Spending eight or more sedentary hours a day, five days a week, at the office can be extremely detrimental to your workforce’s health and well-being.

Encouraging an active lifestyle and healthy diet both inside and outside the workplace is key to help employees stay healthy. Companies that provide access to healthy food options in cafeterias and vending machines, onsite fitness facilities, bike lockers and shower facilities experience a number of benefits, including reduced absenteeism. In fact, Johnson & Johnson estimates that their employee wellness programs have collectively saved them as much as $250 million over the past 10 years.

Onsite medical staff and mental health resources

Self-care is often the first thing to be dropped when pressed for time, but having onsite medical professionals takes time, as well as effort, out of the equation. Whether it’s for a routine checkup, a vaccine or a referral to a specialist, providing this kind of on-site support to customer service agents increases the likelihood that they will make an appointment. In some cases, it could mean seeking a medical opinion for a health issue that they otherwise wouldn’t have the time or money to do outside of work

It’s also important to acknowledge that an employee’s well-being includes their mental health. Having an onsite social worker or counselor, employee resource groups, employee assistance programs and health benefits that include psychologist services can help address stress-related depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that may be present in the workplace.

Learning and training programs

We all know the adage ‘you are what you eat’ when it comes to our bodies, but the same can be said for what we feed our minds. In this regard, one of the best things an employer can do is give its employees ample opportunities to expand their horizons by developing new skills and knowledge, both professionally and personally.

This is the impetus behind many TELUS International employee learning programs that include language training and special interest groups such as photography and cooking clubs. The company also offers libraries where team members can lose themselves in a book during their breaks.

Body, mind & soul

Giving back to the community and helping others feeds the soul, another key component to overall well-being. Employees are looking to be a part of something bigger and companies should consider incorporating a corporate social responsibility program that reflects causes its team members are passionate about. By organizing volunteer activities that create meaningful social change, employees can feel good about the positive impact they have on their community.

At its heart, great customer service comes down to great people. To ensure your workforce is bringing their best selves to work every day, employers must recognize their key role in providing the tools and resources to reduce call center stress and ensure their self-care is a priority. By taking a multi-pronged and holistic approach to the health and wellness programs they offer, a company will simultaneously promote the health of their workforce and their organization.

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