Publications (3)4.48 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: The present study sought to describe call-center working conditions and call-handlers' subjective experience of their work. A transversal study was performed in companies followed by the 47 occupational physicians taking part. A dedicated questionnaire included one part on working conditions (work-station organization, task types, work schedules, and controls) and another on the perception of working conditions. Psychosocial risk factors were explored by three dimensions of the Karasek questionnaire, decision latitude, psychological demands and social support. A descriptive stage characterized the population and quantified the frequency of the various types of work organization, working conditions and perception. Certain working conditions data were crossed with perception data. The total sample comprised 2,130 call-handlers from around 100 different companies. The population was 71.9% female, with a mean age of 32.4 years. The general educational level was high, with 1,443 (68.2%) of call-handlers having at least 2 years' higher education; 1,937 of the workers (91.2%) had permanent work contracts. Some working situations were found to be associated with low decision latitude and high psychological demands: i.e., where the schedule (full-time or part-time) was imposed, where the call-handlers had not chosen to work in a call-center, or where they received prior warning of controls. Moreover, the rate of low decision latitude and high psychological demands increased with seniority in the job. The rate of low decision latitude increased with the size of the company and was higher when call duration was imposed and when the call-handlers handled only incoming calls. The rate of high psychological demands was higher when call-handlers handled both incoming and outgoing calls. This study confirmed the high rate of psychosocial constraints for call-handlers and identified work situations at risk.
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ABSTRACT: The present study sought to assess the impact of telephone call center employees' working conditions on health by identifying at-risk employment situations. A transversal study was performed in companies followed by 47 occupational physicians taking part (working conditions have been previously described). A self-administered medical questionnaire was used to collect data on absence due to sick leave, hearing and visual problems, musculoskeletal disorders, psychotropic drug use, etc. An analog-scale self-assessment of health status and a general health questionnaire (GHQ-12) were used. Personal or familial events that might underlie health problems and affect GHQ-12 results were quantified and taken into account in a logistic regression. A total of 2,130 call-handlers were included. Workers who had availed sick leave during the previous 12 months were 60%. The most frequent musculoskeletal complaints over the previous 12-month period concerned the cervical region (59%). During the same period, 77.3% of subjects experienced visual fatigue, 50% reported auditory fatigue signs and 47% vocal disturbance or fatigue. According to the Likert scale, 39.4% of workers had showed psychological distress. Almost 24% of the workers had used psychoactive medication during the previous 12 months. A significant association was found between psychological distress and the frequency of musculoskeletal disorders. Psychological distress and musculoskeletal disorders were significantly greater in workers with Job Strain and Iso Strain. After taking non-occupational factors into account, some occupational factors were found to increase the risk of psychological distress (Likert >12): imposed full-time schedule, being unable to simultaneously meet both quality and quantity requirements, situations of tension with clients, negative comments from superiors, and lack of recognition from superiors. This survey of over 2,000 call center employees highlighted the high frequency of psychological distress in this population and the health impact of working conditions.