Is it time to overhaul the sitting culture in your contact centre?
Did you know that a third of all call centre operators avoid exercise completely during the working week? [Source: The Wellbeing At Work League research commissioned by Brita]. This is bad news for an industry which currently employs over 1 million people across the UK.
“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent we don’t even question how much we’re doing it and, because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t even occur to us that it’s not OK. In that way, sitting has become the smoking of our generation,” said Nilofer Merchant, in her 2013 Ted Talk ‘Got a meeting? Take a walk’.
The good news is that, as a contact centre manager, you have the power to change this. Just getting your agents moving for a few minutes each day can be a great way to get some fresh air (and thoughts) into the contact centre.
Here are a few simple ideas you could try to get your agents moving.
1. Introduce a reward scheme for using the stairs
A great way to get your agents moving is to introduce a reward scheme for using the stairs.
One way to do this is to give out a raffle ticket to everyone who climbs the stairs each morning – and then for them all to be put towards a prize draw at the end of the month.
In keeping with encouraging health and fitness, the prize could be a pedometer, a new bike or even a gym membership.
2. …Or a penalty for using the lift
This idea could be extended to issuing a penalty for using the lift.
This could involve putting £1 in the equivalent of a ‘swear jar’ for every ride in the lift – with the proceeds going to charity at the end of the month.
3. Take your agents on a ‘walking meeting’
Rather than taking an agent into your office for their monthly one-to-one meeting, you could try taking them for a walk around the block instead.
This has the added benefit of removing an agent from the corporate environment, which may result in a more honest and open discussion about their role in the company.
4. Keep everyone on their feet during team briefings
Some contact centres have as many as three team briefings per day – and introducing some light exercise to these sessions can be a great way to keep your employees healthy.
Ideas range from hosting a ‘standing meeting’ in the corridor to forming a “conga line” en-route to the meeting room.
5. Introduce a ‘who can do the most steps’ competition
Pitching your agents against each other in a competition can be a great way to create some excitement around walking.
One way to do this is to invest in some company pedometers (which can cost as little as £2 each online) and give them out to your agents.
You can then record how many steps everyone has done at the end of each week and award a prize to the person or team who has done the most. You could also give out a ‘booby prize’ to the person who has done the least.
6. Start a lunchtime walking club
Starting a lunchtime walking club – either daily or weekly – is a great way to incorporate regular exercise into the working routine.
Encouraging your agents to spend time together outside of the office environment can also help to improve team bonding.
7. Encourage your agents to stand up
Encouraging your agents to stand up for just one call per day can help to keep them active. This could be promoted via a poster campaign or be led by a team leader.
This has the added benefit of improving their posture and subsequently the sound of their voice over the phone.
8. Put treadmills in the break-out room
Putting treadmills in the break-out room is another way to keep your agents moving.
While they may not be used too much in the summer, they provide a viable alternative to braving the snow and rain during the colder months.
They also offer your agents a great way to stay fit – even when they want to watch the football during their lunch hour.
[Editor’s Note – Please remember to discuss these ideas with your HR Team before introducing them to your agents, to avoid alienating people who are physically unable to take part.]