4 Ways to Enhance Wellness in Call Centers

During the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, wellness in the workplace has become more relevant than ever. This renewed focus on employee well-being is key to creating a happy, healthy, and productive workplace, starting with the layout and design of the contact center itself.

Today, contact centers face many unique challenges due to their fast-paced and often noisy nature. There are a number of easy ways to overcome these hurdles while drastically increasing the well-being of your workforce. Here are four good ideas to start:

1. Create Acoustically Friendly Workstations

Call centers are noisy by nature. When you're constantly talking over the person next to you, you're bound to encounter a whole new level of workday frustration. Soundproofing workstations is a multi-tiered process that involves every aspect of the office space. In this instance, it's worth consulting an acoustic engineer who can advise on everything from simple improvements to larger overhauls.

Recommendations will often include positioning employees in favorable directions to make sure that reverberating sound doesn't go too far. Acoustic panels on walls and ceilings, as well as noise-cancelling window treatments, can also reduce the amount of reflected sound throughout the space.

Perhaps the costliest sound-mitigating measures will change the way you look at cubicle systems. Basic panels are usually designed for silent, sedentary employees. Call centers require more intricate systems that feature acoustic material built right into the sides of the cubicles, reducing the amount of sound that can travel through the walls while reducing reverberation. You'll want to ensure that cubicles are also high enough to prevent sound from traveling over the panels.

For all-around coverage, many of these modern systems can be upgraded to include sliding doors at the entrance.

2. Focus on Ergonomic Seating

Deskbound employees often face long hours sitting in the same position. Ill-equipped task chairs are a quick way to increase day-to-day frustration and long-lasting pain for employees. Instead of paying for repeated visits to the chiropractor, invest in office chairs that have built-in ergonomic adjustments that agents can tailor to their liking. These features can vary and can include any combination of fully adjustable arms, seat depth sliders, lumbar support, and various tilt and tension options.

However, adjustments can only go so far. Size-specific seating might be necessary for employees at both larger or smaller than average statures, making it worthwhile to have a few big and tall and petite options available. Providing seating with accurate measurements, padding, and shape can ensure that employees feel as comfortable as possible at their workstations, and these selections often include many of the valuable adjustment points available on standard-size chairs.

3. Optimize Overhead and Task Lighting

There's nothing quite as frustrating as the idle flicker of old, dated fluorescent lighting. It's unsurprising that few to no employees enjoy this staple of the old office. Overhead upgrades might be as simple as installing LED tube bulbs instead of fluorescent, though you'll want to make sure you're buying bulbs that are compatible with your existing hardware. For new installs, make sure that overhead lights can be dimmed or brightened as needed so that lighting can be adjusted to complement any natural light coming in.

Standing-height cubicle panels are often available with transparent stackers at the top, however; many panels are still solid and tend to block natural light. Look into systems that offer optional lighting that can be built right into the workstation or encourage employees to use task lighting to illuminate their immediate workspaces. This also allows employees to control how much or how little light they'd prefer at their workstations.

4. Open a Dialog with Employees

As you're making upgrades and improvements, reach out to your employees to see how they feel about their environments. Every office is different, as is every industry, and the best solutions are tailored to individuals' needs. Some groups might place an emphasis on aesthetics while others might prioritize comfort. The easiest way to gauge employee needs is through an open dialogue during the design process. The results might be surprising or might be aligned with your original ideas, but showing your staff that their voices are heard is invaluable.

Tonya Dybdahl is space planning and design department manager at National Business Furniture.