Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Executive Insights - April 2009

Chris Knop
Executive Committee Member
Marketing & Corporate Social Responsiblity

Healthy Staff Healthy Profits

The HKCCA is committed to keeping you, our members up to date with corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in the contact centre industry.

Let’s firstly review what the concept of CSR encompasses (for full details refer to our white paper “Answering the Call for Corporate Social Responsibility”).

CSR encourages organisations to be accountable for their social and environmental impact beyond profit or legal obligations. It suggests that organisations consider their “stakeholders” in all aspects of conducting business.

Stakeholders are all those who are influenced (directly or indirectly) by an organisation. They can generally be grouped into the categories of:
  1. Employees
  2. Customers
  3. Suppliers (supply chain management)
  4. Community (including environmental impact)
  5. Shareholders (and other investors)
  6. Media
  7. Government and regulators

In this article we will focus on the stakeholder employees, specifically related to the area of occupational health and safety and the use of display screen equipment.

Contact centre work involves sitting in a somewhat fixed position for many hours on end. It also involves restricted movements to access and use the computer, paperwork and answering phones. All of this brings with it considerable stress on the body and mind if ergonomics are not properly addressed.

It is extremely important to have display screen equipment guidelines in place. This is so that workstation best practices can be followed which minimize risk of injury and stress on your employees.

Not only should guidelines be in place, they need to be reviewed periodically to ensure they are being followed on an ongoing basis.

Some benefits of this are:

  1. Happier healthier staff
  2. Reduced sick leave due to stress or injury in the workplace
  3. Higher productivity
  4. Increased profit resulting from higher productivity and a healthy available workforce
The Hong Kong Labour Department has an enforceable regulation as well as code of practice in place relating to Display Screen Equipment. It is an excellent reference for all types of call centres.


The HKCCA suggests:
  1. If you already have display screen equipment guidelines in place – review them against the Labour Department’s guidelines for best practice benchmarking
  2. If you don’t have formal guidelines in place – use the Labour Department’s material
There are two main documents to refer to which are available on the department’s website. Click on the following to download:
  1. A Health Guide On Working with Display Screen Equipment
  2. Working with Display Screen Equipment

There are practical diagrams for your reference and even a workstation risk assessment checklist.

The regulation not only covers call centre employees. Chances are that your company has many display screen equipment “users” who are affected by the regulation. Consider making sure your human resources department is aware of the regulation and actively promotes its guidelines amongst all departments.

It is possible and advisable to go on step further and have certified DSE staff in your contact centre or company. This will then provide you with a DSE “champion” who can conduct audits on all DSE users. Courses are run by the Occupational Safety & Health Council and could be found by clicking here.

So go on don’t just sit there! Make DSE guidelines an integral part of your occupational health and safety commitment to your employees – one of your most valuable stakeholders.

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