How to Create an Equal Opportunity Work Environment. - Urban Hyve

“This
article aims to provide you with the most up to date information
on Systems and Services designed to assist with the day to day running
of a call centre , with special onus placed on the need for adequate
training and disability services to exist.”

Creating an Office environment requires more than just
an understanding of interior design and Operational Health and Safety Practices
because the parameters of the ‘office’ have changed.


Now the approach to operational health and safety and
employee well being needs to be a holistic one, and no longer defined by the
hours we work and the location that that work is being done.

 


Centrelink_Call_Centre_2010 How to Create an Equal Opportunity Work Environment. Future of Work
 Photo credit: www.latrobe.vic.gov.au

 

Communicate, Educate
and Automate Your Call Centre.


A Call Centre is not your usual run of the mill office
environment, and although on the face of it- it’s like any professional office
environment around the world, if you treat it as such then you will find things
start to unravel very quickly.
A Call centre is different because it really puts an onus on
the important facets of operating a business, that being communication,
education, and automation.
With this in mind I think it is important to look at the different
aspects of a typical call centre and discuss in detail the various areas that
make the business run efficiently – finding in turn what changes need to be
made to maximise your return and increase the company’s bottom line.

 

Not All Employees are
the Same.


Specialised office equipment is designed specifically to
benefit a person with a physical, visual, hearing and/or cognitive impairment,
but understanding what this equipment is and how it can help not just the
employee with an impairment but the call centre as a whole is paramount.

 

What’s Your Most
Valuable Asset?


Your employees are always your most valuable asset, and
finding ways to make them happier will not only make your call centre a more
enjoyable place to be, it will also increase productivity and open
communication up that little bit more.

Audio Visual and
Communication Aids


It is an essential part of any ‘team’ that people are able
to communicate freely and easily, and in a call centre environment the onus
placed on communication is even more relevant.
Some tips to encourage open communication within the office
may include: (but are not limited to)
  •  Remember
    the 7 C’s of Communication.

    Clear, concise, concrete, correct,
    coherent, complete and courteous.
  • Encourage
    the use of Instant Messenger Services

    Allowing employees to communicate without having to leave their desk actually
    increases productivity and opens up lines of communication that may otherwise
    have remained closed
  • Remember
    it goes both ways!

    Treat your employees as equals and show them the respect they deserve. This
    type of communication not only makes you a far more likable and approachable
    boss, it also improves morale overall.
  • Encourage informal and spontaneous interaction.
    Let your employees know that communication is a good thing.  Create an environment that promotes open
    communication. (Perhaps a break room in the middle of the office?)
*******
Communication can be made even more difficult for those with
hearing, vision, or learning impairment. For more information on using
specialised audio equipment and/or communication aids visit http://www.hearing.com.au/assistive-listening-products
 
*Hearing Australia is an Official Australian Government Agency.

Call Centre Desks,
Chairs and Workstations.

UrbanHyveHE-0014 How to Create an Equal Opportunity Work Environment. Future of Work

When it comes to office furniture and workstations the first
thing that comes to mind is ergonomics, but what exactly is ‘ergonomics’?

Ergonomics literally means “the rules of human strength”.
Today, the purpose of ergonomics in the workplace is to create a better match
between the worker, the work they perform, and the equipment they use.  Match it well and you will see an increase in
productivity and a significant decrease in work related stress and injury

The Real Costs of
Ergonomics 

realcostofergonomics How to Create an Equal Opportunity Work Environment. Future of Work

Every year the problem of poor ergonomics, combined with a
lack of education and training costs the Government and the private sector
billions of dollars in lost hours and revenue. Other frightening stats include:
  •  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34%
    of all lost-workday injuries and illnesses are work-related musculoskeletal
    disorders (WMSDs) – caused by poor ergonomics
  •  In 2002 (in the UK) approx. 12.3 million working
    days were lost due to work related WMSDs
  •  In the United States (in 1996) work-related
    injuries accounted for more than 647,000 injuries and illnesses and more than
    one-third of workers’ compensation costs — an estimated $15 to $20 billion
    cost to employers
Find out just how much poor ergonomics could potentially
cost your company by following this link here: http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/statistics/index.htm

Ergonomic Furniture


Office chairs are now being designed with ergonomics in
mind, providing the user with the ability to adjust not only the height of the
chair, but also the lumbar support (lower back) and arm rests too.

This means it is now a lot easier to setup your chair so as to encourage
correct posture, and it also means that the office workstation or desk does not
need to play as crucial a role anymore. But that’s not to say that there aren’t
some fantastic ergonomic solutions in the range of office workstation being
offered. And it’s about time too because even using an ergonomic chair adjusted
to the employees exact specifications can cause some discomfort to the person
if they do not take regular breaks to stand, stretch or walk and relieve the
pressure and weight loading on the thighs and back.

ergonomicsetup How to Create an Equal Opportunity Work Environment. Future of Work

    Other desk accessories designed to improve your posture and
    overall ergonomics include:
    • Desk angle boards
    • Adjustable angled foot rests
    • Forearm and Wrist supports
    • Document holders with line guides

    Adjustable Desks and
    Standing Workstations


    Sit/Stand desks are relatively new to the modern office
    environment but they provide an ergonomic solution that otherwise did not
    exist. Not only that but they look great, take up less space as well as
    encouraging open communication and better flow throughout the office.

    *See diagram above for correct ergonomic setup of your standing workstation.
    In a call centre environment this particular solution might not fit since
    longer periods are required at the desk (answering phones) and standing for
    that long a period would be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.

    Operational Health
    and Safety Concerns?


    There are usually OH&S appointed staff who can provide
    more relevant and direct information about the options available at your work.
    Failing that simply follow the links below.

     

    Other Office
    Equipment


    New Office furniture and equipment is constantly evolving to
    meet the changing needs of the workforce, some designed specifically to assist
    those with hearing and vision impairments whilst others are designed simply to
    make life easier for everyone.
    There are a range of innovative aids and supports that can
    assist people who have reading, writing or typing difficulties, including:
    • Scribes (computer program or personal assistant)
    • Computer Assisted Instruction Software (CAI)
    • Spell Checking Software
    • Screen reading software
    •  Braille displays – computer based
    • Larger Monitor (or adjust screen resolution
      accordingly)
    • Special Vision Assist Phones (larger buttons and
      clear tonal differences in each number)
    • E-Books and E-Readers (see
      this resource for more information
      )

     

    Voice Over Internet Protocol Systems (VOIP)


    Using the phone can sometimes be a challenge for those with
    hearing or vision impairments, but luckily the range of options available now is huge.
    Not only can those with hearing impairments utilise VOIP (Voice over IP) lines
    to make calls, they can also take advantage of social networking sites, video
    calling and services like Skype that make contact smoother, easier – and
    cheaper!

    For more information on Hearing and Visual impairments at
    work and what services and support is available, check out the following
    resources:
    Other Resources:
    Watch how it all comes together, because when it works its
    a beautiful thing.

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