With so much “infodemics” or fake news spreading around social media and word-of-mouth, the best health advice that we can all take is getting it from the World Health Organization and Lead Consultant for Emerging and Remerging Infectious Diseases, Weng Capistrano has timely advice for Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) companies are have a high risk environment for a flu outbreak.
What Makes BPO companies at High Risk for Flu Outbreak?
- Shifting Work Schedule
Most employees work at night because of time zone difference and others have to shift between day and night shifts depending on the job demands. The downsides to an irregular working schedule include susceptibility to physical health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and stroke, as well as mental health issues such anxiety and depression. Insider reports that working at night can impact blood pressure, metabolism, heart health and the menstrual cycle.
- High Volume of Employees Working in Tight Spaces
Even with the presence of cubicles and dividers in the office, working with a large number of people can bring in a lot of viruses and bacteria, not just COVID-19. Working in close contact with people for longer periods of time heavily impacts the spreading of the virus. Virologist and microbiologist Charles Gerba from the University of Arizona says viruses grow indoors which why regular cleaning is needed.
- Massive Sharing of Common Facilities
The bathroom, elevators, cafeteria, doors and even the biometrics equipment, computers and other office appliances and supplies are common touch points which can be easily contaminated with different kinds of viruses and bacteria.
How Can We Solve These Risk Factors in BPO Companies?
Capistrano says that enhancing our hygienic measures, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having a preparedness plan according to the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.
Specifically, Capistrano recommends the following:
- A Good Sleep
Good sleep is not just quantity but quality. Aside from getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily, You need equal amounts of different stages of sleep namely light sleep, deep sleep and dreaming stage. Light sleep is the first stage and doesn’t last long while the second stage moves to a steadier sleep. Your blood pressure drops and your brain waves decrease its activity. Stage 3 is deep sleep where your body temperature, heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure drops to its lowest levels. It’ll be hard for you to wake up at this stage. On the other hand, Stage 4 is the restorative stage where your cellular energy is restored, your tissues grow and some repaired, plus your hormones are released. Stage 5, the last stage, is the deepest sleep where you are most likely to dream. Studies show that healthy adults get 62 to 110 minutes of deep sleep, but most people find it hard to get deep sleep especially when working on the night shift. Some tips to help sleep better are:
- Sleep in a cool room
- Block light rays with eye mask
- listen to white and pink noise
- Minimize stress
- Reduce stress
- Eat healthy
- A Well-Balanced Diet
While most people are preparing to sleep, outsourced staff are preparing for their night shift. How do you stay healthy in the night shift? Dietitians of Canada advises to eat at 6 p.m. and avoiding fatty and fried food that causes digestive disorders. Snacking can also be a common habit when we’re staring at the screen all night and though most BPO companies prohibit eating at their station, healthy snacking can be an option during break time at the lounging area. Pick up fruit slices and healthy whole grains like almonds and granola and avoid processed ones mixed with artificial sweeteners. It’s good to lay off caffeine which can cause jitters and dehydration.
- Exercise Daily
Every BPO staff working the night shift knows how tiring it is to be active after the night shift, so we suggest exercising before night shift. 45 minutes before your shift is helpful as it increases metabolism and keeps you alert at night. Some exercises can be as simple as biking or walking to the workplace and cardio or working out before hitting the shower.
- Follow DOH Updated Guidelines
HR outsourcing staff, it’s crucial to have a preparedness plan in fighting against COVID-19 and keeping the workplace a safe and healthy environment. The Department of Health (DOH) has outlined some guides that would help HR officers plan and execute practical safety measures 24/7 which talks about personal protection and hygiene, social distancing, environmental and food safety measures and managing BPO employees who caught the virus and other leaves and absences pertaining to the pandemic. HR staff may view the updated guidelines in the DOH website.
For more information on DOH guidelines, please visit: ww.doh.gov.ph/2019-nCOV. You an also visit Tahche for more updates on best practices for BPO companies in the new normal.
- N.A. (2020, June 3). Outsource Accelerator. Coronavirus & BPO Outsourcing: What You Need To Know. Retrieved from: https://www.outsourceaccelerator.com/podcast/corona/
- Department of Health. (2020). [PDF] https://www.doh.gov.ph/sites/default/files/health-update/DC2020-0039-Reiteration-of-DM2020-056-Interim-Guidelines-on-2019-nCoV-ARD-Response-in-the-Workplace.pdf
- Betuel, E. (n.d.). Manhattan, NY. Inverse. Covid-19 and Indoor Spaces: 4 Common Places It Spreads. Retrieved from: https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/how-coronavirus-spreads-in-4-common-places
- Leavitt, J. M.Ed. (2019, October 10). How Much Deep, Light, and REM Sleep Do You Need? Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-deep-sleep-do-you-need#stages
- Martinac, P. (2018, Updated November 5). Night Shift Diet. Livestrong. Retrieved from: https://www.livestrong.com/article/318221-night-shift-diet/