My Call Is Important to You?

This is a quick follow-up to my October 30 articles about stress and call center jobs, the first of which was basically a review of On the Clock, What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane, by Philadelphia-based journalist Emily Guendelsberger, who took three low-wage jobs (including one at a call center) and wrote about the experience.

The second was a look at call center stress from a local perspective — although, not, sadly, from inside the Concentrix or Sydney Call Centres. Instead, I viewed those workplaces through the window provided by two years’ worth of ambulance stats from the Nova Scotia Department of Health. I found these stats, for both centers, to be high and so I attempted to contact their respective managements to find out if they agreed.

This is a photo from the Sydney Call Centre website. I assume it shows an employee coming to work.

This is a photo from the website of the Sydney Call Centre, which is clearly an awesome place to work, what with the bald eagles and the snow-capped mountains and all.

Todd Riley of the Sydney Call Centre gave me his email and told me to send along my questions but that was pushing two weeks ago and I have yet to get a response.

As for Concentrix, an email to an HR person yielded no response, nor did an email to the communications person for the Canadian division of the company.

My questions weren’t even that pointed. I sent the link to my local story, explained that the stats I had showed that between 2017 and 2019, ambulances had been called to the Sydney Call Center (formerly the Servicom center) 64 times and to the Concentrix center (formerly Convergys) 32 times and I asked:

1. Did management consider those ambulance figures high?

2. Have things improved under new management? (I plan to FOIPOP more up-to-date figures at the end of this year.)

3. Does management consider the workplace to be stressful?

4. Does management follow any programs or protocols to make things less stressful for employees?

As noted, the response was…crickets.

So I will try a different approach: Do you work at a call center? Have you worked at one in the recent past? Would you be willing to talk to me about it?

Then please, drop me a line. I do not have state-of-the-art communications technology at Spectator HQ but I can nevertheless promise to respond immediately if not sooner.


Featured image: Emergency personnel in call center, 1978. City of Boston Archives from West Roxbury, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.