Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape
Connecting Dots Across Asia's Tech and Urban Landscape

Improving Your Health: Tips from a Fellow Filipino BPO Employee

You may be one of the1.2 million-strong(and counting) BPO employees in the Philippines, working in a call center or back-office service provider. The industry has been a great help to countless families and the country’s economy. But due to the stationary nature of office jobs, there may be health risks involved. Do not worry; there are many ways to combat it. Here are some tips to help you become healthier, from one BPO employee to another:

Repositioning Yourself

In Manila, the average time commuters spend traveling is one hour and six minutes. When you reach your office, you tend to sit for several hours straight. How much time do you spend at home then? If you do the math, you could spend about a third of the day sitting. That is half of your waking life.

There are many ways you can squeeze in movement and other types of exercise in those hours. There’s not much you can do on your commute, as that is an environment you do not have complete control over. At the office, though, there’s a lot to do. The first thing you do is obvious: stand up! This should get the blood flowing after an hour-long trip.

The confines of your cubicle should not hold you back from moving your arms and feet. Just make sure not to disturb the person next to you. Or you can invite them to do the same if you find them looking bored and sleepy.

When you go to the bathroom, it’s best to find the one farthest from your station. This will have you do some brisk walking or short sprints going there and back. But of course, inside the bathroom, do not hurry when you are relieving yourself.

If you are not running late yet when you take the elevator, get off a few floors before your office’s and take the stairs. Do the same for when you leave. You can also incorporate more walking in your commute by asking to be dropped off a block or two away from your building.

Moving around should not affect the way you work or its quality. Take the time to incorporate it during your workday. When you get home, you can focus on having a meal, doing some chores, and then resting. Add more exercise during your rest days.

Temp Check

The Philippines is a tropical country. The summer peak months are March and April, where some of the hottest days are experienced. On April 21, 2019, Manila had a heat index of 39 degrees Celsius. It was the capital’s highest for that year. If it went higher, it would pose health risks such as heat stroke and exhaustion.

Inside the office, it’s a different story. Many BPO employees work at night. Couple that with the air conditioning of the office floor, and it would make for a relatively cold environment. Typical shifts for those on U.S. accounts start at 9 or 10 PM and end at 6 to 7 AM. Those doing overtime stay up to 9 AM. From the cold interior, they then walk the streets in a hot environment with the sun out and during the morning rush. For some, the change can feel sudden.

Employees with jackets are a common sight when you are in a place where BPO offices are nearby. It’s also a practical way to manage the cold office temperature. It will also be wise if you bring softer or lighter clothing for when you leave for the hot environment. Always bring a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated.

DIY Meals

During night shifts, there are fewer options when it comes to buying food. There may be a convenience store or two near your office, but they offer mostly processed food. You can buy fruits there, though. But generally, there’s no way to get around this issue except by you making your own meals.

Cooking your own food with fresh ingredients takes more effort, but it is healthier. You can prepare meals during your rest days and then just heat them up in the office for lunch. This can also save you time as you won’t have to fall in line at the store to buy food.

It’s important to take care of your health. With your discipline and hard work, you should be able to improve or maintain your fitness. Health is wealth indeed.

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