Top tips for keeping a healthy voice at work
If a healthy voice is key to your job, keeping it healthy is essential to maintain high levels of performance. Particularly for those working in a call centre environment a hoarse voice can convey the same negative impression as someone wearing a worn-out suit. At this point your credibility and trust sis compromised with the customer. The clarity of your voice when it’s essential for your work can be just as important as neat, professional attire is for face to face interactions with customers.
For call centre professionals a healthy voice is of paramount importance, therefore the amount of time you spend talking means that you are at risk of damaging your voice and experiencing other voice problems. The impact of these issues can include –
- Increased sick days
- Fewer calls per hour
- More breaks away from the phone
- Needing to repeat themselves
- Needing to force the voice out
- Less enthusiasm for selling the product
When you talk the vocal chords vibrate about 200 times per second for women and half that amount for men. A normal work day in a call centre can lead to over a million cycles of vibration. Multiply that by five days a week and it’s easy to see why experts regard voice problems as a form of repetitive motion injury. The vocal chords are being injured by overuse through the impact on the tissues of the vocal chords.
How to avoid voice injuries through voice pacing
- Breaks within calls – In any phone call there will generally be pauses either between sentences or for responses. These micro breaks are very important allowing the vocal chords a rest from vibration. Where possible try to build such breaks into each call and ensure that any scripts are more dialogue than monologue.
- Breaks between calls – Although difficult, ideally workers should find time for longer breaks of silence to complete tasks that don’t require talking. As a rule of thumb, allotting 5 minutes every hour away from the phone is good practice.
- Breaks between work days – Again, although difficult limiting voice use during days off is also good practice. Shouting loudly at a football match or singing along at a rock concert might not be the best things to rest the vocal chords.
The following strategies can help to keep the throat moist and free from irritation, thus helping the vocal chords to function –
- Drink 2 litres of water (or non-caffeinated liquid) during the day.
- Keep water at your workstation.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which are drying to the throat.
- Avoid excess coughing and throat clearing.
- Don’t smoke! Smoking causes irritation to the voice aside from all the other implications it carries.
- Don’t work on the phone if you are hoarse due to a cold or upper respiratory infection.
- Work with you doctor to manage any medical conditions that can cause throat irritation including acid reflux, postnasal drainage, allergies, asthma, and endocrine conditions.
Turn down the volume
The constant use of a loud voice will also contribute to voice injuries. The following workplace tips will help to regulate the volume you need to use on the phone. Any environmental factor that causes you to raise your voice is detrimental, since the vocal folds vibrate together with even greater force when you use a louder voice.
- Headsets should not force you to be louder.
- Background noise should be kept to a minimum.
- Use cubicles or partitions for better acoustical protection from background noise.
- Humidity should not be below 40 percent.
- Temperature should be well controlled.
- Chairs, desks, headsets, lighting, and keyboards should all promote good ergonomics to help you maintain good posture and avoid excess tension.
Tackle issues early
Don’t wait until you lose your voice completely before getting help with any issues you may be experiencing. They may be many subtle signs that point to your voice becoming tired or overworked including a dry throat, raw or tired feeling in the throat, increased mucus in the throat, feeling like talking takes more effort, feeling throat strain, in addition to a raspy or hoarse voice.
Keeping a healthy voice needn’t be a chore. Sometimes there may be remedies available to help you get your voice back to normal or maybe resolution of the problem might involve working with a trained voice therapist to show you how to use your voice in the most relaxed, efficient, healthy manner to recover from injury and avoid complications in the future.
If you’d like to find out more about call recording or call logging software please don’t hesitate to give us a call; we’d be happy to tell you everything we know – which happens to be rather a lot! Drop us a line on 0333 0022 440, or contact us. We’re here ready to help.