Mindanao Times

Health and rest

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OVER the past decade, we have seen the dramatic shift in the lifestyle of young people who now have more choices when it comes to work or play. Those who graduated last March, for instance, have more options than say, their counterpar­ts ten years ago. With the rise of the BPO industry or the home-based online jobs, young people today do earn more.

For many who work on this industry, sleeping patterns have shifted which certainly affects the health of this new generation of employees in the virtual world.

There are studies that show disrupting the natural rhythm of our bodies, such as working night shifts, may cause mood disorders and cognitive problems. Call center agents who work the night shift may thrive for a certain period of time. But not for long.

A research by University of Glasgow psychologi­st Laura Lyall at the medical journal Lancet Psychiatry, linked interferen­ce with the body’s “circadian rhythm” to lowered cognitive functions such as memory and attention span. The study said that the brain’s hardwired circadian timekeeper governs day-night cycles, influencin­g sleep patterns, the release of hormones and even body temperatur­e.

The BPO industry has grown to be the second dollar earner for the Philippine­s and is regarded as a priority by the Philippine­s Developmen­t Plan. Data from the IT and Business Process Associatio­n of the Philippine­s (IBPAP), show that export revenues have increased from US$1.3 billion in 2004 to a total revenue of US$ 25 billion in 2016, employing about 1 million Filipinos and projecting about 1.3 to 1.5 million jobs in the next three years.

How are we going to take care of our new breed of workers? If the government provides tax holidays and incentives to BPOs, are there measures or safeguards for the employees whose holistic health might be compromise­d by the unnatural waking and sleeping hours?

A robust economy is important to the health of the nation. So is proper rest.

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