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Staying Well at Work

Customer Service Tips & Tricks
Gautam at work

This is part 1 of my Monday Wellness Series, watch out for new editions in the coming weeks.

For the next six months, I’ll be devoting most of my weekends to becoming a certified yoga teacher. As I prepare for 25 hours a week of intensive yoga classes and study in addition to full time employment, I began thinking about how I care for myself while I’m at work.

My speciality when it comes to recruitment is in the contact centre. To effectively serve their customers, most contact centres are scheduled down to the minute. While each contact centre functions differently, customer service representatives normally need to be at their desk for hours at a time. Reflecting on what I know about this workplace environment got me thinking that if contact centre representatives and managers are able to keep themselves healthy and active at work, then I should be able to do the same. I started looking to the experts for advice.

My first expert, and interviewee is Gautam Kondagari, a supervisor at auto-glass repairer Smith & Smith’s national contact centre in Penrose. His responsibilities at work range from taking escalations to providing coaching and training for his team members. I knew Gautam would have quality advice for me on staying well at work because he had a number of active hobbies. Gautam spends his summers playing cricket, and is also a Bollywood-Hip Hop dancer. You would have seen him and his fellow dancers on New Zealand’s Got Talent!  I talked to him about how he balances wellness and work, and here are his top tips:

1. Schedule your day

Gautam taking a moment outside

Gautam taking a moment outside during his working day

Gautam explained that planning is key to a well-balanced day and said that I should “plan ahead, and know how my day is looking before it starts.” He schedules his coaching sessions with team members a month in advance, and always books in a lunch. Even on really busy days, Gautam makes time to get to the lunchroom, or to pop outside. As a competitive dancer, Gautam’s training schedule outside of work is also demanding. To ensure he makes his commitments, he brings his gear to work and relies on his calendar to remind him where he needs to be.

2. Get back to the basics

I love visiting contact centres—there’s always some yummy food! My visit to Smith & Smith was no different; one of Gautam’s co-workers had baked a cake for the office.

Gautam pointed out that when you’re working a desk job, having access to an endless supply of treats isn’t helpful if one of your goals is eating healthily. Gautam staves off hunger and avoids the treats, by filling up a massive 2.5 litre water bottle at the start of the day, and finishing it before he heads home. He also recommends that I don’t rely on the dairy or vending machine, by instead preparing my meals in advance, and bringing lunch to work.

3. Take a walk

This is my favourite tip from Gautam: He makes sure to get up from his desk every 30 minutes for a quick walk and chat with his team. The Muse, an online advice portal for job seekers, reminds us that even short walks throughout the work day are “good for your mind. [They] can help you concentrate, increase your creativity, and boost your mood.” Walks also give you the opportunity to connect with co-workers. You still get positive benefits, even if it’s not a long walk outside.


With a big bottle of water on my desk, I’ll certainly be keeping Gautam’s tips in mind over the coming months. Working with most of the major contact centres in South Auckland means that I have the opportunity to interview a number of smart people who successfully balance their wellness at work on a daily basis. Keep an eye out for my next instalment!