May 282013
 

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UnSched Leaves- A problem in BpO

 

One of the challenges for any BpO employee and manager is too reduce unsched leave as much as possible.

What is Unsched leave?

As per BpO language if an employee takes a leave without prior approval from  his supervisor then that leave is called as unsched ( short form of Unscheduled leave).

Why the Supervisors and Companies hates Unsched leaves ?

Well there are many reasons

  • It messes up withe the scheduling
  • Some body already on leave will have to be called to take care of volume
  • There could be billing loss if your team is short on bench
  • The manager may have planned some activities for team, that now needs to be postponed.

Why the employee hates Unsched leaves?

  • The company may deduct salary
  • The employee may not be eligible for incentive for that month if the company policy says so.
  • Some companies will penalize employees with Unsched leaves during Bonus and or Promotion time

So if no body wants unsched leaves why do employees takes unsched leaves?

Well there are many reasons for employees to take unsched leaves some genuine and some not so genuine

  1. Illness
  2. Monday blues
  3. Employee has another job offer and is now taking the current job lightly
  4. But the biggest reason a lot of employees give for not showing for work is that they went to their home town and could not get return tickets to come back in time.

Now one may wonder how is that possible? Well in India anything is possible and a lot of employees like to take overnight train from their home town to their office town, so that they spend maximum time in their home town. Now many time due to heavy rush the trains do not have any space available and the employee has to come by bus or some other means of transport that is not reliable.

One of the solutions for the same is to book tickets in Tatkal so that you can get tickets at last minute. But the challenge is that IRCTC Tatkal site is very slow and you can miss the tickets. You can check this post that gives some great steps to book IRCTC  Tatkal tickets online.

This should help  you plan your holidays better and reach office in time to avoid unsched leaves leading to problems with your company and supervisor.

Remember no body wins when an employee takes an Unsched leaves neither the employee, nor the company or the client. Every body is a loser when an employee takes an unsched leave.

If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn , Twitter etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page (We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to anybody)

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 May 28, 2013  Posted by at 9:02 AM Life In a BPO Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Unsched leaves- Why Nobody likes them
Jan 312013
 
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7 Steps to get a good sleep after night shift in Call Center

We saw in the earlier post that due to irregular shifts a lot of BpO and Call Center employees are unable to sleep properly leading to a variety of health problems.  But since most of us do not have the luxury to change our shift we need to ensure we get a good workaround to get a good night or should we dare say a good day’s sleep?

Let us give us some things that you can do to get a good sleep even during the day. The points are based on our discussion with some people who are working in the  BpO and Call Center business for many years.

Free College Pathology Student Sleeping Creative Commons

Trying to sleep- pic by “D Sharon Pruitt”

  1. Consistency: Try to sleep at the same time every day. Even if you reach home early or have nothing to do, wait for your regular time to sleep and only then go to bed.
  2. Befriend the Dark Side:  Make sure your room has thick curtains and no light sneaks in, as a double precaution cover your eyes with eye pads like they give you in long haul flights. Remember even when your eyes are closed they can still sense light leading to less than optimal sleep so your aim should be to give them complete darkness when you are sleeping.
  3. Switch off the Cell phone: If you work in a voice process and still want to take calls after night shift we salute you. But if you are like the rest of us who have had enough after the shift, switch off that cell phone or give it to a family member who can announce your beauty sleep to the callers.  Come on even President Obama sleeps with all the problems of the world he is supposed to solve, so the world will not miss you if you miss some calls.
  4. Avoid Caffeine: The earlier your last dose of caffeine is before you go to bed the better are your chances to get a sound sleep. Remember you drink tea or coffee to stay awake in night, so just do the opposite when you want to sleep. Have your last sip of coffee/tea a minimum 2 hours before the bed time. Also what you need to remember is tea and coffee are not the only beverages with sleep killer chemicals your cold drinks and energy drinks are also buzzing with sleep killing demons. Some people swear by some herbal teas that help in sleeping, but we have not tried them so would not comment about the same.
  5. Eat light: While it is tough to sleep on an empty stomach, it is tougher to sleep on a stuffed stomach. So before bed time make sure there is some gap between your last meal and nap time. You can have a light snack if you feel hungry but do not stuff yourself, it will only increase your weight and decrease your sleep.
  6. Exercise regularly: If your body is physically exerted your chances of a good sleep increases exponentially. You don’t have to exercise before bed, but any time during the day if you have done some workout like walking, running, weight training or simple climbing of stairs, your body will want to recover, and we all know body recovers when we are sleeping.
  7. Read a Book: Remember when we were in school and the thought of reading itself use to make us yawn? Try something similar take a book to bed, just ensure it is not a stomach churning murder mystery, try a book on politics or history they are known to be the best sleep inducing invention of mankind.

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Bonus tip: No TV while in bed, yes as with the remote you will be compelled to keep on flipping the channel and will not sleep.

These 7 Steps to get a good sleep after night shift may seem  simple and commonsense but a lot of us do not implement them. Do try them and inform us if they have helped you in any form. Also if you have any tip of your own please write to us.

man sleeping on bench

Its easier to sleep in dark 

pic byVicente Alfonso

 

Please use Contact CafeBpO  form to get in touch with us if you would like to contribute content for CafeBpO

If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn , Twitter etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page (We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to spammers)

 January 31, 2013  Posted by at 5:08 PM Health in a BpO, Life In a BPO Tagged with: , , ,  Comments Off on 7 Steps To Get A Good Sleep After Night Shift In Call Center
Jan 172013
 

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10 Problems due to lack of Sleep in BpO employees

 

Today getting a good night’s sleep is a luxury for most of us, what with late night work, idiot box, chatting on social media websites,  neighborhood Jaagrans( whole night Bollywood songs parody to please gods), sound pollution etc.

Contrary to what doctor say that one needs a good 8 hours sleep to be healthy in the long run, most of us are lucky if we get even 5-6 hours of sleep. Unfortunately lack of sleep in BpO employees is a reality that they have to live with.

Things become trickier if you work for an International BpO and have a shift job that is against your biological rhythm.  Though well-known let us still repeat some of the ill effects of lack of sleep

  1. Reduced cognitive ability leading to making mistakes while working and dangerous while driving.
  2. High Blood pressure
  3. Mood swings
  4. Eating disorders ( can increase appetite or kill it, depending on how your body reacts to it)
  5. Disrupted bowel movements.
  6. Lowering of immunity
  7. Irregular heart beat even leading to heart attack in some cases
  8. Darkening of eyes
  9. Premature aging of skin
  10. Depression

So what is one supposed to do when one is working in a shift? It becomes even tougher to get good nights sleep due to some of the reasons given below:

  1. Irregular shifts
  2. Constant ringing of phone due to telemarketers
  3. Door bell ringing
  4. Other people in your home are active and need to continue with their life. This creates a lot of noise and activity in home leading to loss of sleep for the poor BpO professional.
couple sleeping on grass

Are you getting enough sleep ?

Picture by epSos.de

This problem is aggravated if you live with friends who have different shifts and also if your shift keeps on changing on a regular basis. If your shift changes regularly then you have a bigger problem. As by the time your body is used to current shift, it is time to move on to the next shift.  This kind of reminds me of Jet lag on short trips to US, by the time your body is used to the new time zone; it is time to travel again. L

Dear reader we would like to know what your experience is about lack of sleep due to shift work in BpO companies.  Have you experienced any of the problems associated with lack of sleep? Or you have no issues due to the same.

So what do you do to cope up with lack of sleep and adjust to change in shift timings to get a good Day’s sleep in your case. Everybody has their own way of dealing with the same, let us hear from you what you do and we will consolidate the same and publish here on CaféBpO

Please use Contact CafeBpO  form to get in touch with us if you would like to contribute content for CafeBpO

If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn , Twitter etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page (We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to spammers)

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 January 17, 2013  Posted by at 1:44 PM Health in a BpO, Life In a BPO Tagged with: , , ,  Comments Off on 10 Problems due to lack of Sleep in BpO employees
Dec 272012
 

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Fightback for Safety in BpO Cabs

In continuation of our post about safety in BpO Cabs, we found Fightback application developed by Tech Mahindra a large IT company from the Mahindra Group. FightBack uses GPS, SMS, location maps, GPRS ,email and your Facebook account to inform your loved ones in case you are in danger. Join us and help make our streets safer for women. This is a very simple app to download and use from your mobile phone.

Tech Mahindra had long back developed an application called FightBack which was being used only by the staff members of Mahindra Group.

After the gang-rape of a woman in New Delhi;  Mr. Anand Mahindra has now thrown open this smart phone application for public use, beyond Mahindra employees. The FightBack application tracks a user’s location and sends SOS  messages to selected contacts in case of an emergency.

This application is now available for download on the company website for
free & IS ONLY FOR INDIAN MOBILE NUMBERS.

The FightBack app allows the user to press on a panic button whenever
he/she feels unsafe.

It tracks the location using GPS and alerts chosen contacts  about the location map and is available on Nokia,  Android and Blackberry from the link below :

www.fightbackmobile .com

Steps – How to download the application

1 – Register yourself or login through Faceback with Post click.
2 – After the successful Login in the portal, Click to Download.
3 – Enter the mobile number on which you want to deploy for the FightBack application
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4 – Select your handset on which you would like to download the application
from the device list.
5 – Click on Download button, and you will receive the link to download via
SMS.
6 – By clicking on the downloadable link within the received SMS your
application will start downloading.

Please spread this to all your social circles on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ etc; this is a very useful application and should be present on your phone. We would like to thank Mr. Mahindra to make this app available to all.

If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page (We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to spammers). If you would like to contribute for Cafe BpO please use the Contact CafeBpO form to get in touch with us and we will be  happy to run a post by you.

Other Posts in this series

  1.  The truth about BpO Cabs
  2. Steps to follow in BpO cabs for security

 December 27, 2012  Posted by at 7:02 PM Life In a BPO Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on Safety in BpO Cabs-FIGHTBACK India’s first Mobile Application for Women Safety
Dec 272012
 

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How To Ensure Security in BpO Cabs

We talked about the truth about cabs in one of the earlier post and mentioned that cabs are a necessity for the BPO employees due to

  1. Late shift timings when public transport is not available and is not safe.
  2. The need to login on time, as any late log in leads to stiff penalties from clients

We will focus this post about the security of women employees in BpO cabs, as we don’t want any more incidents like the recent Delhi rape case, and the earlier gruesome murder of girls traveling in BpO cabs in Bangalore and Pune.

All top BpO companies provide home pick up and drop beyond 8 pm and before 7 am, for the security of the employees, but there are a few things that as a women employee you are entitled to

  1. After 8 pm and before 7 am you have a right to be picked up from home and the company can not drop you at a common pickup point far away from your home.
  2. All good companies have a policy where a women employee is not the first pickup and the last drop during the night. This ensures that the lady is not travelling alone in the cab. If this means that either a security guard will travel with the girl or a male colleague will go till the house of the girl and come back after dropping the girl.
  3. Check with your company in GPS is installed in the Cabs to track the movement, if not you should demand that from your organization.
  4. If due to some extreme emergency you are traveling alone in the cab make sure that you don’t  fall asleep, and constantly be in touch on your phone with the control room of your company.
  5. Keep the number of local police station, your family member on speed dial where you can  call them in case of any problem
  6. Make sure that the driver is not drunk and if you suspect he is drunk do not board the cab.
  7. Do not enter the cab if you do not recognize the driver. Please call your company’s helpdesk to confirm that the new driver is authorized to bring you to office.
  8. If there is unknown people along with the driver in the cab refuse to board the cab and call your company’s control room.
  9. Do not let the driver stop on the way and pick up stray passengers either to give lift or as a paying passenger. They are not allowed to do the same as it is a security hazard.
  10. Never allow the driver or your colleagues to go by an alternate route even if they insist it is a short cut.
  11. Always keep some kind of security measure with you like a pepper spray to use in emergency.

Our aim is not to create any kind of panic but considering the increasing number of crimes against women and the odd hour’s women in BpO travel in cabs it is prudent to be aware of your surroundings and be proactive to ensure that your safety is not compromised. If you find that your organization is not following the basic security norms for the security of women employees you can always talk to the HR manager and if nothing is done we would strongly suggest you change your company, as a company that does not takes care of security of its employees is not worth working.

 If you have liked this article feel free to share with your friends, and colleagues on your social networks like Facebook LinkedIn etc. If you would like to receive regular updates from CafeBpO please use the subscribe by email option on this page (We do not sell, rent or donate your email address to spammers). If you would like to contribute for Cafe BpO please use the Contact CafeBpO form to get in touch with us and we will be  happy to run a post by you.

 December 27, 2012  Posted by at 1:18 PM Life In a BPO Tagged with: , ,  Comments Off on The Truth About Cabs-Steps to follow in BpO cabs for security
Nov 122012
 

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Celebrations for Diwali in BPO Companies

Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India and almost all parts of India celebrate the same. For our readers who are not familiar with festivals of India let me give a little update on Diwali and what companies are doing for celebrations for Diwali in a BPO. This year Diwali is on November 13, 2012.

It is primarily celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram, prince of Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile during which his wife Sita is kidnapped by Demon king Ravana from Lanka. Ram crosses the ocean with help of his army of Vanars ( mythological army of apes) kills Ravana and returns to Ayaodhya to be crowned King.

So well entrenched is the story of Ram that is retold again and again in every generation not only in India but in all parts of world where people of Indian origin have settled or had business relations e.g. in Mauritius, Most of Africa, Caribbean, South American countries like Guyana, Surinam, whole of south-east Asia like Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar etc.

Celebrations For Diwali in A BPO Company

Earthen Lamps on Diwali

The festival marks the beginning of fresh set of accounts by the business community for the next financial year. It is celebrated also to welcome Goddess Luxmi to bring wealth and prosperity, every house is given a thorough cleaning, lights and lamps are used to decorate the house. But the best or the worst part is bursting of crackers. Whole of India bursts more crackers in one day than anywhere else in the world. It is an experience that you need to live and is not possible to explain in a blog post.

Now normally all offices both private and government are closed on Diwali day, but BPO being a unique business specially for live transaction processes like Call Centers,  order fulfillment, live web chat etc. it is not possible to close the office as the clients expect the BPO center in India to function. Hence the BPO business in India has adapted them to this need. You will find most of the BPO companies in India are working specially in the night shift when they need to interact with the clients and consumers.

Companies have devised various means to motivate employees to sacrifice their Diwali and come to office, from celebrating Diwali in office  by organizing bay decoration competition, compensatory off day, extra pay to come and work on Diwali to organizing special dinners in office on Diwali. The whole idea is to recreate the magic of Diwali in office so that employees do not miss their Diwali.

What is your company doing this Diwali to make the employees feel special? Share your story and pictures by sending them to us. Use the Contact CafeBpO form to get in touch with us and share the Diwali Celebrations in your office with our readers. You can also send us email at info.cafebpo (at) Gmail (dot) Com

If you would like regular updates from CafeBpO then you need to subscribe, and/or like  Facebook page of CafeBpO. If  you are a person in US or UK with teams in India it will be a good idea to send Diwali greetings to your teams in India. Attaching below the message from President Obama for all. I wonder how many leaders from India are sending the same to people, they can learn a few things from President Obama on how to genuinely care for people be it personally monitoring relief work during Sandy or greeting people around the world with Happy Diwali message.

Happy Diwali Message from President Obama for one and all.

 November 12, 2012  Posted by at 12:42 PM Life In a BPO Tagged with: ,  Comments Off on Celebrations For Diwali in a BPO to Keep Morale High
Nov 092012
 

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Help Shagun decide which BPO company to join : A Case Study

 BPO life is a unique life and that impacts the career choices one makes. As one has to not only look after the career progression but also how it will impact the life based on multiple factors like shift, process, distance from home, which shift spouse works.

We received an email from Shagun ( name changed), who wanted some clarity as to which company she should join as she has 2 offers. Both in the city she currently lives with her husband. She needs some help to take a call on which company to join as she has 2 good offers after a rigorous interview process.

Offer 1. A large captive for an asset management company to work in financial Analysis and budgeting. Shift timing 2 pm to 11 pm India time

offer 2. One of the top IT and consulting companies 3rd party BPO center with a profile in project management. Shift timings are 11 am to 8 pm.

Salary is slightly more in the first company, but second offers chances to visit client site in US as promised during interview stage ( nothing in writing) Both positions are at SME/Sr. Analyst level.

A little bit about Shagun:

1. She has a work experience of 6 years and currently took a break due to her father’s illness. Her position with the current company was filled so she can not go back.
2. Her husband works for a MNC captive BPO center as AM and works in 4pm to 3am shift, which is a fixed shift. Some times due to work pressure he reaches home around 7 am. Both of them have also worked in same company for some time and are used to BPO life.
3.They do not have kids but may plan in future.

Now in order to help Shagun please suggest which company she should join and why. She has about 15 days to return to the prospective employers before joining date.

You can give your inputs through the comments form below. We will share your inputs with Shagun and also share which company she joined once she makes up her mind and joins her new employer.

 If you would like some inputs or ask a question feel free to use the Contact CafeBpO tab to get in touch with us. All the best to Shagun and to you in your career and life choices.

 November 9, 2012  Posted by at 3:33 PM Case Study, Life In a BPO Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
Nov 022012
 

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Inviting you all to contribute and Join CafeBpO Blog

We have slowly started building a repository of articles on CafeBpO Blog. In last 15 days we have 19 published posts and we plan to add more with each passing day. We would like CafeBpO to not just be a blog but an active thriving community of BPO professionals. A place to know more about the business of BPO, career opportunities, knowledge base and above all share about unique aspects of life in a BPO.

Overall the aim is to make Cafe BpO a hangout of choice for all things BpO, and would like to remind once again that when we say BPO we include call centers, KPO, LPO, MPO, CPO, GPO ( OK  we made the last one, but  you never know 😉 ) As we grow Cafe BpO we would need volunteers who would like to contribute to the growth  of  this blog.

You are welcome to contribute

  • Articles
  • Stories
  • Pictures
  • Questions
  • Comments
  • Any thing else relating to the Business, Career and Life in A BPO.

The process of submitting content is fairly simple as of now. All you need to do is get in touch through contact form and choose from the drop down what you would like to contact us for.

The current options are:

  •  Share a story
  • Write for Cafe BpO
  • Give a suggestion
But based on suggestions recieved from you we will modify the form and add more options.  We would like the readers of this blog to drive the content and agenda, so that this blog becomes a reader driven blog rather than being a writer driven blog. We believe that without your active participating we will not be able to do  justice to the same.
So please don’t wait go ahead and share your story, submit an article or even nominate somebody you know to be featured in Cafe BpO blog.
Team CafeBpO

 

 November 2, 2012  Posted by at 1:17 PM Life In a BPO Comments Off on Join Hands With CafeBpO Blog
Oct 302012
 

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The Challenges of Life in a BpO

Life in A BPO is like nothing else, specially if you are working in an Indian BPO. There are mulitple reasons for the same. The biggest of them is the variable shift timings. Most of us in the BPO business work against the natural rhythm and biological clocks that mother nature has given us. This leads to various issues like

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset
  • Darkening of eyes

Weekends or day offs are specially painful because in a lot of cases you get days off when your friends are working. If you are at home and want to take some rest it is not possible because some body or other will keep on coming to disturb. If it is not the dhobi ( presswala) then it will be the maid, if the  maid has taken off without informing then your nosy neighbors will come on the pretex of borrowing onions. Needless to say getting some sleep even on a day off is not easy for somebody who works in the BPO business.

So it is not uncommon to find friendships getting broken or rekindled on the basis of people who work in the same shift or come in the same cab. This is a very unique thing about Life in A BPO, more than anything you are looking for people who are free on the same day as you are as you don’t have energy to hang out with friends who are on a different time zone. It is not uncommon to celebrate Diwali in the morning as one has got shift in the evening or spray colors of Holi in the middle of night because only then all your shift colleagues are getting ready to take cab to go home and what better time than this to drench them as well as the cab driver in colors of Holi so that nobody sleeps in the cab that  night?

But even after all these unique challenges the employees in BPO are expected to deliver service with a smile to irate customers, demanding managers and devil in the disguise of mother in law. So what are your unique challenges that you face as a BPO professional? If you would like to share your story please contact us and we will get back to you and may publish the same here.

 October 30, 2012  Posted by at 9:10 PM Life In a BPO Comments Off on Life in a BPO- It is not a bed of roses
Oct 152012
 

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In our last post we discussed some of the myths surrounding the life in a BPO. Let us scrutinize some of them closely one by one in some of the upcoming posts.

Let me begin with the cabs. The BPO cab policy of any BPO company is designed to make sure that the business does not  stops due to any reason. A lot of people think that cabs are coming to pick the employees so they are enjoying life, get into the cab and reach office, once things are done cab will drop you back also.

  • Let me clarify the cabs in a BPO are not luxury but a necessity, in none of our cities a reliable decent public transport system exists that can bring employees to office safely. Things become worse the moment the office is in a suburb like Gurgaon or Noida in Delhi, or Powai in Mumbai. You can replace Delhi or Mumbai with Bangalore, Chennai or any other city the pathetic condition of our public transport system will not change. And no the trains in Mumbai and Metro in Delhi can not meet the demand of BPO sector specially as a lot of shifts end in the middle or night or around dawn at 5 am. In a lot of parts of India that is still pitch dark, even if you get a metro what will you do between the metro station and your home. Specially if you are in a city like Delhi and a women? I hope you get the picture.
  • The other reason to provide the cabs to employees is that most processes have  very strict time line to adhere and clients impose very severe penalties when employees do not log on time into the system.
  • Not only the BPO company looses money but in many cases the employees are also penalized by giving them negative marks that impact the incentive they can earn. So in order to cover up for the lost hour some of them have to stay back in office to cover up their login hours.
  • In a lot of BPO companies specially if the number of employees are not large enough to have enough cabs companies have a rule of minimum number of employees in a cab. Which means if the 7 employees in a cab live in very different area the cab will pick each one of them one by one even if it means you have to sit in the cab for 2 hours. Imagine sitting in a cab for 2  hours, specially where the cabs are not air- conditioned.
  • Just to avoid this 2 hour journey a lot of employees still choose to come on their own to office and decline the cab facility provided to them.. Let me ask you this if the cabs were such a wonderful perk for employees why some of them would decline and come on their own.

So my friend these are some of the facts about the cab facility being provided to employees. There is more to it but I will write about that when we touch some other aspects. The cab facility provided to BPO employees is a necessity for both the BPO company and the employees to meet their respective goals and safety.

Do leave your comments and feel free to share this post with your friends.

Team Cafe BPO

 October 15, 2012  Posted by at 10:11 PM Life In a BPO Comments Off on Life in a BPO-The Truth about BPO Cabs