The global pandemic is the prevailing headline of 2020. Businesses were never the same. Companies were staggered and forced to re-strategize their operations. However, while complying with the government regulations on Work From Home (WFH) arrangements due to the lockdowns, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines proved to be among the top industries who were resilient and flexible. The industry maintained the quality of its services despite the hardships of the pandemic.
This performance is due to the core IT-Networking-Communications infrastructures that serves as the backbone of this multi-billion industry. Contact centers, shared service departments and other function specific were already capable of flexible, virtual and distant workgroups even before the lockdown restrictions were put in place.
As we look forward to bouncing back and being optimistic about work this 2021, it should be noted that flexible and virtual workgroups are here to stay.
Compliance to New Public Health and Safety Protocols
By next year, on-premise operations of offices and firms won’t operate on a full capacity unlike before. This is because of the new public and safety protocols set by the government and facility managers of buildings and offices, as they try to stem the tide of a potential second wave or third wave of the pandemic.
This means professionals and leaders under the BPO industry will still need to work with various work setups such as:
- Work from home
- Decentralized, small satellite offices
- Flexible work hours
- Rotating employee attendance on-premise
Rethinking New Work Structures
Business continuity and service delivery fulfillment have one thing in common during the height of the pandemic: both were re-evaluated and restructured into a more flexible workflow with better efficiency and less friction points. From 2021 and beyond, businesses will have to redouble their contingencies on flexible business processes to maintain productivity. This, while being prepared for both local and international disruptions.
Virtual Infrastructure and Services
Digital transformation was accelerated due to the pandemic. Traditional businesses looked into e-commerce and enterprises to reimagine their structures through digital spaces. The results are business continuity where digital was at the forefront of innovative success during the disruptive pandemic. BPOs will transform their services through the integration of digital microservices and digital platforms as a service. These innovative plug and play platforms include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Decentralized Ledgers to push their innovation at the forefront as the global leaders are also being transformed by embedded technologies.
Healthcare Protocols for Safety and Productivity
A healthy environment is ideal for a productive working environment. By next year, more healthcare protocols will be introduced by the government to the business and workforce market as precautionary measures. This will be done in order to avoid a resurgence of the coronavirus.
Further, healthcare and safety will be the prevailing issues in the workplace. Nonetheless, leaders will ensure that safety protocols are incorporated into their work management plans and business continuity measures.
For now, there are a number of employee health and safety measures that are being extended by BPO companies to their employees throughout the pandemic:
- Distribution of face masks, face shields, alcohol and hand sanitizers to employees.
- Coordination and planning with facilities managers in upgrading current cleaning, sanitation and disinfection methods in compliance with health safety measures.
- Rotating on-site employee shifts
- WFH arrangements
- Shouldering the COVID-19 testing for employees
- Information dissemination on health and coronavirus updates to employees
In terms of recruitment, a company’s health and wellness protocols will be factors in the sourcing of a skilled workforce. Most likely, top employees would prefer to work with a company with excellent employee health and safety standards.
Resurgence and Clear Business Outlook
By next year, a clearer business outlook is expected as the global pandemic is projected to be slowing down and society is moving on with the times – but with a greater emphasis on health and safety as they strive for normalcy. It is expected that a vaccine will be developed by then, which will hopefully drastically cut the complications and fatalities from the coronavirus. The new normal is here to stay, but with better health and safety protocols, we are in a better position to regain our confidence on business and commerce. As optimism is ramping up from business and tech leaders, Philippine-based BPO firms are also looking to regain its foothold amongst the world’s best performing IT-BPO – Shared Services regions.
Next year, the BPO industry will be innovating and reinventing itself. A tighter competition amongst entities and associations (composed of providers, specialists and startups) are welcoming back new opportunities, as they will be in a better position to offer solutions that are more resilient and offer greater value proposition. As businesses are looking to expand their productivity and streamline their efficiency, outsourcing is a viable platform in expanding their specialties and capabilities without adding more people into the on-premise count.
2021 is a year of resurgence for BPOs as businesses are also looking to bounce back.