After the Pandemic: The Philippine BPO Industry

25 Jun 2020

When the COVID-19 outbreak first hit the Philippines in March, many were uncertain what would become of the current normal and how it would impact many industries. It was understandable back then to have doubts if the economy would recover once the nationwide lockdown was over. Regardless of the several adverse effects in the Philippine BPO industry, it is all but certain to recover in the coming months.

Frontliners of the Economy

Empty streets of the business district of Makati city during the lockdown in Metro Manila. PHOTO:Reuters

A select number of industries operated during the first few weeks of the quarantine in Metro Manila. These were mostly private establishments that provided essential goods and services, especially to the frontliners tasked with curbing the virus. These establishments worked at a minimal capacity in Extended Community Quarantine (ECQ) areas and at full capacity in places with more relaxed restrictions.

In that time, BPO companies operated during the early stages of the quarantine period. However, they needed to either provide accommodation to their employees or transition into a Work-From-Home model.  Many industry players, including Diversify, quickly implemented their contingency plans to ensure continuity in their operations. At the same time, they did so without compromising the health and safety of all team members. After the Philippine government announced the nationwide lockdown, Diversify was able to transition into a work from home setup within 48hrs and thus able to continue operations while keeping any operational disruptions minimal.

The BPO Industry To Ease Unemployment Rates

As of this writing, many businesses globally are still affected by the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this has meant a surge of unemployment in different industries. The Philippines alone has seen at least 2.6 million displaced workers due to temporary closure of businesses in the nation’s capital. 

Despite this surge of unemployment rates, some positive projections seen came to light, particularly in the BPO Industry. The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) predicted a fast recovery of the Industry, helping ease the country’s unemployment rate.  Labour secretary Silvestre Bello stated that BPO companies have already given notice for their requirements, with an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 vacant roles to be filled by September.

The Philippines as a Business Continuity Hub

The Philippines as a business continuity hub for many businesses.

Several global business owners took notice of the quick response from Philippine BPO companies. According to a recent report, British investors and other western businesses continue to see the opportunities in the BPO industry. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, businesses were still able to support their clients whilst having to lockdown onshore offices.

Road to Recovery

It has been months since COVID-19 first caused disruptions to many industries worldwide. Since then, business leaders were able to assess their current situations and respond accordingly through this health crisis. They strived to ensure the financial aspects of their business were sustainable enough to recover their losses. At the same time, they also prioritized the health and safety of their teams as they shifted to working remotely. Many saw the importance of regaining control and reimagining previous strategies and processes. They see these will overcome similar disruptions in the future. 

A major lesson taken from these uncertain times is that businesses must have a workforce strategy that guarantees continuity. Once stability is reached, business leaders will not only be more prepared for the next possible outbreak but will also be able to ensure continued success in the new normal.

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