After the rapid and costly reconstruction of operations, the Philippine BPO industry is getting back to business. This is after the massive shift to work-from-home (WFH) arrangements. According to the reports of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), about 1.5 million workers in the country are displaced due to the pandemic. Despite the numbers and uncertainty of the global economy, the local BPO sector still believes in the economic boost after the enhanced quarantine.
Staff accommodation and transport cost has tremendously cost companies pushing them to adopt other solutions. The situation has now paved way for fast automation in the industry. Businesses are now inclined with the idea to move swiftly to automate and invest to artificial intelligence (AI) driven solutions. Several firms in India are now using chatbots, instant messaging and other AI based technologies. Even with the threat, local companies opt to stay in the human side of outsourcing.
Work-from-Home arrangements are now one of two options for the Philippines. This is as per the presidential declaration of guidelines of the general community quarantine (GCQ). Local finance and BPO sectors, including non-leisure trade and service, are mandated to but half of their employees on WFH arrangements. The other half can report back in business establishments and offices. Bigger Philippine BPO companies, located in Manila, Cebu and Davao City, have also successfully equipped workers for this shift to the new normal.
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and industry foresees the continuation of WFH arrangement even after the end of the Coronavirus pandemic. The government is also making means to facilitate WFH needs. They will continue to allow service providers to install equipment for BPO WFH employees during the lockdown. As part of the disaster preparedness plan of companies, they are now required to build sleeping quarters for employees on site. Other local government units, such as in Bacolod and negros City, are providing registration scheme to allow usage of rented vans to transport workers.
There have been strong beliefs that the outsourcing industry will likely bunce back. This is despite the forecast of a severe global recession. The pandemic will likely drive many to turn to BPO solutions spiking the fourth quarter of 2020 for the Philippines. In turn, the demand for office space will drive up bearing good news to the property sector. Putting the economy back to its feet, and also providing more work opportunities for Filipinos without having to compromise personal safety and health.