Health BPO Optum backs flexible, hybrid work setups as govt nixes work-from-home

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2022 09:43 AM

BPOs are appealing tot he government to allow work-from-home setups even as the pandemic fades. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News file photo
BPOs are appealing tot he government to allow work-from-home setups even as the pandemic fades. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - Global BPO firm Optum on Wednesday supported calls to allow hybrid work setups to continue for the sector as the government insisted that workers in the industry should return to their offices by the end of the month. 

Optum Global Solutions, a company that has 19,000 employees across the Philippines, also said it is supporting the industry’s call for the next administration to allow more “flexible” or hybrid work setups. 

The Department of Finance on Wednesday said the Fiscal Incentives Review Board will disallow remote work for the majority of BPO firms in ecozones after March 31.

This was despite calls from the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines to allow a hybrid work setup where part of the workforce doesn’t need to report to the office. 

Optum Philippines Managing Director Ivic Mueco backed IBPAP’s position saying a hybrid work setup will allow them to keep their talents or employees who might not be keen to return to an office environment. 

“I think it’s the future for us. Ultimately this is about what the talent requires what the talent needs,” Mueco said. 

Optum, she said, invests heavily in its talents as the tasks required of them is very complex and requires very high levels of analytical, communication and technological skills. 

A work-from-home or work-from-anywhere setup, she said, also “democratizes” where a BPO like Optum finds talent, as this will let the company employ qualified workers from anywhere in the Philippines. 

“You want to tap a talent in Zamboanga, Davao or Jolo or Benguet? As long as internet connection is stable, we can tap talent anywhere in the Philippines,” Mueco said. 

Darwin Mariano, Optum VP for government and external affairs, said that as the work preferences of talents change, companies that want to attract the best talents also need to adapt. 

“Therefore employers that want to be able to take the best possible kind of talent need to change along with them,” Mariano said. 

The company also supports the industry’s call for the next administration to support hybrid work models, and better internet infrastructure.

Optum, which is a member of the United Health Group, marked its 10th year in the Philippines last year. From just 52 employees in 2011, the company has grown to 19,000 employees this year.

Mueco said the company “is looking to further expand and develop its business, and harness local talent through capability-building and career development programs.”

“Throughout the 10 years that we’ve been operating in the Philippines, the constant factors of our success have been the dedication of our employees and our culture of genuine compassion for the members we serve and our colleagues. These two factors allow us to deliver the best service to those we serve while also improving ourselves,” said Mueco.

The company has offices in Taguig, Quezon City and Muntinlupa in Metro Manila, and Cebu. 

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