BPO sector seeks more time for office return, eyes hybrid work setup: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2022 11:30 AM | Updated as of Mar 18 2022 11:58 AM

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MANILA - The Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector needs more time so its employees can return to onsite work, a group said Friday as it sought a hybrid setup in the long run.

The Department of Finance earlier said a Cabinet-level interagency board supported the decision of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board to disallow remote work for most of business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in ecozones after March 31.

Firms will comply with government's order, but seek a "smoother and longer runway for this transition back to onsite operations," said Jack Madrid, president of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).

"It was difficult to move personnel and equipment from onsite to home, it will also be equally difficult to move [back] over 1 million [workers], to move onsite. We need a longer runway," he told ANC's Headstart.

The IT-BPM sector also pushes for a hybrid setup in the long run as there is an "overwhelming preference for our employees for a more location-independent setup," Madrid said.

"The best evidence of customer satisfaction and productivity was the growth of the industry even during the worst of the pandemic in 2020," he said.

The sector created 23,000 new jobs in 2020 and 100,000 new jobs in 2021, Madrid said.

"Over the longer haul, certainly some amendment need to be made that will take into account that the nature of the IT-BPM industry’s work is different and should be considered," he said.

"We've been an economic pillar for the country for over 2 decades now, generating 1.4 million jobs and almost $34 billion and keeping all our employees here in the country. They don’t have to leave. By having this hybrid work arrangement, we're actually supporting government move to expand into the countryside."

Madrid said the preference for work from home "or what we’re now calling work from anywhere, extends beyond BPOs."

"I think we've all found some silver lining in the past 2 years about the pros and there are some cons, too, of this more location-independent setup," he said.

"The future is flexibility and the future is hybrid."