7 out of 10 BPOs eyeing hybrid work despite govt return-to-office order: IBPAP

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2022 05:19 PM


MANILA - At least 70 percent of the country's IT-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector, which includes business process outsourcing, are considering the hybrid setup in the new work landscape, an official of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines said Wednesday.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced firms to allow workers to work remotely, is just among the many challenges that the sector has seen in decades, IBPAP Executive Director for Talent Attraction and Development Frankie Antolin said in a briefing organized by the Makati Business Club.

"Post pandemic, about 70 percent of IT-BPM organizations are likely to operate in hybrid models in the future where hybrid work is increasingly integrated into the business solutions offered by business providers," Antolin said. 

Remote work setups have so far been successful, she said.

"The last 2 years, it’s been a success for the industry. We have seen that there is no sacrifice in terms of productivity as long as we do the work-from-home or work-from-anywhere correctly," she said. 

The pandemic has also proven that the workers in a hybrid work setup can deliver strong results, she said.

In 2021, the global IT-BPM industry registered its "highest growth period in history," Antolin said.

In the Philippines, the sector recorded a "very good growth" with revenues of $29.48 billion, up 10.6 percent from the previous year, Antolin shared. 

"This is really a testament that despite different circumstances that we're dealing with as a sector it really marks a resurgence in our industry in general," she added.

The IBPAP is currently working on its roadmap that is being done every 6 years and the hybrid work setup is among the key discussions, the official said.

Antolin said stakeholders are exploring measures on how to "reimagine" work types and different places of work. 

She said it's crucial for the industry to evolve since the global landscape, the sector, and even the employees have changed.

When asked whether funding could pose challenges, especially in small firms, Antolin said there could be a realignment of funds or added incentives to make the setup more attractive including the supply of work-from-home gadgets such as laptop stands, power subsidy, or soft boxes for employees. 

“We have to be very creative on salary. Transport allowance had to be shifted to Internet subsidy, in power, benefits that you can use when setting up a work office,” she said. 

IBPAP President and CEO Jack Madrid has made appeals to the government to institutionalize the hybrid setup to help the sector retain its competitiveness.

The government has mandated the return to work of BPO workers to help boost economic growth. Failure to comply could result in the suspension of incentives. 

Some firms have secured a Letter of Authority from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to extend the remote arrangement while some BPOs has voluntarily opted to let go of their incentives in favor of the hybrid work arrangement. 

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