The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled economies and disrupted social lives. With aggressive implementations by the government to mitigate the spread of the virus, such as nationwide lockdowns, enhanced quarantines, and physical distancing, numerous business sectors that thrive off physical sales and workflow have been gravely affected.
Thus, with interrupted supply lines and lockdowns, businesses are considering the idea of long-term, even permanent, remote working. Among these businesses, the BPO industry is also suffering the effects of restrictions. Hence, many BPO companies are finding ways to continue their operations despite the challenges.
Outsourcing Industry During the Pandemic
The pandemic has derailed traditional manufacturing and production outsourcing with disrupted supply lines. The lockdowns and quarantines prompted shutdowns, and multinational firms – such as major automotive and technology brands – reported ordering component difficulties due to the remote setup.
Local and global travel restrictions and blockades in other nations created a shortened demand for travel and insurance services. Quarantine limitations have led outsourcing firms not to maintain their typical personnel levels and numbers. Some of the most common concerns for shifting to a remote setup are the staff’s productivity and risk of a data breach due to lack of supervision as well as the inadequacy of at-home resources needed for the work at home setup.
Adapting to the New Normal
Indeed, the outsourcing industry had many challenges brought by the pandemic limitations. However, the industry has also seen increased demand during the pandemic. The outsourcing accountancy sector, in general, has been bustling as clients have seen the need for financial security advice brought by the pandemic challenges.
The more the outsourcing firm has embraced the remote setup, the more their businesses have been thriving, as seen by the growth of outsourcing trends in 2022.
Adapting to the new normal is quite a feat, and here’s how they did it:
Assistance to workers
As the pandemic has impacted work productivity, the industry has also set out facilities and assistance to their workers so that they may continue to work at an optimum level. Many outsourcing firms are providing assistance to help their employees perform better while working from home.
Remote working is a problem for some due to the poor and expensive internet connection and lack of proper equipment. Thus, some attempted to make homeworking easier by transporting IT equipment to workers’ houses.
Meanwhile, outsourcing firms gave those requiring highly physical work with transportation problems on-site housing. This accommodation involves sleeping at workstations or sharing hotel rooms near the working site.
Shift to multi-function locations
Nationwide lockdowns, border barriers, and travel restrictions have presented difficulties in transporting from one location to the other. Furthermore, multiple places and consistent travels may present COVID-19 exposure risk.
Outsourcing companies are shifting from single-function operations to multi-functional operations to lessen the risk effect at each site. This shift means companies no longer rely solely on specific sites specializing in particular activities or service functions. One location could essentially provide multiple services for increased efficiency and reduced exposure.
Furthermore, many companies are attempting to relocate their operations to low-cost locales to reduce their risk exposure. Avoiding COVID-19 hotspots decreases the likelihood that employees contract the virus, reducing the risk of operation shutdowns.
Maximizing technology benefits
Although traditional outsourcing had to make massive adjustments to their work lifestyles, some sectors of the BPO industry have already been working remotely. Thus, while others were clambering during the economic shutdowns, some outsource employees continued working in the comfort of their homes.
Working from home is now made more convenient, thanks to the new tools and technologies that allow teams to stay connected and productive while remote working. Outsourcing companies new to this work management started developing processes and using online tools to manage the transition easily.
Firms also quickly improved remote working setups by enhancing their work platforms and IT resources. Moreover, many companies are also considering cloud-based work tools. A move to a common cloud-based work platform can eliminate manual work and lead to job automation, enhancing staff productivity and effectiveness.
Wrapping It Up
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely led to economic shutdowns and enhanced quarantine periods, leaving business sectors adjusting to the limitations. The outsourcing industry was no different from these affected businesses.
The outsourcing industry is still thriving despite these difficulties. Many firms started implementing measures to adapt to the new circumstances presented.
The outsourcing industry resolved the problem of work productivity and data breach by assisting workers with IT resources and housing facilities. The shift from single-function to multi-function also reduced the risk of virus exposure and operation shutdowns. Remote working also prompted the industry to maximize technology benefits.
Indeed, the BPO industry has successfully adapted to the new normal and will continue to thrive in the following years. With its flexibility and quick adaptations, it is exciting to see how the industry’s destiny will unfold in the next few years.