Time and again, we find ourselves dealing with challenging conditions and situations, just like the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused losses in life and livelihood in many parts of the world. One of the aspects that are severely impacted by this health crisis involves businesses and their workforce.
With community quarantines and hard lockdowns in effect, many companies had no choice but to comply with the local and national governments’ guidelines to reduce or suspend business operations. To enforce strict social distancing measures, everyone is requested to stay at home and minimize the need to go outside.
In effect, non-essential businesses, or those that do not offer food and other necessities, are forced to close down for a time. As such, typical employees suffered since their companies closed shop for the duration of the quarantine. Many of them have lost income because they fall under the no work, no pay classification of workers.
The effects of the pandemic are so widespread that even the outsourcing industry is affected, too. For one, working remotely is not standard practice for a few BPO companies. There are just too many moving parts in an outsourcing company, which can make it challenging to transfer office work into employees’ homes.
It’s also not just a matter of arranging the necessary equipment, such as computers, internet connection, and telephone lines. Since many outsourcing companies handle customer service accounts, you want to make sure that all vital data is secure and on restricted access. This can pose a challenge in monitoring who is accessing what when employees are working remotely.
Another challenge is maintaining the quality of work among employees. The lack of direct and immediate supervision from managers or team leaders in a telecommuting setup can result in lower levels of employee productivity. It’s difficult enough for employees to think straight while working during a pandemic, and it doesn’t help that they do not have the support of their team in person, either.
Beyond the limitations of remote work arrangement, there’s also the aspect of having reduced financial capabilities. The health crisis has produced a domino effect, wherein clients of outsourcing companies may decide to go on pause to control the flow of money coming out of their pockets. This can lead to work layoffs and permanent business closure, especially those in developing countries.
Unlike technological, infrastructure, or logistical challenges, the impacts of a global recession are more severe. Companies will have no other recourse but to wait for the economic situation to get better before they can declare business as usual.
When the time comes for companies to resume, they may then need to outsource recruitment so they’ll have the right people onboard to help the company get back on track and become competitive again.
How the Outsourcing Industry Is Dealing with the Crisis
By nature, outsourcing companies are quite dynamic—able to change or adapt their systems and processes to current trends or what the situation calls for. Despite what’s going on, the future still looks bright for the outsourcing industry.
Here is how some outsourcing companies are trying to manage the global crisis in their favor:
- Shift from single-function to multi-function operations—Instead of focusing on one specific area of business operations, companies are expanding their services and expertise to cater to more types of businesses and clients.
This is an excellent way for BPO organizations to become more sustainable even during economically-challenging times so that even if some clients back out, other businesses that are less affected will continue to need the services of their outsourcing partner.
- Full use of remote work technologies—There’s a wide range of platforms, software, and tools that can make a collaborative work environment happen. From messaging to virtual meetings and project management, these technologies help both employers and employees stay connected and feel closer to one another to help complete the tasks at hand.
- Transfer to more cost-effective locations—Office spaces in prime locations are no longer considered practical for BPO companies that choose to adopt work-from-home arrangements. Hence, employers are keen on moving their operations to more cost-effective office spaces to compensate for the financial losses they’ve incurred during the past several months.
None of us could have ever imagined the things that are happening right now, no thanks to the novel coronavirus that has battered world economies, businesses, and even the individual lives of working professionals.
If this pandemic will continue for a couple more months or, in the worst-case scenario, carry over to the years to come, outsourcing companies should think of a strategy that will allow them to stay agile.
The measures they’re going to take should not only help their organization get through all the challenges but also focus on offering their employees the right amount and kind of help they need. This way, the whole team can continue meeting the expectations of their clients or customers.