IT-BPM industry experiences real WFH benefits

Published February 24, 2021, 4:38 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The IT-business process management (IT-BPM) industry has successfully adjusted to the work from-home (WFH) arrangement and is reaping real benefits while ensuring continued service to global clients during the pandemic period, according to the industry top leader.

Manolito “Lito” Tayag, chairman of the IT-Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), presented the industry’s real benefits during a virtual forum on “Actions and Solutions to Safely Reopen the Economy” organized by the Management Association of the Philippines.

According to Tayag, the industry experienced 15 to 40 percent increase in productivity for employees with optimized remote models, 40 percent reduction in absenteeism, 10-15 percent reduction in attrition, and 20 percent potential cost reduction in real estate and resource usage.

Other real benefits include less time spent on commuting to and from the workplace, better collaboration among team members, and more efficient means of communicating.

Tayag cited steady increase of productivity levels in the industry from only 30 percent in April to 95 percent in November last year.

He attributed these real benefits to the industry’s efforts of ensuring enhanced employee experience while on a work from home scenario. For instance, companies implemented home and technology enablement where workers are allocated office chairs, distributed pocket Wi-Fi and updated to installed home fiber internet, and laptops. Companies also touched on culture and engagement where they hold scheduled virtual townhalls and frequent checking-ins, increase holistic team engagement and learning activities

To ensure health and well-being, ITBAP member firms also ran mental health campaigns, conducted counselling sessions, activated healthcare teleconsultation calls and provided home service phlebotomy.

Despite the pandemic, companies also continue with their corporate citizenship programs. Tayag said that at Accenture Philippines, where he is the country managing director, they have raised the largest charity fund from their employees for the firm. The company also matched the employee’s contribution.

With no certainty as to actual vaccination, Tayag said that majority of work would still remain to be done at home by employees. He said the future of work would be multiple hybrid models. This hybrid models include 25-50 percent of employees alternating on site, 50-75 percent on-site on-demand, and 9-95 percent connected remote.

    “It will be a slow and deliberate return to office method,” he said stressing that the health and safety of people is paramount even as they continue to service their global clients.

 Tayag said they have already adjusted to the new normal and is determined to keep their recalibrated growth targets for the year of 3-5 percent growth.

Whether it is modified general community quarantine, the most relaxed level, or the restrictive general community quarantine, Tayag said “Our growth projection will stay, even our recalibrated targets,” he said.

Tayag said that the recalibrated growth this year 3-5 percent is expected to translate to additional 50,000 new jobs for the industry, which currently employs 1.3 million young Filipinos. The industry posted a flat growth in 2020.

He also said that there are new investors, particularly in the health and software sectors, in all the sectors of the IT-BPM industry whether they are new or expansion of existing players. 

The only challenge, he said, is the need to reskill at speed and at scale the local manpower because of the new accelerated technologies their global clients had been forced to adopt during the pandemic. Thus, he urged for strong collaboration with the academe, government and all industry stakeholders to train workers.