The coronavirus inevitably resulted in an ongoing global recession. With the imposition of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and limited social activities, many businesses had to close down and workers were laid off.
The economic affairs of countries worldwide plummeted drastically. But the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has proven essential in keeping it afloat during these difficult times.
The BPO industry provides businesses flexibility and cost-efficiency by handling their front office and back-office operations.
Front office operations pertain to matters that deal directly with customers and clients, such as customer services and sales. On the other hand, back-office operations deal with administrative, personnel support, and non-client-facing work. This includes accounting, data recording, settlements, finances, and IT services.
The expanded possibilities provided by the internet have also revolutionized this industry through the decades. Nowadays, the BPO industry covers a broad span of IT services and is at the forefront of driving telecommunications. BPOs are essential in the work functions of multiple sectors, including and not limited to health, government, business, international relations, communication, manufacturing, and marketing.
Even before the pandemic, the BPO industry reeled in more than $26 billion worth of global revenue in 2019 alone.
With the range of sectors that it services, most BPO companies focus on having contact centers. BPO employees often consist of people with various skill sets that primarily focus on communication, industry-specific expertise, and interpersonal relations.
This diversity in the field of expertise deems them not just “agents” at the other end of the phone. Depending on the services their company provides, they can be hospitality marketing consultants, digital and fashion advisors, technical supports, or a health services assistant. Especially with the pandemic going on, their presence in the economy has become vital to the point that they can be considered front liners.
The BPO industry kept the economy afloat throughout the pandemic.
When the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of a global pandemic in March 2020, around 700,000 Americans out of more than 20 million people worldwide had lost their jobs in the same month. This is due to many businesses and companies in the workforce having to operate on-site and, with the imposition of lockdowns, had to refrain from doing so for quite some time.
The work-from-home setting was a fairly new concept to a lot of site-based industries. Some also didn’t have extra resources to invest and train their employees in this new setup. But among the first and fastest to adjust to it is the BPO industry.
BPO employees are no strangers to operating the computer since most of their work is aligned with constant technical and digital manipulation. To work in the comfort of their homes, the only things they would need to secure are a good, stable internet connection coupled with the right devices to use.
Thus, the BPO industry continued full operations amidst the pandemic after some time allotted for adjustment. With the demand for jobs on the rise due to the ongoing Covid-19 recession, the BPO industry that banks on human capital was there to somehow provide.
Countries that also rely on outsourcing their businesses, such as the US and UK, also benefit greatly from this scheme as they remain to save on operational costs and continue their operations.
Across the world, a resurgence in BPOs was observed, with an employment rate increasing to 1.8% in 2020. This may be a small increment from the 1.4% employment rate of the BPO industry in 2019, but given the circumstances, it is quite a significant increase.
BPO employees are economy front liners.
While healthcare workers toiled on saving lives, BPO employees were also working to save livelihoods and the economy. With the importance and impact that they held for countries such as the Philippines and India that had BPO work as one of their most in-demand jobs, it held back the steep declines of their economies.
Their work consists of turbulent shifts, grueling hours, and constantly dealing with people. Combined with the stress and mental pressure induced by the current global and their home situations, BPO employees nowadays deserve more credit than what’s currently given to them. It is only right that they receive vaccine priority and appropriate benefits in their line of work.
As they continue to be the economy’s crutch, businesses can be revitalized due to their presence. The BPO industry is one of the well-adjusted, flexible, and highly functioning parts of the workforce in the pandemic. At this rate, the BPO industry is foreseen to grow bigger even when we resume a status that resembles pre-pandemic situations.