The BPO sector has managed to sustain operations allowing most of their employees to work from home during lockdowns. The sector has been able to continue serving clients and even increase capacity even with the pandemic since a lot of businesses have shifted to outsourcing their business processes.
The strategy implemented helped productivity with at least 50% of employees classified as work from home personnel due to challenges in transportation and sometimes due to set government protocols. Other BPOs had skeleton staff shifts billeted on-site or in nearby hotels.
Social distancing regulations and stay-at-home orders are setting the work from home setting for BPO workers as the ‘new normal. Even if restrictions are easing, there’s a possibility that 1/3rd of employees will take the work from the home set-up. This will show the resilience of this industry and a dynamic, agile delivery system for services is now expected.
In countries like the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, and even China, BPO companies sent many employees home. There are many stories of employees doing heroic acts just to be able to continue working. They kept on being efficient workers amid the virus and kept on with what is expected of them. This is one advantage of outsourcing to BPOs- continuity of service in whatever circumstance.
How about data security?
Managing a remote workforce is not really easy for BPOs. They cannot just send employees home and set up VPN connections. Most are handling customer information. These agents continue to answer calls but another concern would be on data security.
Many BPOs now run their own audits or have to do so because clients are asking for it. One big concern is scalability. No one expected that the business world would need to move into a work-from-home setting. When the pandemic and restrictions started, many BPO companies had to adjust and buy additional equipment to make the setup efficient. Security standards were not given too much emphasis. But now another shift to strict security protocols is happening.
Some questions to ask the BPO partner to check on their security protocols:
- What is the guarantee that only the BPO employees are logging into their system?
- Are communications encrypted to avoid hacking?
- Are the agents trained to notice any indication of a cyberattack?
- Are audits done on the wifi security that agents use?
- Are agents using personal apps such as email that may potentially invite phishing attacks?
- Are agents conscious and trained on security?
- Who is managing or monitoring access of agents from home?
These are just some important questions that need answers to make clients feel safe, especially if they have sensitive data reduced.
BPO companies had to adjust and scale fast the security aspect of their operations. The work from home set-up will facilitate a whole new way of environment, security measures, and other components to make processes efficient. The BPOs and clients should work hand in hand to make this setup work for bother parties.