BPO providers in Jamaica have begun bringing home-based agents back into the office, rushing to comply with recent changes to the country’s policy on special economic zones (SEZ).
The new SEZ policy forces BPOs to have 70% of their staff at the office by the end of 2023. The rest (30% ) can work from home.
Some BPOs in Jamaica still have almost 50% of their staff working remotely, the Jamaica Gleaner reported, citing officials at the Global Services Association of Jamaica (GSAJ).
The previous SEZ regulation prohibited BPO employees from taking home devices, such as computers, to work. However, the government temporarily relaxed the law in mid-2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing call center agents to work remotely.
Though the waiver has expired several times since then, authorities opted to extend it after BPO providers demanded extra time to comply with the new SEZ regulations.
This was largely because their facilities had run out of space to accommodate all their staff, which had grown bigger in response to an unexpected demand for IT-enabled customer services in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
Several BPOs have already called in more than 70% of their personnel. Itel, one of the region’s fastest-growing call center firms, is said to have pulled all of its staff back into the office, stating that remote work will only be permitted for those who have done their tasks honestly.