Jamaica has issued comprehensive social distancing guidelines for the BPO industry, as the Caribbean country launches a full-fledged effort to fortify its most promising sector in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the new protocols, developed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, health officials will regularly inspect the call centers to verify whether they have strictly implemented the measures.
The BPO providers now have to conduct temperature checks of each employee and ban agents from sharing headsets with colleagues.
In addition, they should place a hand sanitizer at the entrance of each workstation, lunchroom, and recreation area, and disinfect the entire campus at least twice a day.
The new guideline also urges the BPO providers to ensure that most of their employees work from home.
Currently, around 13,000 BPO workers are managing to work from home, but 9,000 others are still traveling to the workplace, according to Daryl Vaz, Minister for Job Creation.
The health officials are telling BPOs to avoid using air conditioners and notify them immediately if they find any of their colleagues feeling sick.
The goal is to encourage the BPO sector to implement preventative measures and do everything they can to stem the spread of the virus, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
The health officials, according to Vaz, have already inspected 89 of the 91 BPOs, with nearly 50% of the providers still buying time to implement the measures fully.
With more than 69 firms and 43,000 workers, the BPO industry is Jamaica’s pride. As such, the Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has been emphasizing that his government would use every weapon at his disposal to protect the industry, as he believes that BPOs offer employment opportunities to workers who have lost jobs in other industries.
“Jamaica is a natural fit for business process and knowledge process and global services operations, and we will intensify our efforts in this regard, which will include improvements to our legal and regulatory framework and expanding our investment portfolio in the infrastructure to support the BPO industry” Holness said.