Nearshore Americas

Many Call Center Workers in the Philippines are Still Struggling to Work

More than a quarter of the Philippines call center workforce is still struggling to work from home even months after the country imposed lockdowns in response to the rapidly-spreading COVID-19 pandemic.

On Luzon Island, according to Manila Standard, 58% of BPO workers are currently working from home, with around 15% of others working as skeleton staff in their offices.

Two weeks ago, things were far worse, noted the news daily, adding that then barely 40% of BPO employees were operating from home.

The report confirms that the pandemic caught the country’s BPO firms off guard. Philippines call center workforce were not at all prepared for a total work-from-home model, as they had to deal with many challenges such as internet access, equipment transfers, and clearance from clients.

Low-speed internet was the biggest hurdle they had to overcome. In late March, a report on the Cebu Daily News (CDN) showed BPO workers scrambling to speed up their broadband connections after their employers told them to telecommute.

The Philippines is ranked 63rd out of 100 countries in the 2020 Inclusive Internet Index prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Despite the rickety ICT infrastructure, the Philippines enjoyed growth in the BPO sector for many years. Even last year, it generated 71,000 jobs, taking its total headcount to 1.3 million.

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The industry has long been regarded as a major source of dollar currency for the country. Furthermore, it accounts for nearly 9% of the country’s economy.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

1 comment

  • The challenges faced by call center workers in the Philippines, like many other places globally, are significant and varied. From demanding work schedules, sometimes involving night shifts, to issues related to work-life balance and mental health, these professionals often face unique hurdles in their roles.

    Factors such as high pressure to meet performance metrics, dealing with demanding customers, and the strain of extended hours can take a toll on their well-being. Additionally, during the pandemic, remote work brought its own set of challenges, including the need for a stable internet connection, suitable work environments at home, and balancing familial responsibilities.

    It’s crucial to acknowledge and address these challenges by fostering supportive work environments that prioritize employee well-being. Implementing measures like flexible schedules, mental health support programs, and comprehensive training can significantly enhance the work experience for call center professionals in the Philippines and worldwide. Creating a culture that values their contributions and cares for their holistic well-being is essential for their success and overall job satisfaction.