By the end of March most, if not all, BPOs around the world had transitioned from what has been an almost exclusively office-based work regime to working from home. As global support providers to the world’s businesses, we too have been affected by the disruptions this pandemic has brought to our client’s businesses. We have faced either an increase of decrease in client work volume requirements – broadly speaking though, we have all adapted well to the changes.
Just like us, our peers have published articles and blogs detailing their team’s heroics in transporting all IT equipment from offices out to homes. What makes this more amazing is that this was done in the midst of a virus outbreak, a metro-wide lockdown, and limited transportation. I am sure you’d find tricycles and the humble Toyota Vios featured somewhere in all that logistical nightmare. By mid-March, many of us were glad to see that everything was starting to fall into place despite the physical, logistical, and bureaucratic hurdles. In every computer and pocket wifi modem delivered to home lies a story of ingenuity, resolve, and character waiting to be told.
Here at Enshored, we realized that we couldn’t get everyone we needed immediately back online. We achieved around 85% on the week lockdown was announced, 90% the week after, and slowly increased in the weeks to come. By the first week of May, we’ve achieved 98% work from home for all our employees. 98% is a good number, in fact, it is empirically a pretty good number. This just means that we are continuously delivering for our clients – but it is not 100%.
Our leadership team, spearheaded by our country manager Miguel Enriquez and head of IT Vincent Cua have continued to focus on the others. The Latin phrase “Nemo resideo” means “No Man Left Behind” in English. That seems to have silently become our work from home creed. In a no work no pay situation we feel we owe everyone, even those last few people not working, the opportunity to work and earn, despite the extra difficulties in achieving this cause.
Digging deeper, there are real operational reasons for now looking to solve this challenge. We know that for at least the remainder of 2020 there will be continuous disruption to our business. We need to understand what it takes to guarantee service delivery from any home in the Philippines. This means working through the challenges of poor Internet infrastructure and in some cases, the unreliable electrical power platform.
Longer term, we think we will need to both offer our clients the comfort of knowing we can manage their daily workloads from home when the need arises (future disasters are inevitable, the scale, cause, and timing may not be). We are also looking at helping out our people by reducing their weekly commute times by offering at least a partial work from home option should it be operationally practical. To one who doesn’t know, commutes in the Metro Manila area make the 405 freeway in LA or the crush on the London Underground a cakewalk.
Immediately and for the future, it is important to develop a culture where everyone in the company sees that its leaders are committed to everyone’s success whatever the situation. Not just when things are going right, but most especially when times are extraordinary and challenging. This will be better for our clients, our people, and the future of Enshored.