ICT-BPM summit to tackle work-from-home issue, hopes new admin to adopt hybrid model permanently
THE work-from-home (WFH) scheme currently being implemented in the business process management (BPM) space will take center stage in one of the discussions during this year’s information and communications technology (ICT)-BPM Summit happening in June.
Joslyn Canon, vice chairperson of the Cebu Business Month 2022, admitted that the mandatory return to work order after April 1, 2022, by the government posed challenges to the IT-BPM sector.
“The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) took the side of the BPM players and was able to extend the WFH arrangement until September, hoping to buy time,” said Canon. “We are hoping that the next administration will pass laws and regulations and make the hybrid arrangement permanent.”
Ryan Tan Yu, CBM 2022 ICT-BPM chairman, confirmed that they will include the WFH concerns of players during the ICT-BPM summit on the back of the attrition rate issues faced by the companies.
Prior to the April 1 deadline, there were already calls from certain sectors for the continued adoption of flexible or off-site work arrangements for the ITBPM sector without them losing their tax perks, which is a privilege of registered business enterprises (RBE) operating in special economic zones or freeports.
The Cebu IT-BPM Organization specifically has appealed to the government to allow the
Cebu-based IT-BPM firms to continue their WFH setup until July as some support infrastructures have not been fully restored since the devastation of Typhoon Odette on Dec. 16.
“Even if fully downgraded to Alert Level 1, the industry may not be able to achieve the desired full operational capacity given the current telco and related infrastructure situation, among other factors that surround the industry’s ecosystem, such as but not limited to: public transport readiness, especially during graveyard shifts as IT-BPM companies operate on a 24-hour basis; availability of enough boarding houses, and decent dwellings to accommodate the throngs of people coming back to work in Cebu,” the Cib.O said in its position paper in March.
Peza said it continues to support the hybrid work setup.
“We hope the new administration will address these WFH concerns immediately so we can finally put a stop to all these worries and frustrations. This is our appeal together with our locators and workers,” said Peza Director General Charito Plaza in a statement.
IT-BPM companies that cannot immediately return to office even after April 1 can request a letter of authority (LOA) from Peza with the needed requirements.
“We are just going back to the regular ratio of our hybrid work model arrangement of not more than 30 percent WFH ratio. Currently, Peza has issued 444 LOAs to registered IT-BPMs and RBEs,” said Plaza.
“Our investors also put their decisions temporarily on hold to register with us because aside from the upcoming change in our administration, our government has yet to issue the Strategic Investment Priority Plan,” she added.
But by returning to work, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III explained that IT-BPM firms would be helping not only the economy recover but also micro, small and medium enterprises that provide support to these companies, such as convenience stores, food and service providers and transport services in the respective ecozones’ vicinity. Fully opening up will also help the economy bounce back from the pandemic and offset the external risks spawned by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Currently, there is no official lifting yet of the state of the calamity which is valid until September 2022. /