By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

CONCENTRIX, an information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) company, said the government appears to be “receptive” to the industry’s proposals to expand work-from-home (WFH) arrangements.

Chris Caldwell, Concentrix president and chief executive officer, said on the sidelines of a company launch of three new sites last week that he is optimistic that the government will ultimately resolve the WFH standoff with BPOs.  

The industry is currently required by law to conduct most of its operations onsite within economic zones in order to continue enjoying fiscal incentives.

“Our wish is that the Philippine government supports WFH more aggressively and they are thinking about how to be competitive on a global scale. The feeling we get is that the government is very receptive to that right now. We’ve got very positive feedback that the Cabinet secretaries are working together to solve this problem before Sept. 12,” Mr. Caldwell said.

“This government has been incredibly supportive of us trying to figure out a solution, and I’m more optimistic that I’ve ever been that they’ll come up with a workable solution. My wish is that the WFH issue is resolved quickly and clearly,” he added.

Sept. 12 marks the expiry of temporary authorization for the industry to do most of its work from home, a policy initially adopted for safety reasons during the pandemic.

On June 21, the inter-agency Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) issued Resolution No. 017-22, which temporarily allows registered information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) firms to maintain a 70% onsite and 30% WFH arrangement (70:30) until Sept. 12 while continuing to enjoy fiscal incentives under Republic Act No. 11534 or the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law.

The FIRB oversees the grant of tax incentives to registered business enterprises.

Mr. Caldwell said that the industry has ample growth opportunities, which will be affected if the WFH issue is not addressed.

“The Philippines will still grow, the industry will still grow in the Philippines, it just won’t grow (to potential) if the WFH issue is not addressed. We’ll wait and see what the government will come up with,” Mr. Caldwell said.

“I don’t think this government is ready to do (100% WFH) now, but I think getting it to 70% WFH and 30% work in office would be fantastic. We would certainly push for something like that,” he added.

FIRB released Resolution No. 19-21 issued in August last year permitted registered IT-BPM firms to carry out work on a 90% WFH and 10% onsite (90:10) basis while still enjoying tax incentives. This resolution expired on April 1.

Mr. Caldwell said Concentrix is hoping to operate more than 50 sites in the Philippines by the end of the year.

He said Concentrix is looking at areas outside of Metro Manila, but gave no details.

“We are moving some small sites to bigger sites. We’re expanding some sites and shutting down some older sites because we want our buildings to be very new and vibrant,” Mr. Caldwell said.

“There’s a number of places outside of Metro Manila that we are looking at that we believe there is a good talent pool. We’ve always looked at different areas to grow,” he added.

On Aug. 18, Concentrix simultaneously launched its three newest sites, Giga Tower in Bridgetowne, Quezon City, One Montage in Cebu Business Park, and Davao Finance Center in Davao Park District.

“The expansions reinforce Concentrix’s position as the nation’s undisputed largest private employer with approximately 100,000 staff, and brings the company’s total sites in the Philippines to 50, located in 20 cities for its brick-and-mortar operations,” the IT-BPO said.

“All three sites operate 24/7, and have close to 30,000 square meters of space in total. Staff support clients in industries such as Communications, Financial Services, Retail, Technology, Travel, Healthcare, and Content Moderation. Giga and Montage both have Recruitment Hubs for the high volume of jobseekers in Quezon City and Cebu City,” it added.