PRODUCTIVITY in the outsourcing industry rose in 2020 following the extensive adoption of remote work arrangements, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said.

IBPAP Chairman and Accenture Philippines Country Manager Manolito T. Tayag said that employee productivity increased by 15-40%, while absences declined by up to 40%.

“Maybe because they didn’t have to be absent when their child had to go to school or to attend a program, and many other things,” he said at an online event organized by the Management Association of the Philippines. He added that employees no longer had to spend hours on the road because they did not have to travel to the office.

“We have seen reduction in attrition — it could also be partly because there were not many other employment opportunities.”

Mr. Tayag said the cost reduction in real estate and other expense items was around 20%.

“We’ve seen some reductions where it was appropriate. We didn’t have to pay all the utility bills for our real estate and telecoms in the office, but on the other hand we had other expenses: the connectivity for our people at home as well as some other expenses which are not normal to our processes.”

He expects few companies to return to 100% office-based operations.

Mr. Tayag said, however, that the pandemic has amplified mental health concerns in the workforce, leading employers to initiate mental health campaigns and offer counselling sessions.

“We had to find a way to create engagement with our people,” he added.

Industry revenue was flat in 2020, he said, in line with IBPAP projections late last year.

“We were able to keep many jobs (by keeping workers home), and that is still better than the contraction that we saw overall in the Philippine economy.” — Jenina P. Ibañez