BPO market, Covid-19, Covid-proof business process, Pandemic, Digitisation, Digital transformation, Business continuity, Cyber security, IT development, Home office, Hybrid working model, Data protection, professional life at PS
The outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 has posed unprecedented challenges for the economy including PS and its clients. We have had to adapt to the severe impact of a health emergency and the resulting global economic crisis without delay whilst maintaining business continuity.
As a positive confirmation of our previous development objectives and project work already underway at the time of the outbreak, we were able to complete the digital switchover in less than two weeks in March 2020, ensuring business continuity and protecting our staff by providing a “home office” work organisation and technology capability whilst meeting the high standards of data and information security expected by our clients.
On behalf of PS Management, we would like to thank all members of our Team and our Clients for their support and flexibility during this period, which were essential to the implementation of a successful transition.
During the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, we invested a lot of energy in redesigning and reorganising Process Solutions’ life to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and to ensure that all our business functions are running as safely, harmoniously and efficiently as possible.
Here we must highlight and thank the work of a special Task Force Team which we already set-up at the end of February 2020, because we knew that we only have a chance to adapt to the extraordinary challenges of a rapidly changing economic environment if we quickly take and implement the necessary coordinated decisions without delay, after analysing the current situation, even on a daily basis. To this end, the Task Force Team was made up of expert staff and experienced external consultants from all areas of the business who were able to work together to support quick and effective decision making. The rapid analysis of the situation, the development of decision alternatives, the necessary (mostly technological) extra investments, the precisely planned and managed implementation of improvements were essential for the development of the new “Covid-proof” PS.
We know that our business success is based on our skilled and experienced team of experts. So protecting the health of our employees has always been and remains a priority. Although our company has had very few confirmed cases of infection, we have consistently placed a high priority on developing and implementing measures to reduce the risk of epidemics.
After the first restrictive measures were lifted, life in PS resumed on 1 July 2020 – of course, with a continuous assessment of the situation and fine-tuning of plans and processes where necessary. Over the summer, we reworked the budget; decisions were taken about social distancing in the office; and to allow staff to work from home, then still limited to 3 days a week.
Our cautious optimism could only last for a few months, as new restrictions were introduced by the government in the autumn. So we reintroduced the availability of full-time home office. To increase health and safety in the office, we introduced ‘A and B week’ working hours to ensure as little personal contact as possible; we introduced a 50% maximum occupancy seating plan to ensure safe spacing; and we also promoted employee parking to reduce the risks of commuting by public transport. In addition, we limited the number of face-to-face meetings to 2-3 people, we did not hold the corporate events and offline training that are so popular in our ‘normal life’.
Thanks to these measures, we have been able to meet our clients’ needs while keeping our staff as safe as possible, in the spirit of #Together we succeed.
Our success in the digital transformation is also due to the fact that almost all of our back-office and support functions can be delivered remotely.
Many industries are not so fortunate. Knowing our clients, we are aware that the epidemic has affected different industries and service areas to very different degrees. In our payroll activities, we have had insight into the lay-offs resulting from the crisis, which clearly illustrated the exposure of each segment to the epidemic. In our client base, we experienced that the film industry, hospitality and tourism were the hardest hit sectors.
On the other hand, for the BPO profession, the pandemic also brought new client demands, such as the tasks arising from redesigns, the accounting of benefits and subsidies, or the early payment of cafeteria allowances, all of which meant extra work and increased services.
One of the positive effects of the epidemic on economic life is the development of the field of information management. Many expectations have been “leapfrogged” by digitisation which, without the pandemic, would have been implemented years later even by economic players with a more advanced IT background. Previous “partly digital” solutions have been further developed. It is also a welcome phenomenon that legislators are now beginning to create the legal framework for solutions and methodologies that are appropriate to the situation. This is essential, for example to extend the possibility of digital administration or to expect that labour law is adapted to the specific characteristics of the home office.
According to health experts we are already in the middle of the fourth wave of the Covid outbreak. However, the economic impact of the new wave is expected to be different from last year, depending on the level of vaccination, if only because the advanced nature of vaccination provides a different management option than was possible in autumn 2020. Thus, it is expected that “complete closures” to protect economies should not be taking place.
Nevertheless, many uncertainties still affect our daily lives, so the ability to monitor and adapt quickly to the epidemiological situation will continue to be a key requirement. Our Task Force Team will therefore continue to play an important role.
The only way to serve the greater market opportunities arising from the growing economy and expanding services in terms of work organisation is to maintain, adapt and improve the more efficient ways of working that have been created by digital processes.
It is worth mentioning here the importance of countering the increasing number of data and information security threats that are inevitably associated with the rise of the “digital world”, as BPO providers deal with the mass of sensitive business data of their clients. It is no coincidence that cyber security is increasingly seen by more and more executives as the most impactful business risk.
The other big management challenge is to take into account the needs of employees and organise hybrid work at home + office. Although the epidemic has led to significantly greater flexibility in work organisation, companies are also facing a series of previously unknown changes. Thus, companies around the world are experiencing a significant change in employee expectations. The notions of work and home have been completely transformed during the pandemic of the last year and a half, taking on a new meaning and blurring the sharp boundaries between them. With the rise of the home office, employees now expect significantly more flexibility from employers than before the pandemic, depending mainly on where they are in their life and/or career.
A major challenge for BPO company managers beside the many uncertainties is how to manage a wide range of individual expectations of their employees while ensuring efficient and high quality work. In many cases, management is faced with the difficult task of designing the optimal work organisation solutions for hybrid working.
A further challenge in the BPO sector, from both employer and employee sides, is to successfully manage the training and integration of new employees into work teams in the digital space without compromise, as well as to continue developing employees professionally and manage their individual career paths accordingly.
Last but not least, it is worth looking at the growth potential of our industry.
The growth of the BPO market is being driven by the increasing demand for business process outsourcing among enterprises in the hope of better results and cost savings, and the positive impact of the evolving technological environment. Advances in areas such as process automation, the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning are also having a positive impact on the future growth prospects of the market and hence PS.
All in all, we are confident that, based on our actions and results described above, the Process Solutions Group will maintain its dominant market position in the Central European region, based on its performance over the last one and a half years.
Our aim is to continue our growth and development by applying our successful solutions and further enhancements to date, while meeting the high expectations of both our Clients and our employees.
The interests of our Clients, our Employees and our Company are aligned, so our slogan during the epidemic remains valid: #togetherwesucceed
Process Solutions Group