Europe-PH News

BPO Industry Promotes Well Rounded Lifestyle

April 10, 2012

Czeriza Valencia

Europe-PH News

Manila, Philippines - The local business process outsour-cing industry (BPO) is promoting a well-rounded lifestyle for employees to sustain its growth momentum and deliver client expectations.

The local BPO industry, which is expected to grow 20 percent this year, is powered by a young workforce of 416,000 professionals with a median age of 27. Those who perform lesser tasks in the industry chain such as directory assistance and taking of orders can be as young as 22.
“If our people are not fit, productivity will suffer and we will be penalized because we will not be able to meet the metric required by the clients,” said Jojo Uligan, executive director of the Contact Center Association of the Philippines (CCAP) during the launch of the 4th Call Center Olympics 2012 last Friday. 
“It’s very important to us that their efficiency meet the standards of the client,” he added.
Increased fitness in the workforce is also expected to improve the industry’s current attrition rate of 18 percent.
Nelia Grandillos of the Occupational Safety and Health Center of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said call center workers may be prone to work-related stress caused by long working hours in front of a computer and extreme rooms temperature; as well as lifestyle-related illnesses caused by lack of exercise and healthy habits. 
The CCAP, European Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ECCP) and business outsourcing solutions provider Automatic Data processing Inc. (ADP) on Friday launched the Call Center Fitness Caravan that kicks off this month and will culminate in the 4th Call Center Olympics from April 5 to July 29.
The fitness events which are primarily sponsored by ADP as a means of promoting their presence in the BPO circuit, engages other sponsors such as Chris Sports, Fitness First and Medical City. 
From April to October, event partners will visit participating call centers for a whole day of fitness and wellness activities, and from April 15 to July 29, participants can take part in the 4th Call Center Olympics which will be held every Saturday and Sunday. Featured sports include men’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, mixed badminton doubles, table tennis doubles, 9-ball billiards, three kilometer and five-kilometer fun run, darts and airsoft.
“As top sponsors, we want to set a good example,” said ADP senior director for human resources Sam White.He said that in ADP offices, for instance, the fitness program for employees are subsidized. This includes programs for physical, mental and social fitness. 
Uligan said that in the local BPO industry, many companies are providing the proper health care solutions and promote healthier lifestyles. He admitted, however, that it is hard to engage employees.
“We develop programs for the employees and partner with HMO (health maintenance organization) companies but if they are not going to say yes, we cannot do anything about it,” he said. “We’d be lucky if we get 80 percent (of employees) to exercise.”
“Working at night is not so different from working during the day as long as you know who to manage your time and practice a healthy lifestyle,” he added. 
White said health education is a continuing process in local call centers.
“We educate them. We tell them the repercussions of having an unhealthy lifestyle. We make them aware of the benefits of abstaining from unhealthy habits but if they indeed get sick, we also have mechanisms for that,” he said. 
Uligan said that at present, there are still call centers that do not conform to the health and safety standards set by the labor department, some of them call centers that implement a telecommuting system. 
“We found that some companies are not following the standards set by DOLE. We are approaching them. But they are not part of our organization. Some of them are not holding offices. Some of them work from home,” he said.
Source: The Philippine Star; Business; 5 April 2012
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