It’s been a year since the pandemic has changed the way we live. COVID-19 has forced businesses to adapt, downsize, or worse, shut down with the logistical challenges and the need to put safety protocols in place. Many companies have suffered, with over 3.8 million Filipinos* directly affected and now unemployed. It was a scale so huge and unprecedented; it was difficult to cope for everyone.

The BPO industry was lucky enough to be spared, finding a somehow stable footing amid it all. At SYKES, we were able to adapt to the changes, putting new processes in place, and eventually working on a blended work model where some of our employees work on-site while the others work from home.

 

Adapting to work from home set-up at SYKES

Globally, SYKES has gone through major infrastructure changes prior to the pandemic, thanks to our digital transformation initiative. Other regions have also implemented a work-at-home program for employees as early as 2012, providing us a head start in addressing the changes brought by the country-wide restrictions.

We have existing platforms such as OneTeam, where employees can communicate seamlessly in production, even when they are working remotely. We have virtual recruitment processes, further refined during the pandemic, enabling applicants to take their interviews and even job offers online. We also utilized our SYKES PH Mobile App, letting employees receive important updates and access SYKES tools like Health Checklist and My Attendance through their mobile device.

Additionally, our teams also went ahead and developed other supplementary materials such as Ready, Safe, Go, our rollback course for employees returning to work, and SW@G, which stands for SYKES Work-at-Home Guide.

While these are all helpful, the real secret on how we thrived during these challenging times was our people. Working at SYKES, we aim to continuously nurture a culture of support, where we try to help people one caring interaction at a time. Nothing explains it better than hearing stories of employees who were hired amid the pandemic and are now thriving at work with their teams.

 

SYKESer work-from-home story: Kim

Finding a job as an Undergraduate

Kim was a 2nd year undergraduate student of radiologic technology. She intended to look for a job right after her second year to support her studies. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened, and she was unable to push through with her original plans.

 

Inspirations for Finding a Job

As the breadwinner of her family, Kim was dedicated to finding a job that would sustain herself and her parents. Her siblings all have their own families, while her parents suffered from salary cuts because of their work changes.

 

Job Hunting During the Lockdown

When the lockdown began, Kim decided to pursue her application processes and applied to several companies. But since she was unable to complete her 2nd year studies, she fell short on qualifications and was disadvantaged because of the technicalities. After one month of submitting applications, she eventually got hired at SYKES and started working from home.

 

Working with SYKES

It’s been a few months since she started working for the company, and Kim shares that she’s glad to land a job. “I’m happy to help my family,” she adds. While she finds her workload manageable and more convenient since it no longer requires commute hours, she admits that she misses face-to-face interactions with her teammates. Despite the distance, she finds her teammates very supportive and hopes to bond with them personally someday.

“Right now, I’m focused on improving my Performance Management Program (PMP) scores,” Kim admits. She believes that many opportunities await her in this industry and she hopes to continue excelling in what she does.

 

SYKESer work-from-home story: Bianca

Juggling work and studies

Bianca is a senior high school graduate and is currently studying in college. She initially intended to apply for part-time work, even dedicating some time to a job for a printing company. However, when the pandemic began, schools were forced to close down, and without any class to think about, she decided to explore having full-time work.

 

Inspirations for Finding a Job

Bianca has three younger siblings that she wanted to support. Her dad, a brand manager for sales in the health industry, got laid off when the pandemic began. She wants to save up and eventually pay for her tuition fees while also providing some support at home.

 

Job Hunting During the Lockdown

While virtual job applications have made it easier to apply, Bianca admits that most of her first interviews didn’t go well. “I was too nervous,” she says. After multiple applications, she almost gave up finding a job, but her mom encouraged her to soldier on. “She was a tenured agent, and she encouraged me to try.”

SYKES was her second formal interview, and with the support of her parents, she was able to land a job with the team.

 

Working with SYKES

“I’m really happy and lucky to find a job that would let me pay for my tuition fees,” she shares. At the moment, she’s juggling work and studies, both of which are done at home. Twice a week, she attends her classes in the morning before logging in and does her requirements after shift.

Despite her initial fears, she adjusted and enjoyed her work, thanks to her teammates. “I’m excited to be here, and I look forward to growing with the team.”

Bianca dreams of finishing her studies and eventually qualifying for future management training.

 

SYKESer work-from-home story: Clarisse

Her journey with SYKES Academy to landing a job

 

Before the pandemic happened, Clarisse was invited to join SYKES Academy– an English training program that lets participants further refine their skills before getting hired for an account. She applied in February 2020 and was in the middle of her training when the lockdown happened. She was stuck in Manila during ECQ while her family lived in Bulacan. Despite the difficulties of coping with living by herself, it eventually paid off, and she’s now happily working as part of our team.

 

Inspirations for Finding a Job

Her sister and herself were the breadwinners of their families. She wanted to continue supporting her family while also exploring a fulfilling career. After three years of working in the service industry, she decided to explore an entirely different industry, and she’s determined to succeed in this field.

 

Working with SYKES

“I learned a lot and am continuously learning as I work with my team,” Clarisse shares. While her original plan of paving a career in BPO did not change, she says that she is more determined to make greater leaps at her work after getting hired at SYKES. Right now, she admits that she’s focused on doing her best at work. She hopes to earn a leadership role in the future.

 

SYKESer work-from-home story: Katherine

Changing career paths to work in the BPO industry

 

A few months before the community quarantine, Katherine earned her license in teaching. She was already hired at a school that she liked. However, when the pandemic began, her plans changed drastically. She got laid off, and it became hard to pursue a career as a teacher.

 

Inspirations for Finding a Job

Katherine and her sister were the breadwinners of their family. Both of them are teachers, and both were laid off when the government started implementing the restrictions. She wishes to continue supporting her family despite the difficulties of finding a job.

 

Job Hunting during the Lockdown

“For a month, I applied for different jobs, but everything didn’t work out,” she admits. Katherine originally planned to pursue a teaching career, but it was almost impossible to find a job with schools coming to a halt. “I doubted myself and my abilities because of all the rejections and the hardships,” she shares.

Eventually, she decided to try applying for BPO. She knew she needed work, and despite the pandemic, the industry was continuously hiring for agents.

 

Working at SYKES

Despite her hesitations of working in the BPO, she eventually found the job fulfilling. “I’m always excited to log-in, and every day feels like a challenge.”

She says that her team was a significant factor in why she loves what she does. As she continues to learn more about the industry, she also realizes that her teaching experience wouldn’t be in vain. She hopes to apply her learnings as a teacher through the work that she does today and even considers exploring a career in training. She wishes to land bigger responsibilities and roles in the future.

 

SYKESer work-from-home story: Vince

Finding a way back to SYKES

 

Vince has been a part of SYKES in the past and was recently rehired during the pandemic. He initially left his role to take care of his mother, who is battling breast cancer. During his time away from the BPO industry, he tried dabbling into business, taking gigs and side jobs to keep them afloat. Unfortunately, when the lockdown began, his plans did not push through, with three projects getting canceled during the quarantine’s first weeks.

 

Inspirations for Finding a Job

Vince’s greatest inspiration is his mom. He left his previous work at SYKES to move back to their home and take care of his mother. He’s currently the breadwinner of the family, and he hopes that a stable job would help him support his mother’s medications and treatments.

 

Job Hunting during the Lockdown

“I was looking for a more stable income, so I decided to apply again at SYKES,” Vince shares. During his previous years with the company, Vince immensely enjoyed the support that he received from his team and is pretty satisfied with where he was. He says he was lucky to be quickly hired after going through the virtual application process.

 

Working at SYKES

“I really like working at SYKES,” he admits. Vince admits that while his original plan was to pursue a business, going back to the BPO industry did not feel like a fallback. He’s happy that he gets to work with a team again, and he’s proud to share that he got promoted in just two months. He’s currently handling a team for his account and hopes to continue growing within the company.

 


 

Looking for a job amid the pandemic may feel impossible, but just like our SYKESers, determination and hard work can make a lot of difference, and if you’re lucky enough, it can lead you to a job that you’ll fall in love with.

Are you interested to learn more about working from home and starting a new career? Check out our other articles!

*Reference: As of October 2020. Source: https://cnnphilippines.com/business/2020/12/3/October-2020-employment-data-PSA.html