Self-Care Tips For You And Your Team During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has lasted for over a year by now, has changed the world of how we work ever since. Businesses around the world have suddenly adapted to the remote work culture to help slow the spread of the disease. Furthermore, thanks to the internet, working from home has come from a dream to reality.

Despite all the benefits, a limited amount of social interactions can pose mental health concerns in the long-term. Here are three practical tips on self-caring for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tip 1: Take advantage of new applications to work more efficiently

Many large tech companies have reported gain during the pandemic due to the popularity of remote work. For example, Zoom, the American video conferencing giant, reported three quarters of earnings and revenue more than quadrupled in 2020. They have become the most favoured software in 2020 for video conferencing around the world.

Remote workers should search for applications like Zoom which will make the tedious computer work more efficient. For example, if you are required to keep track of all incomes and expenses, Intuit Quickbooks should be worth considering. Here is a list of software that every remote worker should know:

With the rise of many new applications, companies have started to outsource the administrative work to developing countries to save on labour costs, such as the Philippines.

Without paying the high-wages and benefits, the long-term savings can be substantial. Hiring a worker can cost more than $20 per hour, but outsourcing to the Philippines could cost anywhere from $3-5 due to the lower cost of living.

Therefore, if you are looking for time savings on admin, HR tasks recruitment and employee wellness and engagement, consider finding a reputable outsourcing partner in the Philippines that could customise their service base on your business needs.

 Tip 2: Stay connected with your teammates

Despite working from home, you should dedicate more than one hour a day to go social. Whether it is a co-worker or family member, text, call or video chat would be a mental boost for yourself. It also makes the person on the other side of the phone heart-warmed. One common thing to share about could be stay-at-home experiences.

For businesses, they can host fun online activities, like a weekly bingo and typing speed race to keep the team engaged, as well as creating a group chat on Skype or a Slack channel where the team can talk about any topics that have nothing to do with work. Make sure the chat owner is keeping conversations going every day. And for the clients, businesses can create Facebook or LinkedIn groups to gather customers/suppliers into one online community.

Tip 3: Develop a hobby within your interest outside your work

Find a hobby that is outside your businesses or usual interests. It will help rest your mind in the non-working hours and reduce stress. If the activity can be shared online it would be more beneficial. For example, practice yoga at home in the morning and start live streaming. Share on social media and invite friends and family to join.

Other hobbies can be creating an online movie, TV or book club and sharing with your co-workers. Or you may start a home garden and keep a note of the progress.

It is more essential for remote workers to have a clear boundary between work and rest. 

Conclusion: Take good care of yourself and your teammates

COVID has imposed challenges due to the limited amount of social interaction and staying at home. With remote work become the new norm, businesses should think of ways to keep their team healthy and happy. Finding ways to work more efficiently, stay connected with co-workers and develop new hobbies are crucial tips to consider.


Covid-19 is pushing more companies to look at outsourcing

Over the decades as globalisation has taken hold, the Philippines has become a major player in the outsourcing industry. In cities from Makati to Quezon City, more than 1.2 million people staff are employed by BPO companies, call centres, IT centres and all kinds of other outsourcing services to western businesses, including Australia and New Zealand. 

But the uncontrolled nature of the country’s coronavirus lockdown declared at four hours’ notice in March, left many outsourcers clambering to avoid operation interruptions as they shifted to remote working. This highlighted the risks of focusing on outsourced operations and work that has been kept in- house but transferred offshore in a singular place. 

The Philippines which is one of Asia’s biggest outsourcing and offshoring hub and one of the worlds top five is one of the outsourcing hotspots hoping to benefit.

For those businesses that were not considered outsourcing before, the pandemic will expedite it. They will look at the circumstance and say if we are global operating companies, we too have to have our workforce allocated more evenly. 

One hurdle for Philippines outsourcers in the switch to remote work or work-from-home was stern privacy rules on what can be taken out of the office. Next was the inadequacy of infrastructure, power interruptions, and staff often lack stable internet connections at home.

Many companies were not anticipating the scale of the impact. Most staff don’t have fast home broadband because it is too expensive so BPO companies have had to provide their staff with a prepaid sim card (with internet cash stipend) and laptops so they can work remotely. Some even let the staff take home their office desktop computers.

Since we transitioned our staff in DBOS to work from home, productivity continues to be higher. We have tools to track the productivity of every employee right now. There is a lockdown, so obviously, everybody is focused on work. We have to recognise how a grand-scale work from home stacks up in a non-lockdown environment. The second viewpoint is a lot of clients have comfortably accepted it because of the pandemic. 

The Philippines remain one of the most competitive and affordable in terms of labour costs among the top outsourcing providers. It continues to attract western companies, including Australian and New Zealand companies. As much of the country continues to be under “enhanced community quarantine”, the country’s BPO industry has adapted to new working practices and shifts in demand. With this, BPO companies executives hope that the way the industry handled the shift to work-from-home setup during the pandemic will be another factor in their favour.

Related article: A Quick Guide to Opening Your Business After the COVID-19 Lockdown is Over



Outsourcing Is More Relevant Than Ever After COVID-19

COVID-19 has hugely affected the outsourcing industry and there is no quick recovery in sight. However, once the recovery begins, the bounce-back will be racing, and the outsourcing industry will be more relevant and attractive than ever, especially to small and medium business owners. Here’s why:

The main challenges for the outsourcing industry

Around the world, outsourcing service providers are dealing with travel restrictions resulting in empty offices. Many companies in developing countries such as the Philippines provide outsourcing services to businesses in Australia and New Zealand. But, they do not have the infrastructures or management tools to execute a work-from-home (WFH) system for their staff. They are having great challenges in trying to deliver work.

With work and projects not getting done, many outsourcing partners have to take the work back in-house, which may result in them stopping outsourcing altogether. Even when the COVID-19 crisis is over, companies who can deliver will also have to deal with projects on a halt and limitation of incoming projects.  

Good news ahead for outsourcing providers

Australian companies are also experiencing the hurdles of staff working from home. They have to deal with processes they wished they had automated before all this happens and most of their staff had to work from home. These situations will be the deciding factor for many companies to open up towards automation and digitisation and of their work processes. This will reduce the threshold for outsourcing in the future. Companies may be more likely to outsource their business processes to other countries in the long run. There are understandings among companies from all over the world about this crisis that affects us all. 

Companies from all around the world have a great understanding of this crisis that affects us all. They have become more flexible when deadlines are not met and schedules have to be changed. The best advice is to maintain clear communication with your outsourcing partners. Transparency is key. You have to ensure that your clients see that you are doing the best you can to deliver optimum results despite the circumstances. 

Road to recovery

The fastest recovery is expected in strong European countries, especially countries in North- and Western Europe. But two economic powerhouses in the pacific, Australia and New Zealand are also expected to bounce back just as quickly. 

According to, Australia is unlikely to experience ‘post-war’ recovery after coronavirus. Their battle to contain the onslaught of the pandemic is working well and the economy is responding to the recent stimulus. Travel and entertainment industries may have suffered immensely but sectors like online retail, food delivery and subscription services are booming. These sectors have skyrocketed more than 60 per cent. Same with the demand for home improvement products which has soared 64 per cent. 

The biggest challenge for companies would be staying in business until the initial stage of the crisis is over. Once it is, the demand for outsourcing service will be bigger than ever. Most especially for industries like digital working environments, cloud services and security.  

How to stay informed on the situation?

There are many resources online that will help you stay informed on the situation in the outsourcing sector.


A Quick Guide to Opening Your Business After the COVID-19 Lockdown is Over

It’s been four months since the outbreak of a mysterious virus that causes pneumonia-like symptoms, and today, much of the world as we know it has come to a halt. More than 4 billion people around the world are in some form of a lockdown due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The lockdown will be over one day and time will come to go back out and rejoin the workplace, but given the nature of the pandemic, everything is about to shift. 

What will happen to the world when the lockdown gets lifted?

As countries like Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines slowly move toward the gradual removal of the lockdown for some sectors, the government doesn’t have any other choice other than to focus on saving lives and livelihoods. The greatest challenge businesses will face will be restarting their operations. Sectors like public transportation, etc., are likely to remain to be in lockdown and within the restrictions of what we are allowed to do, we’re going to have to ensure that businesses get back on track. 

Related article: Impact of COVID-19 on key Philippine economic sectors

What we can know for sure is that people are going to come back very different. It’s not going to be the same people you left before the lockdown and we’re going to see a very progressive opening up of the world. At the same time, we’re going to see very changed people who need to be managed very differently. Life would never be the same ever again. We have to remember how do we keep these things together, how we open our offices and keep social distancing while managing our costs. Accept that the same way you worked before has changed and made work from home a new norm. 

How does a business open its office once the lockdown is over?

Governments are going to allow the easing of the lockdown in a regulated manner. Companies are going to have to go through a series of actions to guarantee that they are complying with the government guidelines, but at the same time, assuring that people are safe, and can be active as well because, at the end of the day, we have to operate a business. The steps include:

  • Companies need to distinguish which employees need to come to work and which are to continue working from home. That clarity is essential.
  • Companies should secure transportation for their staff. At the offices where there are a series of checkpoints that employees have to go through before reaching the office, there should be holding areas to guarantee that a red flag can be raised if someone’s feeling unwell.
  • Companies have to make sure there is no crowding in office spaces, ensure that only 25 or 50% of the workspace is occupied.
  • Similar actions need to be done with support staff, including receptionists, security guards and cafeteria staff. Companies must ask if all of them need to come to work in the beginning or come in a staggered fashion.

All of these must be well planned out to ensure that while we open up our offices, we consider every step possible to reduce the impact on employees and ensure their well being and safety.

What parameters do small and medium-sized companies have to follow after the lockdown ends?

Several things are non-negotiable. Every organisation regardless of its size will have to do testing, workplace sanitation, and must have a physician available. There will be other parts that are easier for a smaller company but pose important challenges for a large company. This can include transportation which even for a large company can be very difficult to take control of. That will put significant financial pressure on a lot of organizations. So there will be a reduction in the pace of operations. The focus has to be on allowing work from home, wherever possible so that it’s just a proportion of the employees that are affected. 

Even when companies open up, not everyone will be allowed into the office at the same time. Rosters have to be created where teams come in at certain times during the day, complete their work, and leave. All of which will have to be brought into consideration and properly planned out. 



Impact of COVID-19 on Outsourced Services – Key Issues to Take Into Consideration

As we all now know too well, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies and their employees to shift operations to work from home (WFH) setup. This shift has had a great impact most especially on the outsourced services industry. An obvious example is the Philippines 30-day lockdown of its entire population, which creates immense logistical complexities for delivery centres across the country. 

A massive amount of focus is placed on logical layers of security to protect clients’ data. Fortunately for DBOS, clients have full control of all their data which allows a less complex transition of operations to the work from home environment. However, this sea of changes in service delivery also introduces other challenges and a lot of considerations for both providers and their customers, which in most cases demand swift decisions under enormous pressure.

Below are some of the key issues to take into consideration in the pressing term, while both clients and providers find the balance needed for the continuity of services against the restrictions and other realities of working remotely: 


Outsourced services providers and customers must work collaboratively and swiftly to come up with actionable decisions. Both must fully understand and not lose sight of their contractual rights and obligations while allowing at least a temporary deviation from contract norms. For example, many service providers and customers may be apt to look towards their force majeure clauses, but there may be conditions where mutually agreeable alternative arrangements could be more beneficial to both parties. 

In summary, while it is crucial to understand contractual rights and reliefs, in most cases, the WFH operations will mean that not all services can be fulfilled and not all service levels can be reached. With this in mind, customers should stay focused on their business and operational priorities and then work closely with providers to address them, rather than trying to hold firmly to all of the contractual requirements. Likewise, service providers should aim to address the customer’s most immediate needs and be transparent about what is attainable.


Documentation is extremely critical. If the service provider is enquiring change of contractual obligations may it be performance related or otherwise or if a customer is demanding to re-prioritise services or extend the service provider’s liability due to increased performance or security risk, it is critical that: 

  • These changes are discussed and understood by both parties
  • Any contractual amendments and the degree of such amendments are documented clearly in writing that is contractually binding on both parties. 

Ideally, any documentation will follow the formal contract process and be explicit vis-à-vis the pre-existing contract terms. 

Internal Stakeholders Should All Participate

Customers should encourage all relevant departments within their companies, including representations from data security, legal, compliance and business operations to be proactive in identifying and documenting WFH set up with service providers. On the other hand, outsourced service providers are required to have a strengthened level of internal coordination within their companies.

Address External Concerns

Customers and outsourced service providers must try to fully understand and alleviate any impacts that WFH or working remotely might have outside the physical contract and services. For example, both parties must figure out if WFH jeopardises any liability insurance coverage on which its company may have been banking on. This also includes whether and how the WFH setup impacts corporate controls that are subject to reporting and audit. Lastly, it is critical to understand future impacts on any contracts with third-parties and all the necessary actions needed as a result of the WFH environment setup. 

No Unwarranted Delay

All parties must balance justified consideration with the requirement for action. Customers should acknowledge that the outsourced service provider’s resources may be limited. This includes internet, computers and other physical resources as well as manpower, such as legal, account management, contract administration and service delivery. On the service provider’s side, they must recognise that customers will have reasonable concerns and queries with the WFH setup. They will require immediate and continuous engagement with their outsourced service providers to understand and assess the ramifications. 

With all considerations in mind, customers and outsourced service providers should aim to work together closely and quickly to minimise any delays with making important decisions including reasonable negotiations. While not ideal, the current precedence requires more accurate documentation to follow the implementation and financial considerations or service level support be addressed. 

It is crucial during these unprecedented times that customers and outsourced service providers work closely, collaboratively, with urgency and with a proper sense of priorities. As crises evolve, the situation must be constantly monitored, keep close communication, and plan for further changes until a soon return to more normal operations is viable.