As a global organization, Sitel Group is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak around the world, as well as announcements from the WHO and other health agencies. The well-being and safety of our employees is our No.1 priority.
On this page, we will share our latest updates and the impact COVID-19 is having in the locations in which we operate.
COVID-19 – Updated Overview
Around the globe, governments are declaring the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency. At Sitel Group, the well-being and safety of our people is, as always, our No.1 priority. We are working diligently with our leadership teams, employees and clients to protect both our people as well as our continued operations with our clients.
“This COVID-19 page will allow us to be agile and communicate with our clients, partners and the media in one place,” said Martin Wilkinson-Brown, Sitel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “With a focus on our people, we are working diligently across the globe with our employees as well as our clients on our BCP plan and the best course of action during this global crisis.”
In our continued efforts to act responsibly for our people, clients and communities we have taken the following actions:
- All site facilities are following guidance from the World Health Organization and their local health and government officials to implement supplemental preventative measures with site and personnel hygiene actions to stop the spread of any illness, as well as rigorous cleaning activities
- We are continuing to implement social distancing measures on site, including restructuring our workspaces so that workstations follow distancing recommendations from the World Health Organization
- We are working to implement our Sitel at Home solution across the globe where appropriate and where possible
- We have restricted visitation in all global Sitel sites to approved business-critical occurrences only
- We are keeping lines of communication constantly open among our Global Crisis Management Teams and Regional Crisis Management Teams with daily monitoring both internally and externally
- We are hosting mandatory virtual meetings to support site leadership, Operations and HR regarding BCP, processes and symptom awareness specific to the pandemic crisis; recordings of these calls are housed for our Coach+ employees to see
- Our Workforce Management team is employing standard strategies and tactics related to planning for increased absenteeism as seen in the seasonal flu season which this virus is expected to mirror
- Sitel teams are partnering with clients as the threat develops to confirm any additional actions above and beyond normal operational responses that might be required for short time periods should absenteeism spike, e.g., re-routing of calls, customer call back queues, etc.
- We are ensuring that every call center agent is provided individual headsets and replacements as needed to prevent employees from sharing or reusing headsets.
If we have a case of confirmed infection in one of our sites, we will immediately follow our protocol which first and foremost requires cordoning off the site or production floor (this depends upon the site and country), where the COVID-19 employee was working followed by a deep clean and sanitization of the site and notification to the local health agency. Next steps vary upon the site, country and circumstances and in accordance with local laws and guidelines.
March 25, 2020
March 25, 2020 | 25 März 2020
COVID-19 – Aktualisierte Übersicht
Rund um den Globus erklären Regierungen die COVID-19-Pandemie zum nationalen Notstand. Bei der Sitel Group sind das Wohlergehen und die Sicherheit unserer Mitarbeiter wie immer unsere Priorität Nr. 1. Wir arbeiten sorgfältig mit unseren Führungsteams und Kunden zusammen, um sowohl unsere Mitarbeiter, als auch unsere operativen Aktivitäten mit unseren Kunden zu schützen.
“Diese COVID-19-Seite wird es uns ermöglichen, agil zu sein und mit unseren Kunden, Partnern und den Medien an einem Ort zu kommunizieren”, sagte Martin Wilkinson-Brown, Chief Marketing Officer der Sitel Group. “Mit dem Fokus auf unsere Mitarbeiter, arbeiten wir weltweit mit unseren Teams und Kunden stetig an unserem BCP-Plan, und der besten Vorgehensweise in dieser globalen Krise.“
In unserem fortwährenden Bemühen, verantwortungsvoll für unsere Mitarbeiter und Kunden zu handeln, haben wir die folgenden Maßnahmen ergriffen:
- Alle Einrichtungen am Standort befolgen die Anweisungen der Weltgesundheitsorganisation, sowie ihrer lokalen Gesundheits- und Regierungsbehörden, um zusätzliche Präventiv-, Hygiene- , sowie strenge Reinigungsmaßnahmen am Standort durchzuführen, um die Ausbreitung der Pandemie zu verhindern.
- Wir setzen weiterhin Social Distancing vor Ort um, einschließlich der Umstrukturierung unserer Arbeitsbereiche, so dass die Arbeitsplätze den Abstandsempfehlungen der Weltgesundheitsorganisation entsprechen.
- Wir arbeiten daran, unsere Sitel- at- Home- Lösung weltweit zu implementieren, wo immer dies angebracht und möglich ist.
- Wir haben die Besuche an allen globalen Sitel-Standorten auf ausschließlich geschäftskritische Termine beschränkt.
- Wir halten die Kommunikationslinien zwischen unseren globalen und regionalen Krisenbewältigungsteams ständig offen, und überwachen sie täglich intern und extern.
- Wir veranstalten obligatorische virtuelle Meetings, um die Standortleitung, die operativen Teams und die Personalabteilung in Bezug auf BCP, Prozesse und Symptombewusstsein speziell in dieser Pandemiekrise zu unterstützen. Aufzeichnungen dieser Meetings werden unseren Teammanagern und Mitarbeiter zur Verfügung gestellt.
- Unser Workforce Management- Team erarbeitet Standardstrategien und -taktiken , die sich auf die Planung erhöhter Fehlzeiten beziehen, wie sie in der saisonalen Grippesaison zu beobachten sind, die dieses Virus voraussichtlich widerspiegeln wird.
- Die Sitel-Teams arbeiten eng mit den Kunden zusammen, um zusätzliche Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, die bei einem Anstieg der Abwesenheit für kurze Zeiträume erforderlich sein könnten, z.B. die Umleitung von Anrufen, Kundenrückruf-Warteschleifen usw.
- Wir stellen sicher, dass jedem Call-Center-Agenten individuelle Headsets und Ersatzkopfhörer zur Verfügung gestellt werden, um gemeinschaftliche Nutzung oder Wiederverwendung zu verhindern.
Sollten wir einen Fall von bestätigter Infektion an einem unserer Standorte haben, befolgen wir unverzüglich unser Protokoll, das in erster Linie die Absperrung des Standorts oder des Produktionsfloors (abhängig von Standort und Land) vorsieht, an dem der COVID-19-Mitarbeiter gearbeitet hat. Anschließend folgen eine gründliche Reinigung und Desinfektion des Standorts, sowie eine Meldung an die örtliche Gesundheitsbehörde. Die nächsten Schritte variieren je nach Standort, Land und Umständen, erfolgen aber in Übereinstimmung mit den örtlichen Gesetzen und Richtlinien.
March 24, 2020
[UK Business Operations]
Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address to the nation on COVID-19, Sitel Group continues to comply with directives.
Currently, our UK sites remain open so that we may continue supplying essential business support to Key Public Services and essential business including healthcare, insurance, public sector, telecommunications and the food chain. We have directed all sites to follow stricter social distancing practices in line with recent government directives and increased cleaning measures to ensure our teams, including those with key and essential workers status, have every resource available to continue serving communities in the safest manner possible. We are also implementing Sitel at Home solutions when possible.
All agents continue to receive training, in line with the guidance of the clients we serve. Our training tools and internal best practices have also supported many of the clients we serve at an enterprise level.
March 23, 2020
On March 22nd of 2020, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez issued a decree to close non-essential business operations, view decree. Under article 3-numeral 23 of this decree, call centers are exempt from closing as they provide essential business and services. Sitel continues to comply with all federal directives, and continues to supply essential business support.
We are working closely with national and local authorities to ensure our staff has every resource available to continue serving their communities in the safest manner possible, and making work from home solutions available to more of our employees each day, as possible. We have also sent a large part of our employees to work from home and continue sending more daily. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at our Colombian sites.
March 20, 2020
[Update on U.S. Business Operations]
At this time, many governors across the United States are issuing orders to close non-essential business operations, and Sitel continues to comply with all state and federal directives. More information about essential business operations and workers is outlined in this “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” issued by The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Sitel will continue supplying essential business support for key sectors including healthcare, insurance, banking and grocery. We are working to ensure our staff has every resource available to continue serving the community in the safest manner possible, including implementing Sitel at Home solutions when possible.
March 19, 2020
[Update to Spartanburg, South Carolina site]
On March 13, we reported to authorities that an employee at our Spartanburg, South Carolina site self-reported testing positive for COVID-19. Once reported, we immediately evacuated employees from the Spartanburg site and conducted rigorous sanitization of the entire facility.
Today, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office alerted Sitel that this employee made fraudulent claims about testing positive for COVID-19. Based on these fraudulent claims, the Spartanburg Sheriff’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for this individual. The individual is no longer employed at Sitel.
We are currently working in close partnership with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, and since this is an ongoing investigation, we will direct any requests for statements or information about this investigation to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.
At this time, our focus is on the safety and wellbeing of our employees who returned to work at our Spartanburg site on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020. We’ve taken precautionary safety measures at this site to ensure:
- We communicated this situation to all employees. Linked here is an update we’ve shared with our employees.
- We continue to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols (outlined above in our Overview) to protect the safety of our employees.
March 18, 2020
We were made aware that some agents in our Porto, Portugal office were sharing or reusing headsets, which is against our policy. We immediately ordered and distributed new headsets and ear sponges for individual use to agents at this site. As of today, no agent is sharing headsets. In addition, each employee at this site was given additional ear sponges and a cleaning kit to clean their desks and working materials.
March 17, 2020
The Saint John, New Brunswick site has been closed since January 31, and all current staff is working remotely from home. We have provided all Saint John agents with information on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 17, 2020
Sitel Group’s Philippine leadership continues to work with the local Philippine governments, lBPAP and CCAP as the situation evolves concerning the community quarantine.
Baguio, Tarlac & Puerto Princesa
Each of Sitel’s sites in Baguio, Tarlac and Puerto Princesa are operational with an expected capacity of 40-50% of capacity (due to the social distancing measures. Where applicable, accommodations near the sites have been arranged as well as transportation needs – all with the consent of local authorities.
Accommodations for employees near Sitel’s Manila-based sites have been booked and where possible, we have transportation ready for associates. All of the sites are expected be operational, but we are still working through details with local authorities.
In each of our Philippine sites, we are providing food for all employees at work, have instituted hazard pay incentives, are transporting and providing accommodation where applicable, have implemented social distancing norms and sanitization processes.
March 17, 2020
Sitel Group COVID-19 Updates Keep Clients, Media Informed
The COVID-19 updates page will provide Sitel Group’s business continuity plans, media statements and client communications.
March 16, 2020
[Philippines Government Announcement]
On March 16, 2020, the Philippine government announced an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECC) for all of the Luzon region. Each of Sitel Group’s Philippine sites are in this region. The government has mandated the following:
- Strict home quarantine
- Suspension of mass transportation
- Regulated provision of food and essential health services
- Heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures
- Suspension of work*
Effective immediately, Sitel Group has suspended in-center operations in every Sitel site in the Philippines for today as the leadership addresses the go-forward plan. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among Sitel Philippines associates.
What does this mean for Sitel Group?
This mandatory quarantine includes all of Sitel Group’s sites in the Philippines. We are working with local organizations, IBPAP and CCAP to continually update and refine messaging and response plans in line with current guidance.
The Philippine government has advised that Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) establishments and export-oriented industries can remain operational with a reduced workforce, subject to the condition that strict social distancing measures are observed, their respective personnel are provided appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements by March 18, 2020.
Following the latest updates and guidance from the local government, we are actively building our response plan to determine how we will remain operational with a priority on the well-being and safety of our people.
Our immediate actions include:
- Identifying accommodations close to our sites which eliminate the need for public transformation for our employees to get to a site
- Addressing social distancing practices in our sites so employees can work in a safe environment
- Providing work from home options for our corporate and support functions where applicable
- Working with local HR to determine appropriate and available work credits and pay options
Once these plans are defined and we’ve determined the operating capacity of our Philippines operations, updates will be communicated to our employees and clients as soon as possible.
March 15, 2020
Around the globe, governments are declaring this pandemic a national emergency. In our continued efforts to act responsibly for both our people and our clients, we are restricting visitation in all Sitel Group locations across the world.
Only approved business-critical client visits are allowed for the next 30 days.
Sitel Group and its partners are always mindful of maintaining a safe work environment and we continue paying close attention to advice from the World Health Organization and other health agencies. Further, we are monitoring conditions closely each day and have activated our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) protocol accordingly to reassure our associates and our clients. We take these threats seriously and are working with our employees to avoid the spread of infection. Internally, we have implemented travel restrictions globally and are only allowing business-critical travel at this time.
If we have a case of confirmed infection in one of our sites, we will immediately follow our protocol which includes evacuating the site, or production floor (this depends upon the site and country), where the COVID-19 employee was working for a deep clean and sanitization and notify the local health agency. Next steps vary upon the site and country.
*BPO establishments shall remain operational, subject to the condition that strict social distancing measures are observed, their respective personnel are provided appropriate temporary accommodation arrangements by March 18, 2020 and that a skeletal workforce shall be implemented.
March 14, 2020
On March 13, 2020, Sitel Group learned that an employee of Sitel Spartanburg tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) via self-notification. We immediately contacted the South Carolina Department of Health to seek advice and, in abundance of caution, closed the site and sent our employees home.
The health, well-being and safety of our employees is our priority. We have instructed employees that came into contact with the COVID-19 positive employee to self-quarantine for 14 days and contact their health providers if they feel ill. We had certified vendors in viral decontamination who completed a hospital-grade deep clean at the site on Friday evening. We will update our employees once we determine a date to re-open the site.
March 13, 2020
Sitel Group’s People-Centric Response to COVID-19
On March 11, 2020, COVID-19, (coronavirus), was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus continues to spread across the globe and remains a concern for the business environment. At Sitel Group, the well-being and safety of our people is, as always, our No.1 priority. We are working diligently with our leadership teams, employees and clients to protect both our people as well as our continued operations with our clients
March 12, 2020
On March 11, 2020, COVID-19, (coronavirus), was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The virus continues to spread across the globe and remains a concern for the business environment. At Sitel Group, the well-being and safety of our people is, as always, our No.1 priority. We are working diligently with our leadership teams, employees and clients to protect both our people as well as our continued operations with our clients. As of this week, there are no more ‘hot spots’ around the world as there are active cases in nearly every country.
On March 12, 2020, the Philippine government declared the country under Code Red Alert Level 2 and Metro Manila placed under community quarantine, from March 15 to April 14, 2020. These measures have been implemented to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 within the country by imposing significant social distancing measures including mass gatherings, various travel restrictions and the encouragement of flexible working environments.
In addition to the global, enterprise-wide BCP measures currently in place, our Leadership Team in the Philippines are driving the following actions to ensure business continuity:
- As a result of our proactive inventory and preparation, we are ready with accommodations for our agents who live outside the Metro Manila area before the start of the quarantine on March 15.
- At this time, we are continuing with scheduled training classes. Any changes will be communicated with you ahead of time. We are expecting a high dropout rate and will adjust future classes accordingly.
- Each of our deployed prevention and monitoring measures are still in place and are being strictly adhered to; our BCP team is regulating compliance to these measures and these are both tracked and reported upon on an ongoing and regular basis at both a site, region and global level.
- Our absenteeism rates are currently running at business as usual levels. We are working closely with our Workforce Management teams as necessary on shrinkage adjustments and will continue to publish regular reports and plans to mitigate deficits
We continue to monitor conditions closely each day and have activated our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) protocol accordingly to reassure our associates and our clients around the globe. We take these threats seriously and are working with our clients and employees to avoid the spread of infection. Internally, we have implemented travel restrictions globally and are only allowing business-critical travel at this time.