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.
May 21, 2020
[Sitel Las Vegas Update]
On May 20, 2020 Sitel Group received confirmation that an associate based at our Las Vegas location had tested positive for COVID-19. The associate was last on site on May 16.
We responded quickly to this information, closing the site to enable a viral decontamination of the location to take place overnight. A section of the site will remain closed through May 21 to enable the deep cleaning to be completed. All common areas, such as entrances, bathrooms and breakrooms will be thoroughly cleaned as well.
Impacted clients were informed on May 20.
Across all our sites around the globe, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, we responded rapidly to ensure the health and well-being of our associates and to limit the impact of the coronavirus on our clients and their customers. This includes moving 80% of our total U.S.-based associates to our Sitel at Home solution.
By moving the majority of our associates to Sitel at Home, we have been able to implement strict social distancing policies in addition to our increased cleaning regimen. Because of the social distancing on site, only a small number of associates may have come into contact with the affected person. These associates have been asked to self-isolate and monitor their health for any symptoms of the virus.
May 7, 2020
[Sitel Starkville Update]
Late on May 7, 2020, Sitel Group received confirmation that two associates from our Starkville location had tested positive for COVID-19. The associates were last on site on April 24 and April 30 respectively.
Responding quickly to this information, we have asked all associates to leave the site on May 8th so that a viral deep clean of the office could be completed. Impacted clients were informed of this incident on May 8.
Across all our sites around the globe, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread we responded rapidly to ensure the ongoing health and well-being of our associates, and to limit the impact of the coronavirus on our clients and their customers. This included moving 80% of our total U.S.-based associates to our Sitel at Home solution.
By moving the majority of our associates to Sitel at Home, we have been able to implement strict social distancing policies in addition to our increased cleaning regimen.
We will continue to monitor the pandemic and respond accordingly as the situation unfolds. Sitel Group remains committed to supporting our associates and our clients during this unprecedented time.
We will be welcoming our associates who continue to work at the Sitel Starkville location back to the site on Monday, May 11.
April 1, 2020
[Philippines Business Operations]
On April 1, 2020, Sitel Group learned that an employee of our Pioneer site in Manila, Philippines tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) via self-notification. This is the company’s first positive case in the Philippines. The employee has not been in the site since March 21 after experiencing a fever.
At this point, contact tracing is underway in coordination with the Department of Health. If it is determined that an employee had been in contact with the COVID-19 positive employee, we will require they self-quarantine at home. The production floor where the associate was working has been cordoned off and is undergoing full sanitation. The site’s clinical protocols remain in place and are being strictly followed, including mandatory social distancing, assigned desks and equipment, and continuous disinfection. The health, well-being and safety of our employees is, as always, our priority.
March 31, 2020
[Panama Business Operations]
As we continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are actively working with the authorities to follow the established preventative guidelines. On Friday, March 27, 2020, we decided to close our site to safeguard the health of our associates and follow the instructions of the health agencies.
- We received confirmation that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has not been on site since March 17, 2020. This associate has been in contact with the health agencies and is complying with all the recommended preventative measures while he recovers at home. At this time, this is the only confirmed case.
- Three weeks ago, we began transitioning our operations to our work from home solution to support the well-being of our associates.
- We are implementing a rigorous disinfection and sanitization process of our facilities, through fumigation and deep clean procedures.
- Likewise, we have taken all pertinent measures in regards to older adults and high-risk personnel.
As a global company, we are committed to safeguarding the health of our associates and the general public. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are taking the necessary measures. We will continue to provide updates and information through here as needed.
Panamá, 31 marzo de 2020.
Ante la crisis por el COVID-19, hemos estado en coordinación permanente con las autoridades para seguir con rigurosidad las indicaciones de prevención establecidas. El día viernes 27 de marzo de 2020, la empresa tomó la decisión de cerrar las instalaciones para poder salvaguardar la salud de nuestros colaboradores y seguir con las indicaciones de las instituciones pertinentes.
- Como empresa responsable con nuestros asociados y la comunidad en general, les informamos que recibimos la confirmación que uno de nuestros colaboradores resultó positivo por COVID-19; cabe mencionar que la persona se encontraba en su casa desde el día 17 de Marzo de 2020. Actualmente, el asociado continúa en recuperación en contacto con las autoridades de salud y cumpliendo con las medidas de prevención establecidas. Hasta el momento, este es el único caso confirmed.
- Desde hace 3 semanas iniciamos la transición de nuestras operaciones hacia teletrabajo para garantizar la salud y los empleos de nuestros collaborators.
- Paralelamente, estamos llevando a cabo un proceso de desinfección y esterilización de nuestras instalaciones a través de: fumigaciones, limpieza profunda y demás medidas higiénicas y sanitarias.
- De igual manera, hemos tomado las medidas pertinentes en referente a adultos mayores y personal con alto riesgo.
Como empresa Global estamos comprometidos de manera beligerante para salvaguardar la salud de nuestros asociados, aliados y público en general, de esta manera estamos monitoreando constantemente la situación y tomando las medidas necesarias. De ser conveniente, estaremos comunicando mayor información por este medio.
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. Our sites are following strict 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.
We can confirm that our sites in the UK are supporting the NHS providing non-clinical advice. All staff engaged in supporting the NHS have been issued with “Key Worker” status enabling them to continue to provide support from within the site subject to adherence with the social distancing measures implemented.
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.