One of the Caribbean's largest business process outsourcing firm (BPO), itelbpo, has designed a COVID-19-ready facility in Jamaica, and will further upgrade its St Lucia location.
The state-of-the-art building will open in Kingston, Jamaica, in June 2021, while itelbpo's facility in St Lucia will be upgraded this month, with a second building and outdoor lunch and wellness centre.
Both facilities are designed and built around the established COVID-19 safety protocols and requirements for the respective countries.
With development presently underway, the 80,000-square-foot structure, located on Molynes Road in Kingston, is the largest of any single itelbpo facility to date. The building has already received special economic zone (SEZ) status and will have the capacity to accommodate all of its existing Kingston-based team plus its growing staff count, the company said in a release.
The new development will adapt to the changing business environment while remaining true to the company's objective of filling 5,000 additional seats in five years.
The outsourcing and shared services sector in Jamaica generates an estimated US$700 million annually while employing over 40,000 people. The resort destination of Montego Bay and the surrounding St James parish has traditionally been the epicentre of BPO activity on the island, but the capital of Kingston, with its larger population and strong pool of university-educated talent, offers expansion opportunities for continued growth of the sector.
“We expanded our Kingston facility over three years ago and began making long-term plans to establish a larger footprint in the capital. After COVID-19 hit, we went back to the drawing board and redesigned the approach to our new facilities, both in Kingston and St Lucia, to meet COVID-19 safety requirements,” said Yoni Epstein, itelbpo's chief executive officer.
“The company has been agile and nimble amidst the COVID-19 crisis and this is just another opportunity for us to stay ahead of the game,” he added.
Epstein further indicated that the locations will include a built-in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, general seating arrangements to allow excess space for social distancing between employees, two feet wide directional walkways so team members and guests will have limited contact, and cubicle partitions will be at a minimum of 36 inches, which is higher than normal.
“Given that we have built it to spec with the COVID-19 virus in mind, we can actually operate onsite at a safe capacity while protecting the health and wellness of our team,” he said.
The building is a Chalmers Commercial development and is a joint venture between Musson (Ja) Limited and Mayberry Investments. This is itelbpo's newest venue following the opening of its sixth location in Vieux Fort, St Lucia, last June, and regional expansion into Canada early last year.