Daily Management Review

Business Service Firms Of Central Europe See Opportunity In The Virus Pandemic


Business Service Firms Of Central Europe See Opportunity In The Virus Pandemic
A number of companies in Central Europe that offer remote, lower-cost services for multinationals are trying to transform the economic calamity because of the coronavirus pandemic into an opportunity as a new business order of remote working kicks in. Covid-19 - the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has forced companies to find out ways to allow employees to work from home and remotely because of the stay at home orders imposed by various governments across the world to contain the spread of the pandemic.
These companies that are situated from Prague and Warsaw to Bucharest, outsourced or offshored business services such as software development, administration, payroll handling and research services have been provided to big European and American customers and how they are trying to expand globally.
“In a time of crisis, more business is shifting here,” said Roman Pavlousek, who runs a finance service centre for global industrial manufacturer Atlas Copco in the Czech city of Brno, in an interview to Reuters. “This is happening.”
This is reflected in the hiring spree in these companies. For example, even during the pandemic, hiring has been continued by more than 90% of business services companies in the Czech Republic. According to a survey by the Czech branch of the Association of Business Services Leaders trade body, 12% of those companies have won extra work from companies in the Asia-Pacific region.
Even though the costs of similar services offered by companies in Asia are lower, the advantage of firms in Central and Eastern Europe is that they are closer to the geography and time-zone to companies in Western Europe and North America. Further, these companies also have a large pool of multi-lingual workers, according to a report from Reuters.
A range of large companies from various fields such as Air France-KLM’s BlueLink International to Exxon Mobil have given business for forms form this region. These companies also claim to have expertise in tech fields such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence which are the areas where the large companies are seeking to expand into. 
The “For Hire” sign have been retained by business services companies to sign in new employees in Poland which is fast emerging and Europe’s biggest economy.
The crisis had not slowed its growth plans, said Iwona Dudzinska, managing director at Citibank Europe’s service centre in Poland. “We are hiring around 100 people every month and conducting recruitment online,” she told Reuters.
Romek Lubaczewski, a partner at PwC, who predicted a short-term bump in the road for the sector, said that the business services sector across Central and Eastern Europe has expanded almost zero into employing nearly 750,000 workers across Central and Eastern Europe within a period of just 25 years. That expansion rate is still continuing.
“It is all about timing,” he added. “This crisis has shown that more things can be done remotely and this will benefit the region in the medium to longer term.”