For a long time outsourcing was a dirty word in business. The employees usually associate it with offshoring –moving processes to low-cost markets overseas. It was considered to be anti-labor move, but recently public opinion has begun to shift on the issue. There have been numerous initiatives and organizations dedicated to promoting the benefits of moving certain jobs to neighboring countries. At the same time the reasons companies use outsourcing has also changed
, because the markets have as well.
What is it?
Outsourcing means obtaining goods or services (labor is a service) from an outside suppliers or to contract work out instead of getting it done by own employees. Subcategory of outsour
cing which has become popular in recent year is known as nearshoring. With nearshoring employees come from neighboring countries – which makes cooperating much easier and more smooth.
Outsourcing is happening in almost every industry but it’s most effective in software development and other IT industries because most jobs in those fields can be done remotely using virtual tools.
What are the benefits?
Most important benefit of outsourcing is reducing costs. Finding and maintain an office space is expensive and is not particularly suited for running a modern company. Other expenses (such as electricity or internet access) are not needed in virtual office.
Also outsourcing helps companies find the employees from more diverse group. Knowledges and skills required for it jobs are now available all over the world and companies can choose for talented people on an open market.
When it comes to outsourcing to neighboring countries the benefits multiply. Similar (or the same) time zone allows virtual offices to run as smoothly as the real ones. Also cultural and linguistic similarities are good for office moral – and it’s an assurance that the employees understand specific regional industries better than offshore workers could.
There are also advantages for the employees themselves. Remote offices don’t require commute to work, which means more free time. Also work in these companies is usually evaluated by the quality of work, and not the time put in. Basically employees get to choose for themselves, when they want to work- allowing them to focus on their personal lives, hobbies and interests.
Managing crisis situations is easier in a remote environment as well – assembling a team at the office takes time and usually can’t be done on a short notice. Virtual offices don’t have this problem, because every employee is as far from the office as their computer is.
How to make it work?
Making the change from a real office to a virtual one can be a challenge. Most important thing is setting the ground rules from the start. Virtual office should have regular meetings at least once a week, using Skype or some similar service. Also, and this is especially the case with nearshoring- coworkers should try to get together IRL at least once a year. Not to work, but to get to know each other on a more personal level.
With everything else – technology is a huge help. There are apps designed to make things easier in almost every aspect of office work. Files can be shared instantaneously, task can be assigned and followed until completion, communicating is made simple and can be divided by topic, team or task.
Outsourcing has had a bad reputation for a while now, but it’s a useful tool in a global economy, and benefits from creating remote co-working teams can be felt by both companies and employees. Adjusting to this new way of work can take time, but with using the right tools, remote offices can be the source of more job satisfaction.