In the wake of COVID-19, many business leaders are wondering how to be more prepared for a similar situation in the future. By relying less on systems that require in-person activity, many companies are untethering themselves from the office and creating more adaptable work flows.
Some businesses that have gone fully or partially remote are intrigued by how working from home has impacted their bottom line. According to several studies conducted both before and after COVID, remote work boosts productivity – in one study, by as much as 47%. Several months into their new work-from-home routine, many leaders are wondering if they should make the switch permanent.
Transitioning to a Remote Workforce
Among the benefits of remote work are a lower overhead for companies, more comfort for employees, a lower environmental footprint, and a greater talent pool to choose from. But with such an abrupt transition, many companies are struggling to manage all the details that come with transitioning to a remote workforce.
It’s important for companies to first determine which roles can realistically be done from a remote setting. For a software company, it may be the entire workforce. For a retail company, it may mean opening an e-commerce store but still having brick-and-mortar employees at the same time. Each company’s needs and capabilities will be different, which is why it’s important for businesses to transition according to their unique business model.
Leaders need to be communicating clearly with their teams to know what they need to do their jobs well. Similarly, leaders need to share concrete guidelines so employees know what’s expected of them. Creating a new work-from-home protocol will ensure any misunderstandings are averted. Digital platforms that track metrics and define deadlines are what many companies are now using. Tools like Slack, Zoom, Cisco, and Microsoft Teams have skyrocketed since the beginning of COVID.
Despite the initial challenges, transitioning fully or partially to a remote workforce is likely to reduce operational costs, streamline productivity, and retain top talent for most companies. With the right blend of elements (a talented team, a strong leader, the right tools and technology, and a solid HR strategy), any company can reap the benefits of going digital.
A Gallup poll revealed how remote work naturally lifts employee engagement rates:
“The optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60% to 80% of their time working off-site. Those who work remotely 60% to 80% of the time were most likely to strongly agree that their engagement needs are being met.”
The financial benefit of this finding is huge. Gallop estimated that if a 500-person company that transitioned its team to remote work boosted productivity by just 5%, it would equate to $3,000 saved per employee. As many work-from-home studies suggest higher productivity boosts, this could easily equate to annual savings in the millions – and for companies that outsource, it’s even higher.
The Role of HR & Outsourcing
COVID quickly revealed the importance of being able to perform mission-critical business functions remotely. Fortunately, vetting candidates, interviewing, and even onboarding and monitoring employees can all be done remotely, making HR management one of the most adaptable business functions.
While outsourcing used to mean more unpredictability and less control over your workforce, this is no longer the case. Technology now allows companies to closely track their remote workers and communicate with them, ensuring they’re happy, engaged, and producing their best work. Even security concerns around outsourcing IT have waned as IT professionals now take more steps to mitigate the risk of a security breach.
As more businesses embrace a virtual workforce, outsourcing has become an increasingly popular option – and an avenue for even bigger savings. More businesses are outsourcing every year, saving thousands of dollars on equally-skilled workers in lower-cost regions of the world.
From IT professionals to customer service reps, designers, accountants, executive assistants, and developers, US businesses no longer need to settle for the small talent pool in their local area. They can instead vet professionals from around the globe to find just the right person with the right experience and work ethic.
Deloitte highlighted the top reasons companies chose to outsource:
- 59% – Reduce or control costs
- 57% – Focus on core business functions
- 47% – Solve capacity issues
- 31% – Improve service quality
- 28% – Gain access to expert talent and knowledge
- 17% – Manage business environments
- 17% – Drive organizational change
Outsourcing was reported to increase the quality of products and services, lower delivery costs, enhance the user experience, and even raise client revenue growth.
By 2025, 50% of the workforce is expected to be freelance, and remote workers may make up as much as 75% of the working population. As more individuals transition to remote, freelance, and contract work, outsourcing provides a reliable avenue for leaders to access the talent they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.