Is Remote Business Process Outsourcing the New Normal in the Post-Covid World?
If there’s a small silver lining to the global pandemic, it’s that at least something this contagious hit in our modern, tech-savvy era. The business world is capable of facilitating remote work more than ever before. We now have easy-to-access technologies like video conferencing, email, chat programs and project management software.
The threat of Covid hasn’t gone anywhere. There’s still the need for social distancing, since we don’t have a vaccine yet. At the same time, with so much outsourcing and remote working, many companies may come to realize how much they can save on overheads.
So is outsourcing the new normal? It might just be! Many businesses operate internationally and stand to save a substantial amount on overhead costs by adapting to home working and outsourcing arrangements. Below we’ll look more in-depth at what remote business process outsourcing is, when to consider it and how it works in multiple languages.
What is Remote Business Process Outsourcing?
Many companies are simply moving their workers to being home-based. Outsourced services work a little differently. What is the meaning of business process outsourcing? It is the contracting of services to a third party that a company would otherwise deliver in-house.
In contrast, remote staffers are still part of the company team. They just happen to be working in a different location, such as from home. With outsourcing, you typically hire a contracting company or an outside vendor to supply a certain service, with agreed targets and timescales.
What is an example of business process outsourcing? Hiring a translation company is one example of using business process outsourding – in this case to handle any translation or localization services that you need completing. This counts as remote business processing outsourcing because:
1. The company handles a direct result, namely the translating and localizing of a certain product, such as a website or an ad campaign.
2. The translators you work with are employed by the translation agency rather than by your company.
3. You are often one of many accounts that the translation agency is keeping track of.
Is outsourcing a role better than using remote employees to fulfill it? Below we’ll explore why one option may work better than the other.
How Using Remote Employees Works
First, let’s look into what goes into creating a cohesive remote working environment. The emphasis here is on company culture, so you often have to facilitate a team environment, even if that environment is from a distance.
The best remote company cultures pull out all the stops when working to foster a feeling of team cohesiveness from a distance. Some of those attempts to keep remote company culture alive include:
Annual company retreats: Some companies have employees meet up at different locations to see each other and socialize face-to-face, sometimes at exotic locations.
Remote culture holiday parties: A company may have remote culture parties, like a video conference Halloween party complete with costumes. Others may keep it more subdued and host video conference lunches for the team to touch base.
Remote company perks: Sometimes a company helps remote employees feel like they have the same company perks as on-site employees. These can include gym membership allowances, coffee house gift cards or childcare allowances.
Using accessible communication tools in an open way: Often, a company uses remote communication tools like chat programs to foster a positive company culture.
Hiring properly for remote culture: A successful team needs the right people to be part of it. If you’re building a remote team, you have to worry about hiring properly from the stance of a long-term team member addition. After all, the cost of replacing a mid-level employee can be up to 150% of their annual salary.
As you can see, remote employees are a long-term part of a functioning and inclusive team environment. This can be a great option if you need an employee to perform a regular role that can’t be outsourced as easily. Examples include knowing the ins-and-outs of a program only your company uses or having sales professionals who are experts in only your product.
When to Consider Remote Business Process Outsourcing
As touched on above, remote process outsourcing works when you need a very specific task completed. You might be surprised what falls under that header. Common duties to outsource include:
- Basic administrative tasks like data entry, which is often completed by a virtual assistant
- Lead generation activity, such as first-line sales calls
- Marketing campaigns, which are often handled by ad agencies
- Translation and localization services
What all these have in common is that they are specific, clearly defined tasks or project-based processes that an outside team can easily perform.
There are also some major benefits to outsourcing over using remote employees:
You’re paying for a worker’s expertise on the direct task they are working on. And because they likely only handle that task, they are doing it with a level of expertise you might not have access to internally.
You do not have to focus on the added resources to keep a larger team cohesive and happy, like conference parties or perks such as gym memberships.
Because you often have one single point of contact for your account, communications can be streamlined and effective.
Outsourcing works particularly well if you work in multiple markets that speak different languages and therefore have to translate and localize your business. Let’s explore why that’s the case.
Why Outsourcing Works Well for Multilingual or International Companies
The modern economy is incredibly globalised, to say the least. Even back in 2002, over 60% of world trade happened in multinational enterprises, and that was before a whole host of enabling technology was widely available.
Outsourcing can work well if you do business in markets that speak other languages. You can easily outsource your translation, transcreation or localization tasks to agencies. These agencies are specialists in making sure your product resonates with the new cultures in which you are launching it.
You can also try outsourcing your work to native speakers of the language you are looking to do business in, as long as they also speak your language. They can help translate, make contacts in the new market and offer insights into working with a new culture.
With its remote nature, multicultural benefits and potential to save on overheads, outsourcing might just be here to stay.