Outsourcing is the act of hiring an external firm to perform tasks that may have previously been handled internally by internal personnel and resources. In other words, a business can hire outsourced contractors to do works that were once performed only by internal employees. The outsourced contractor may be in another country, or it might be someone who resides just down the road. Many firms find that hiring an outsourced contractor to carry out their various services increases productivity, reduces costs, and ensures that contracts are fulfilled to the best of their ability. These benefits are particularly important in the current economy where a growing number of businesses are resorting to layoffs to stay afloat.
However, there are downsides to outsourcing services. One of the most common objections to outsourcing comes from employees, who worry that they’ll lose their jobs if the firm isn’t operating in a time zone that meets their needs. Outsourcing providers may be able to meet the desires of many local business owners, but some people simply don’t like dealing with telecommuting or moving halfway across the world to take advantage of a particular business’s services. Other business owners have trouble with the increased risk of not having enough hours available in a particular time zone. This is another valid objection, but there are ways to minimize the impact on employees, and still offer outsourced services as effectively as possible.
Workers who are native English speakers can be an asset to the process of remote working, particularly if the firm wishes to specialize in certain niches or develop specific applications. The process can also be quite beneficial to workers who enjoy traveling, staying in hostels, or participating in foreign cultures. While these workers may initially have difficulty adapting to working from remote locations, they will probably be relieved to know that such dwelling arrangements do not pose a problem in the short term. After some time, they may start to feel more at home. Offshoring services can keep them up to speed with their environment and provide them with a sense of belonging and connectedness to others within their industry.
One of the major objections to outsourcing comes from companies that wish to maintain the kind of exclusivity that comes with maintaining an in-house talent pool. These companies may prefer to limit the number of workers they choose to hire each year and may refuse to hire anyone considered under the age of twenty-one. There may also be a fear that outsourcing could lead workers to feel resentment if the same skills they have are not being used by other companies in the area, causing them to feel “stuck” in a low paying job. While it may not be possible to prevent insubordination in a remote work environment, companies should carefully consider whether outsourcing would hurt or help the company.
The potential for time differences does arise. For example, companies that outsource web development and other functions can have staff in different time zones while some may only have a few hours of “off-site” time available. Even when a company has staff onsite, the costs of hiring additional people to work during odd hours may still make outsourcing in the short run a cost effective choice. But in the long run, outsourcing for all but the lowest level jobs will save a company a lot of money and man hours.
Ultimately, most companies who are considering any type of outsourced operation need to ask themselves whether they are doing the best job possible and whether they have sufficient executive support and guidance. It is easy to set up a great relationship with an outsourcing provider through open communication. When that relationship is mismanaged, it can be difficult to get the results desired. A successful outsourcing strategy requires a high level of executive support to make sure that everything runs smoothly.