Many outsourcing firms switched to remote work during the pandemic to maintain social distancing, minimize employee health risks, and conduct business as usual.
It helped employees achieve better work life balance and employers benefitted from reduced operational costs and increased access to a global talent pool.
But can the outsourcing industry maintain employee productivity and client service quality while working remotely?
In this article, we’ll discuss six ways the outsourcing industry can successfully transition to remote work and three challenges they may face in this process.
Additionally, we’ll highlight how Time Doctor has helped two companies monitor their remote workforce effectively.
Table of Contents
- 6 Effective Ways Outsourcing Companies Can Transition to Remote Work
- 3 Common Challenges of Transitioning to Remote Work For Outsourcing Companies
- How Time Doctor Helps Outsourcing Companies Transition to Remote Work
Let’s get started.
6 Effective Ways Outsourcing Companies Can Transition to Remote Work
According to a global survey conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 72% of office employees claim they’re well-equipped to efficiently work from home.
So instead of resisting the idea, organizations are encouraging remote work while taking steps to maintain consistent employee productivity and business profitability.
Here are some practical measures followed by the outsourcing industry while transitioning to remote work:
1. Preparing a Remote Work Policy
Switching to remote work is a tricky process that needs clear protocols and careful planning.
Outsourcing companies should draft a comprehensive remote work policy to communicate specific organizational changes. It’ll allow both employees and clients to stay on the same page and know what to expect going forward.
The remote work policy should specify employee working hours, communication tool, and metrics for measuring productivity.
If you want to set up a hybrid team, you’ll need to share clear guidelines on who will be working from the office full-time and who will be working from home.
You’ll need to assess what resources employees require to work from home effectively and what practices can help you efficiently manage the remote workforce.
Ultimately, the work policy should help your remote team fulfill required tasks on a given workday, streamline the internal workflow, and foster effective teamwork.
Check out this article to learn what your remote work policy template should include.
2. Managing Employee Expectations
Some remote employees feel they’re expected to be available for task communication 24/7. While others believe that they can log in for fewer working hours than they’d while working from the office space.
So before moving your work to a remote environment, you’ll need to clarify, communicate, and manage employee expectations.
Further, you’ll need to address any changes in the employees’ monthly transport allowance as they’re no longer required to travel to the workspace daily. Based on your company’s team size and profit margin, you can either do away with the travel stipend or invest the amount in helping employees set up their home office.
While many employees can pay for their WiFi and laptop, employers should ideally pay for any software indispensable to the business’s smooth functioning.
For example, HR outsourcing firms typically use cloud-based HR software, Human Resources Management System (HRMS), and Employee Self Service Systems (ESS). For proper employee management and client retention, companies should provide their employees with paid access to such tools.
Most importantly, you should reward your top-performing employees. It can boost the motivation of your remote team and give them a sense of belonging to your organization.
3. Incorporating Remote Collaboration Tools
The 2022 Statista report reveals that 79% of office employees used collaboration tools for telecommuting in 2021.
Collaboration and communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., are essential for discussing tasks, sharing direct reports, and bringing the virtual team together. The tools you choose should be user-friendly, integrate with other tools that you currently use, and guarantee maximum data security.
Here are a few collaboration tools that outsourcing firms should consider investing in:
- Project management software: It acts like a communication hub where you can plan, budget, and manage projects for multiple clients or even execute task automation processes.
- Video conferencing software: It allows you to get on an instant video call with any team member or schedule a virtual meeting with an external stakeholder. So even if you’re an outsourcing company based out of the Philippines, you can get in touch with your San Francisco clients in a matter of minutes.
- Time tracking software: It lets you record your employees’ working hours, track attendance, and assess productivity levels. Moreover, if you use a feature-rich time tracking tool like Time Doctor, you can access valuable insights on employee performance. In fact, an outsourcing company in Asia used Time Doctor to gather information about their agents’ productivity. They learned that there was a 56% decrease in unproductive time when working remotely compared to working in a traditional office.
- Remote access software: It helps the IT person access computers remotely to provide technical support for troubleshooting or updating systems.
4. Conducting Frequent Virtual Activities
Outsourcing companies functioning remotely should organize frequent virtual team meetings to check on their employees’ wellbeing.
The human resources team should encourage everyone to participate in team building activities as a means to de-stress and avoid employee burnout. This way, employees are less likely to miss the energetic office environment from times before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
It allows your virtual team to bond with their colleagues and lays the groundwork for effective teamwork. Virtual team sessions encourage employees to contribute more and collaborate easily, especially if you have a new person on board.
You can also organize webinars addressing the dangers of overworking and the importance of unplugging from work to maintain a healthy work life balance. These exercises help you create a positive company culture that prioritizes the mental health of their remote workforce.
Want to improve employee engagement?
Here’s how you can make virtual meetings more fun and interactive.
5. Addressing Employee Concerns Proactively
As their leader, you should help your team navigate the remote work transition. Share informational webinars, training modules, and work from home best practices that enable them to deliver quality work.
You can even schedule a daily check-in with every team member. Encourage them to voice their concerns or any challenges they may be facing with the workload.
This way, you can identify bottlenecks early on and prevent work disruption. It will also give you a broad perspective on how the workflow can be made more efficient.
Go beyond assigning tasks and support them with the right tool and resources for better, faster services.
For instance, call center outsourcing firms can implement CTI (computer-telephony integration) pop-ups to improve service efficiency. It integrates phone systems in the call centers with customer relationship management (CRM) applications.
So any time a customer calls, the CTI pop-ups give agents better context about the customer by displaying previous interactions through the browser.
Ideally, you should research and choose tools that can support all your employees, regardless of where they’re working from.
6. Establishing a Standard Work Schedule
Outsourcing companies need to recognize the importance of defining work schedules and availability hours. It helps their clients understand when they can reach out for support and urgent needs.
Moreover, a well-defined work schedule is critical to keeping the distributed team connected and productive.
Many Indian outsourcing firms offer to work almost the same office hours as their clients located in faraway time zones such as Europe, Australia, and North America.
However, if the employees working remotely do not follow proper work schedules and are unavailable during your client’s peak business hours, it may lead to revenue loss. Additionally, your outsourcing firm’s reputation can suffer damage and risk losing high-end clients.
So you need to step in, create daily routines and work structures that help remote employees achieve their daily targets.
Helping employees set a working schedule that mirrors what they had before they switched to remote work is a great way to maintain consistent business performance.
Next, we’ll discover the drawbacks of working in a remote environment in the outsourcing industry.
3 Common Challenges of Transitioning to Remote Work For Outsourcing Companies
Here are three disadvantages of the remote working model for the outsourcing industry:
1. Cybersecurity Risks
Accenture’s State of Cybersecurity Resilience 2021 report indicates that cyberattacks have increased 31% from 2020 to 2021 during the pandemic.
Organizations are more vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches in a remote work environment than in a traditional office setup. Without company-wide security protections like firewalls and blacklisted IP addresses, it is difficult to ensure the safe transfer of confidential client data.
Since your remote employee relies on home networks and personal devices for virtual work, you cannot always be sure how well-protected their home office is.
This makes clients in customer support, banking, finance, healthcare, e-commerce, etc. sectors hesitant to work with remote outsourcing companies.
However, the remote team can invest in a virtual private network (VPN) service provider. A VPN gives your team a secure and encrypted connection, so you or your clients don’t have to worry about any sensitive data being leaked or accessed through illegal means.
2. Lack of Quality Assurance
Monitoring the work of a distributed team based out of different locations can be tough.
Let’s take the case of a call center outsourcing company. Unlike traditional office space, managers in a remote setting cannot mentor any team member through quality assurance (QA) tools like call whispering and call barging.
This may lower the work quality, affect the morale of your employees, and bring down your company’s revenue in the long run.
To avoid this, you can check-in with your remote workers regularly on specific tasks. It will help you evaluate their work and ensure they’re on the right track.
Want to provide exceptional customer service?
3. High Attrition Rate
Attracting and retaining top talent in a remote working setup has become a pressing issue in the outsourcing industry.
As employees in a remote job may not always feel connected with the team or be able to visualize their future in the present organization.
In fact, the 2022 Gartner Press Release states that the U.S. worker attrition rate is likely to jump nearly 20% this year.
So outsourcing firms can implement steps to improve employee engagement, encourage open communication, and build a strong company culture. For instance, the HR can mandate a virtual meeting every time a new remote employee joins to make the onboarding experience more welcoming.
This can improve your retention rate, motivating your remote employees to stick around and explore growth opportunities in your organization.
It’s pretty clear that outsourcing companies need to invest in the right tool and technology for successful project management and team building.
Now let’s explore how Time Doctor can help you smoothly handle the remote work transition and maintain employee productivity at its peak.
How Time Doctor Helps Outsourcing Companies Transition to Remote Work
Here are two examples demonstrating Time Doctor’s role in helping outsourcing firms manage their remote employees.
Client profile: A Madagascar-based company offering contact center solutions and omnichannel expertise in Customer Relationship Management and Business Process Outsourcing.
- To monitor employee productivity and empower remote employees with a tool that helps them prove their accountability.
- To maintain work transparency and access insights that show client tasks are being completed on time.
The Time Doctor Solution:
- Managers were able to track employee work hours, derive insights, and assess accurately if remote work benefits the company.
- They could view real-time screenshots of employees’ monitors to understand which client tasks employees are working on.
- They received workday insights and reports that helped track employee availability and led to fair workload distribution. This resulted in a 30% increase in overall productivity.
- Eufonie’s clients could see the agent’s daily task list through the Client Login Access Feature.
Overall Impression: 95% of Eufonie’s employees agreed they’re happy to continue working remotely while using Time Doctor.
Client profile: A company based in the Philippines, providing offshore healthcare staffing solutions and services
- To provide their clients with comprehensive data about the offshore teams’ work efficiency and total output.
- To find the most affordable technology that would enable effective monitoring of virtual assistants and also create a secure remote working environment.
- To find a solution that positively impacted their client’s business productivity and revenue.
The Time Doctor Solution:
- Time Doctor was the perfect fit due to its brand recognition and popularity in the BPO space.
- Managers could view and share productivity reports with the clients, indicating that the virtual healthcare assistants perform their roles efficiently.
- They could use web and app usage reports to monitor employee time spent on different apps.
- They could accurately bill clients and streamline employee payments through Time Doctor’s accurate reporting and time tracking data.
Overall Impression: Helped the company acquire new customers and retain high-end clients through accurate reporting of the work done by remote employees.
It’s no secret that remote work offers perks like reduced overhead costs, access to a larger talent pool, fewer employee absences, etc. However, outsourcing companies need to monitor productivity and ensure that the service quality isn’t compromised.
The success of an outsourcing company is determined by its metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). If you’re willing to transition to a remote work setup, ask every office worker to track their time for greater accountability and transparency.
To this end, your organization can use Time Doctor to track employee efficiency and excel at remote work management! It will also help you analyze which employees need more support in a remote working environment.
To get started, why not sign up for Time Doctor’s 14-day free trial to make your transition to remote work a big success?
Lauren Soucy is the VP of Marketing for Time Doctor, the world’s leading time tracking and productivity software. She has 15+ years of experience in marketing at fast-paced companies. Her first passion is SEO, she can’t start her day without coffee, and she enjoys spending time at the beach with her two boys and her husband.