The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has challenged and transformed our way of working. With quarantine and lockdown protocols restricting our movements, companies have had to find ways to continue operating without risking their employees' health while keeping the business on a solid footing. A concept that many organizations have embraced is the so-called ‘working together apart’ dynamic – an arrangement that allows for increased efficiency while still maintaining safety standards in various locations with different teams running independently on separate schedules.
Research from Stanford University states that in the wake of Covid-19, 42% of employees in the US are now working from home full-time, and indications are that this trend will continue to expand post-pandemic. The remote work phenomenon is not new, however. As early as 2018, researchers found that more than half (53%) of managers were already embracing the distributed workforce, and for good reason.
The ‘working together apart’ concept offers a number of benefits to companies that implement them. These range from reducing expenses and improving employee performance to getting access to employees with specific skill sets.
In this post, we will flash out these benefits and outline how business process outsourcing (BPO) can help you build your distributed team and leverage what it has to offer.
1. Reduced Operating Overheads
Reduce overheads, cut overheads, limit overheads. It’s a cry that rings throughout any business, be it the smallest of start-ups or the largest of corporations. With expenses varying from company to company and industry to industry, a small office will most likely have different overhead cost challenges compared to a large warehousing operation.
If you want to save money and invest in your company’s growth, then a distributed team strategy is the way to go. You can significantly reduce overhead costs (office space rentals, equipment maintenance, replacing furniture, etc. ) if you opt to run your business using this type of organizational structure which has the added benefit of not tying up funds that could be used elsewhere in the company.
Renting a space is an efficient way to reduce costs while still accommodating your clientele and stakeholders and maintaining your levels of professionalism. Keep in mind, though, that if you choose to become a completely distributed team with no headquarters, you’re not entirely free from office-related overheads. While you may not be servicing monthly rental and utility bills, there may be cases where you’ll have to allocate a portion of your budget for employees’ internet connections, laptops, software solutions, and other tools necessary to carry out their tasks.
2. Increased Team Productivity
A conventional office setting may help you control your employees’ work environment and build team camaraderie. It does have its flaws, however. The biggest drawback, perhaps, is that it can become a den of distractions.
We all know there's no shortage of distractions in the office, and according to a poll by Udemy and Toluna, eight in 10 employees report getting distracted by chatty coworkers. In addition, about 70% said they get distracted by office noise such as keyboard clicks, the sound of a photocopy machine, or even just doors being opened and closed. These distractions can make employees more prone to committing errors or even keep them from completing their tasks on time.
If you have a distributed team structure, distractions like these are less likely to occur. With this type of setup, you’ll probably have a group of employees working at the office, some working from home, and perhaps a team based in another state or country. This allows you to keep the size of each group big enough to shoulder the daily workload but small enough that they won’t have idle time and be distracted from work functions.
Distributed teams can often be more productive than co-located units as research shows. Stanford University’s aforementioned study further found that distributed team employees had higher levels of concentration during work hours and took less leave and sick days compared to their office-based counterparts. This translated into accomplishing more work with greater accuracy in a shorter period of time.
3. Access to Top Talents Worldwide
Deploying a distributed team strategy could also positively impact the way you hire. You'll be able to reach out much farther with your job postings and find talent outside the traditional commute to and from your HQ. This opens up possibilities for finding diverse candidates in terms of skill sets as well as experiences that would not have been available locally.
This working apart together dynamic allows teams to come up with unique ideas that could keep you one step ahead of the competition. This is partly because distributed collaboration can improve the global perspective of a team and foster creativity with rich and diverse inputs.
Another important benefit when hiring employees from abroad is that it can make your operations more agile. If you have teams located across the globe, there’s a good chance you can have teams on the clock 24/7. This allows you to address client concerns as quickly as possible and cater to customer needs regardless of their time zone.
How Working With a Business Process Outsourcing Partner Can Help
Assembling a team that can easily accommodate offshore employees is one thing. Finding the right talent abroad is another story. This is where you need the intervention of a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner. Among the many benefits of partnering with a BPO are:
1. Recruitment and assessment
BPO firms often have an existing pool of professionals who are ready to help you with your projects. Partnering with Helpware will enable you to find back office support professionals who specialize in content moderation, data entry, research, order processing, account setup, and annotation.
Should you require more specific expertise, Helpware can handle the recruiting process for you. We are uniquely positioned to source and vet talent in your preferred locations, assess them based on industry standards and your specifications and evaluate whether they’re a good fit for your business.
Outsourcing companies also take care of preparing your distributed employees for work. They have training specialists who will closely coordinate with you to develop a training plan. They can also facilitate the training program and evaluate each employee’s performance metrics before making a final determination. This way, they can ensure (and you are assured) that your distributed team is primed to slot into your operation as seamlessly as possible.
3. Progress Monitoring
Business process outsourcing companies can help you with process improvement through their progress monitoring protocols. They will often assign you a dedicated customer success manager to measure the performance of your distributed team. This way, they can find ways to boost production, improve efficiency, and ultimately increase your bottom line.
4. Better Work-Life Balance for Employees
Distributed work is not just great for your bottom line. It can do wonders for your employees, too.
Studies show that an average person spends 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. Beyond these hours, they will still need to commute to and from the office, leaving them with little to no time to spend with family or friends. So, it’s hardly surprising that 96% of American employees report a need for work flexibility. In fact, a study by Qualtrics has revealed that the flexibility factor has become so important that some employees are willing to take a pay cut for it.
Many companies, becoming increasingly aware of this trend, have taken steps to become employee-centric. One such counter-measure is by shifting to a distributed workplace concept. By implementing this work type of environment, businesses grant their employees the freedom to work where they are most comfortable and in a manner that meets employees’ specific requirements.
For instance, an employee may feel more at ease if they can watch over their kids while they are working. Perhaps an employee may become more productive if they are not exposed to unnecessary stressors encountered in traditional workplaces such as simple distractions or toxic office politics. Perhaps, an employee may feel more engaged with their tasks if they work off-site.
Whatever your employees’ preferences may be, creating a distributed work environment enables them to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Your company can reap benefits too:
- Reduce absenteeism as well as slow down employee turnover
- Prevent burnout which can impact employee productivity and output quality
- Foster a positive mindset among employees, allowing them to function at their best
5. Simplified Business Expansion Process
Growing a business is never easy. Whether you are taking on more clients, introducing a new product, or acquiring another company, the process can be a potential minefield. In addition to filing the necessary paperwork and creating strategies for expansion, you will also have to deal with a laundry list of considerations in terms of budget and workforce.
A study published by Barclaycard echoed this sentiment when they found out that six out of 10 leaders of growing companies report experiencing moments of doubt during a scale-up. Among the challenges that they were most concerned about include preserving the well-being of their current workforce, undertaking a talent search, standing out from their competition, and maintaining their current service standards.
Building a distributed team with the help of a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm can help temper some of these pain points.
Recruiting, hiring, and training new employees
During an expansion, a company’s financial state can be volatile which makes hiring full-time employees risky. By partnering with a business process outsourcing company like Helpware, you can expand your workforce at a pace that works for your budget.
You can start by committing to a small team for a set period of time first and then onboard more team members as needed. An outsourcing firm can take care of the recruitment, hiring, and training process for you and ensure they meet the requirements of your organization, allowing you to focus on other operational areas of your business.
Expanding the office space to accommodate a larger workforce
In a traditional office setting, increasing the number of employees usually leads to the expansion of the workplace. However, leasing a larger space or extending your existing office does not come cheap.
Opting to build a distributed team eliminates this problem as you won’t need them to physically come to your office. Consequently, this allows a business to scale without the need for high overheads and ballooning operating expenses.
Keeping up with customer demands
Expansion is a critical stage in the business cycle that involves plenty of opportunities and pitfalls, of course. One such aspect of growth on which a company treads this tightrope is meeting customer demands.
Attracting more clients is one of the keys to a successful expansion. However, this naturally entails a heavier workload. Building a distributed team can help smooth this process. However, before they can hit the ground running, they need to be trained thoroughly and given time to adjust to their new roles. Given this reality, your existing employees will have to shoulder a bulk of the workload until your new team is ready.
By partnering with a BPO company, you can tap experts who can grasp the job specifications quickly. This allows companies to keep up with customer demands and expectations without compromising quality.
Distributed Teams: The New Normal of Work
The modern workplace has undoubtedly evolved over the past couple of decades. Thanks to the mammoth strides in technology, companies are waving goodbye to office cubicles and blazing a trail of tech-driven collaboration.
This shift from co-located to distributed teams has its share of challenges but the pros outweigh the cons for those who implement it smartly. A distributed work culture allows businesses to reduce hefty operating costs without compromising the quality of their work. In addition, they boost team productivity while fostering work-life balance for their employees. With these benefits, it’s hardly surprising that experts are predicting that distributed teams are here to stay.
To maintain your company’s competitive edge, you will need to build a distributed team that you can rely on and Helpware is your dependable partner that will take care of all your recruitment, training, and monitoring requirements. Call Helpware today and learn how we build customized distributed teams for modern businesses, freeing up valuable time for you to focus on what matters most — leading your business into the future.