Despite numerous technological advances, offshoring still has negative connotations. Some consumers see offshoring as being provided low level services. This often depends on the country offering these services and its reliability in maintaining quality services. Some service providers still use traditional strategies as well. They are more focused on reaching required metrics rather than focusing on the quality of their services.
Considering today’s global situation, these are all legitimate concerns. It’s understandable for people to criticise companies that offshore their business operations. However, most need to recognise that businesses face unseen challenges they may not be aware of or fully understand.
When boiled down to its core, there are four primary reasons why companies choose to offshore. Let’s take a look at them.
Businesses are constantly seeking ways to maintain a stable source of revenue. At the same time, they have to sustain their daily operations to stay competitive. However, as we’ve seen this year, there are unpredictable fluctuations in the economy to consider. To that end, most companies cannot just maintain local costs for certain roles.
That is when offshoring becomes an enticing option for them. Consider for a moment the cost of hiring a local customer service representative. In Australia, their annual salary costs an average of $50,000 a year. Compared to an offshored CSR in the Philippines, their salaries are almost a quarter of this price. This also does not translate into a lowered quality of work. Businesses, therefore, can redirect their resources by reducing some overhead costs. Their local workforce can then focus more on their core competencies, increase productivity, and prioritise revenue-generating tasks.
Earlier, we mentioned the need for businesses to stay competitive. For that to happen, they need to increase efficiency, enhance operations and innovate on delivering quality service. Offshoring allows companies to offer high value services such as 24/7 customer support and provide effective service level tasks with flexible work schedules.
In our interconnected world, businesses of all sizes are competing on a global stage. This means that innovation is becoming a major factor in determining success. The constant demand for efficient, personalised customer service for instance makes it more challenging to stay relevant.
It cannot be argued how alarming unemployment is today. The declining number of available opportunities globally is often why most people disagree with offshoring. However, despite this situation, several industries are struggling with how to overcome the skill shortages.
Through offshoring, companies discovered that they could hire a team of highly qualified staff in countries like the Philippines. They discovered valuable, motivated team members ready to take on functions like back-office tasks often overlooked by local employees.
Companies must innovate on how to have an efficient process flow within their business. It allows them to enhance the quality of their products and services offered. Through modern technology, they now have full control over their offshore team, enabling them to ensure quality standards are reached.
As noted earlier, offshoring back-office tasks is valuable to any company. Keep in mind however the quality of offshored services may vary from each country. Depending on the goals your business aims to achieve, it is best to look at which country can provide you the best team. China, for instance, is king when it comes to production and manufacturing. On the other hand,, offshoring customer service representatives to the Philippines continues to be ideal. The talent and skill that the global workforce offers are irreplaceable. They can be effectively harnessed by companies to reach their long-term goals.
Offshoring, like any other strategy, is not a perfect approach. If not paired with the right partner, it can be prone to abuse and used just for cutting costs. Most of all, offshoring should not be seen as a replacement for your current, local staff. Instead, it should be used to augment your current team for the further growth of your business. That is why this strategy needs to be carefully customised and tailor-fit with the company’s needs without disrupting ongoing operations.
In a previous article, we discussed the importance of managing your mental health during this current pandemic. As the pandemic continues on globally, it can be incredibly difficult at times to remain productive with high output. We also outlined some useful tips that people can use to help them to stay connected with their families and cope with the stresses that have come as a result of the outbreak.
One such approach was the use of video conferencing to stay connected with others. In the last few months, we’ve seen an increase in the use of Skype, Zoom and other related video apps. While their use was already widespread even before the pandemic, more people are seeing just how important they are.
One could certainly say that we are in a global interconnected society. Thanks to emerging technologies and the development of the Internet, it became much easier to interact with people on different platforms. Whether it’s sending an email or leaving a social media message, reaching out to others can be done with ease.
Video conferencing is certainly not a new concept. Ask any business today what their secret to success is, and many will say it’s how they are able to interact with others in real time. Virtual conferences, meetings and webinars are commonplace in today’s business landscape. When you consider the principles behind these meetups, the use of video conferencing was always about staying connected. When also applied outside the business world, it becomes clear how video conferencing can serve as a lifeline for others, especially in this pandemic.
For many people today, video conferencing – and by extension access to the Internet – serves as a lifeline to others. With many social regulations today requiring people to stay indoors, there has been a boom of video conferencing apps for personal use. Their use among the elderly in particular is gaining more traction. As some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19, staying socially distant but connected with their families is now a way of life.
Consider how they’ve been so widely used in the business landscape and what translates to outside of it. Online get-togethers and catch ups are now happening on a regular basis whether it’s among friends or family. The World Health Organization (WHO) even suggested that regularly scheduled video calls are a great boon for those living alone or need to be around other people.
Of course, as with all good things, they should be taken in regulation. With the number of video conferences skyrocketing, experts warn that too much exposure to it can cause burnout. “Zoom Fatigue” can be exhausting and it is best to balance out your activities while also practicing new social guidelines. Staying connected in this pandemic is important, but so is your own personal health.
It’s difficult to say how much longer people will need to lean on video conferencing this much. What’s clear, however, is that evolving technologies are becoming more vital under the new normal that’s to come. People do not need to keep themselves fully isolated during this pandemic. They can just as quickly get online and join others over video conferencing as they continue to navigate through this pandemic together.
No doubt that the retail industry was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The massive shifts in priorities and concerns are indicative of what industries are still managing to get by amidst the transition to the “new normal”. On the other hand, some industries are struggling to stay afloat due to these shifts in consumer behaviour.
The retail industry is one industry that adapted to the quickly shifting landscape brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it also is going through brand new struggles. Consumers may not realize it, but their actions and habits towards retail businesses helped in both the boost and decline of particular areas in the industry. Here are a few insights on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the retail industry.
The retail industry encompasses everything from electronics, groceries, furniture and wellness. We can see which aspects of the industry are managing to get by amidst constrained suppliers and disrupted demand. According to a report from StrategyAnd, the food, grocery and wellness industries saw increased growth during the outbreak. Another report from GrowByData reiterates this, showing a 53% and 48% growth rate within these two industries. This should certainly come as no surprise as more consumers opted to stock up on various essentials during the quarantine period.
At the same time, both reports also show declines in retail industries like apparel, the arts and electronics. As priorities shifted and services only focused on “essential items” during this pandemic, it was apparent they would struggle greatly. Additionally, many brick and mortar stores are feeling the effects of the disrupted demand due to limited reach and supply.
So where does that leave us? As with most things, this outbreak is only temporary and will eventually subside. That means returning to usual operations under what can be called the next normal. While there are still many unknown factors, there are also emerging trends on how consumer behaviour will evolve once this period passes. To recover from it, companies can look at the following approaches.
We mentioned last week that the COVID-19 outbreak revealed vulnerabilities for some companies that affected how they operate. We also talked about how these challenges also brought about new opportunities for them to change and develop as part of what is to come. The retail industry can assess and define what roles, approaches, and functions are more required, especially those that favour modern solutions over antiquated ones.
One of the things we’ve seen during this outbreak period is the importance of contactless, online transactions. Companies that have strong online presence withstood some of the worst parts of this outbreak as a result.
Considering a digital approach for businesses that need it will help them recover from the effects of the outbreak and ensure they are prepared for future retail trends.
More than anything, a digital approach will help businesses become more flexible. As newer technologies translate into better productivity, expect to see more of it in the coming months. Before the outbreak, many businesses were already looking at this approach as part of their overall strategy for 2020 and beyond.
Integrating offshore teams with their local ones, for instance, helped them cover vital roles while also allowing them to explore new opportunities to expand. Though many strategies were put on hold due to the outbreak, allowing for more flexibility in roles and strategies will greatly help with the recovery process.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the global repercussions it brought will define 2020. Throughout this period, we’ve heard that we are experiencing the new normal. Until then, we are already seeing people preparing their business recovery plans to take on the next step. Whether it’s organizational restructuring or adopting new societal norms, some traditional approaches will be changed in favour of modern solutions.
As part of business recovery, companies will certainly be operating on a different capacity than they used to as well. Remember that there is still no clear date when things will be back to what will be considered normal. However, it’s clear that the business landscape will be much different than it was just a few months ago.
Let’s look at some of the things to consider.
Before tackling any form of recovery, it’s best to look at where we are at this moment. All over the world, countries are looking for ways to alleviate the many challenges brought on by the outbreak. Institutions like education are exploring more online options and holding virtual classes for their students. Most operations are not at full capacity as priority is being put into areas such as food and household needs. In terms of businesses, there are continuity plans prioritizing employee safety, with more workforces defaulting towards remote work.
From an operational perspective, it can be challenging to even tackle the next step for many of us will be. However, with the proper focus and resolve, it is a challenge that is worth taking. By being aware of the scale and depth of action required, businesses can formulate what their recovery strategy will be.
Looking at how the outbreak affected different industries, it is clear that many vulnerabilities came to light. At the same time, however, it also revealed brand new opportunities for businesses to improve their output. Companies should decide on their fixed costs and what is more required of them as part of their business recovery.
We’re also seeing opportunities to adapt newer technologies into better productivity. Look for these approaches accelerating in the coming months.
It’s clear that we will see a shift in the preferences and expectations of individuals, whether as citizens, employees, and consumers. Many already embraced the efficiency of contactless transactions during the outbreak and it could very well be the next normal once it passes.
As we’ve seen countless times before, companies that are quick to adapt and change to the current situation are the ones more likely to find long term success. Businesses that emerge from the outbreak with a familiar yet different approach to promoting efficiency and productivity will be the ones to watch. Simply put, rather than stick with previously tried and true means, companies should be aware that the next normal is on the horizon. This means new strategies and initiatives that can help them recover – even grow – their previous customer base amidst a different environment.
We will be discussing some of these effects on specific industries in the coming days. While it is difficult determining the post-outbreak mood, it highlights the importance of being prepared for what’s to come.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employees to work remotely during the quarantine period. While many business leaders are familiar in managing a remote staff, some are encountering different challenges than they usually do. For people who can do their job with just a laptop or computer, it is certainly easier to work remotely. A reliable machine and a stable internet connection mean a growing number of people can work remotely and do their tasks from all across the world.
We asked our management team and offshoring experts who have spent many years working with businesses to set up remote teams in the Philippines for tips on how to make remote work productive and enjoyable for both business owners and their team. Here are a few factors to consider:
Set up real work hours and stay away from social media if possible. Reading negative news on your social media feed can distract you and can even make you feel anxious in doing your tasks. It helps to also have clear breaks and walk around your house every once in a while. Don’t also think that things are different simply because you are at home. Follow your schedule as you would typically do in the office and continue writing a To-Do list for the day. Staying away from your TV, gaming console and even your fridge can help you focus more. Always remember that having the right mindset will always help you get the job done.
Set up your workstation in a comfortable area at home and make it far from your bed or couch. Most of the time, you will need to take a short break, but there is also a chance that you will fall asleep. Feel free to pump up the volume of your favourite music to avoid any distractions.
Setting up a few rules with your family while you are working can also help you keep your focus. If you have kids or siblings living with you, ask them to observe behaviour. (Ask them to wear headphones while watching a movie or keep their voice down when you are in a virtual meeting).
Schedule regular catch-ups with your team using group calls before or after work hours. Ask your team how they are doing during this quarantine period before starting your everyday meetings. Check in if there is any feeling of anxiety or uncertainty among your team members too. Your willingness to listen to your team will help boost their morale and productivity. Mixing a few activities during your weekly meetings will make your team feel more comfortable connecting with you. It also gives something to look forward to every week. It can be a simple Kahoot game or sending funny memes in your group chat. What matters is that you are willing to throw a little fun once in a while.
Working from home can still burn you out and it is important to make a conscious effort to separate work and personal time at home. Do a quick exercise before ending your day and if you have a home office set up, take advantage of being able to walk out of that room and close the door once you finish all the tasks for the day.
Set proper expectations for your work schedule and schedule meetings accordingly so you can enjoy having regular lunch breaks with your family. Avoid responding to emails or messages outside your work hours unless completely necessary so that your colleagues get used to relying on you only during your set schedule. Use the time you usually spend travelling to and from to work on doing exercise routines, reading, learning a new skill or binge-watching your favourite series on Netflix.
Using the right tools will enable your team to become more efficient. As for meetings, we use Skype for messaging and Google Hangouts for larger meetings. If you are looking for an available time to set up a meeting with your team, you can try using “Find a Time” on Google Calendar and choose what time works best for everyone in the group.
On the other hand, when monitoring tasks and productivity, we use our very own MyDiversify staff management tool. This enables us to monitor staff attendance, set up incentives and even manage tasks to individual members of the team.
We hope you and your team are adjusting well as people around the world adapt to this new normal and we are here to help if you need help setting up your own remote team.