Outsourcing prior to the 2020 pandemic was predominantly used for surge demand when companies needed a lot of redundant workloads to be processed or when there was a temporary project that needing scaling up and then back down again a few months later. While there was usage for professional outsourcing here and there, the general attitude remained that anything important needed to be handled in-house by direct employees. Then the pandemic arrived, pushing everyone out of the office and blurring the line between what could be done remotely by a payroll employee versus that done by an outsourced labor resource. Many myths were shattered as well about what could be pushed to the remote.
Fast-forward to 2023, Was Real Outsourcing a Blip?
Companies large and small now are at a crossroads. The pandemic has pushed many to realize not only can a lot of work be handled remotely and with the same or even better productivity, but a good amount of “traditional” in-house work can be handled by distance as well. This has redefined the paradigm of what an outsourcing resource can provide. Even more interesting, the option of relying on outsourcing from resources that can continue to work in different timezones gained a lot of exploration as company managers pushed remote use as far as possible, given the green light to do so. Now, with a significant push of regular employees back to the office, many organizations are candidly evaluating what should be retained with outsourcing versus brought back to the office with core employee staff.
Views Vary by Industry
The tech industry, for example, is no stranger to outsourcing. Most of the big companies run their project operations 24/7, with a significant portion of labor resources being outsourced to both domestic and international support. So, the primary impact of the pandemic was really on the remote capability of core employee staff, which, as it turns out, management mostly wants back in the office now.
However, other industries like logistics, entertainment, utilities, communications, medicine, accounting, retail, government, and more have retained their outsourcing resources and continue to rely on them. This is due to the fact that outsourcing has provided and continues to deliver serious benefits for these organizations that they didn’t take full advantage of before.
Shifting the Paradigm
Before, much of the discussion about third-party support has been about whether it could replace payroll services. What companies are realizing today, thanks to the pandemic experience, involves how much they can bring in qualified support in professional roles for augmented performance and results. That includes fast scaling up to match market demands, expertise in foreign markets not possible with domestic staff, professional skills in technical areas a company isn’t using as a core service but needs, and, of course, the ability to scale up quickly for time-limited projects as well. More importantly, the tools now available and experience with remote management have made what the tech industry enjoyed now available and practical for other industries as well.
Today’s outsourcing has opened up round-the-clock markets that pay for themselves with new growth and new income channels previously not even tapped due to a domestic clock pattern. Both temporary in-person and remote outsourced personnel have also been able to help train up core payroll staff with the most recent standards, best practices and performance strategies due to real-time exposure and working side-by-side on projects. That in turn, has paid dividends, with core staff now training up based on new ideas and influence. Finally, management has realized how far more nimble organizations can be partnered with outsourced resources versus working in performance conflict with them to justify existence. This shift in thinking now produces the ability to grow rapidly, which is what business health fundamentally needs.