My marketing folks have suggested that I do a blog series on the use of outsourced office staffing, including: What are the Benefits? What problems are solved? And how to work with Virtual Staff.
So let’s start with the benefits of outsourcing your routine office tasks. First, though, let me be clear that outsourcing is NOT for every business owner. Here are some things to consider – As a business owner:
1. Are you comfortable with providing guidelines, expectations and time frames, and then allowing your staff to take the responsibility to accomplish your goals? If you are, then outsourcing will come natural to you. However, if you are a micro-manager, or someone who really needs the security of actually watching your staff do the work and overseeing every step, then outsourcing will very likely be difficult for you.
2. Are you in a very busy environment where you routinely expect your staff to drop what they are doing to deal with emergencies? If that’s the case, then it’s unlikely an off-site team will be as immediately responsive as those who are on-site. Emergencies can be handled with a virtual team, but to be most effective, they need to be the exception and not the rule.
3. Is your business profitable enough to support the financial demands of having on-site staff? If so, then you probably don’t need off-site support. With employees, you’ll be paying for downtime such as bathroom breaks, mandatory coffee breaks, water cooler chats, employees posting in Facebook, or even posting their resumes on LinkedIn, and all sorts of other non-productive time. (Studies have shown that even good office workers have about 30-40% of non-productive time that they are routinely paid for). If you cannot justify these costs, then outsourcing is something to seriously consider.
If you’ve reviewed the above and feel that outsourcing your front and back office support is something that makes sense, here are some of the benefits:
1. IT’S COST EFFECTIVE: Although the hourly rate charged by virtual staff will likely be higher than what you would expect to pay in-house, the fact that you’re only paying for actual services provided will assuredly result in significantly lower costs. Most virtual staffing agencies operate on economies of scale, with specialized and focused involvement. In addition, there are no employment taxes, health insurance or other benefits, and no liability regarding unemployment or hiring/firing practices.
2. IT’S EASY TO USE: Those of you who have had employees know very well that there are always issues to be dealt with: Personal problems, performance issues and absenteeism, replacing staff during vacation times, egos and hurt feelings, etc. That doesn’t include the potential for lawsuits related to discrimination, hiring/firing practices, maintaining an Employee Policy Manual that is updated to reflect the ever changing federal, state and local employment laws, etc. The beauty of this is that once you outsource your office tasks to a virtual staffing agency, you no longer have these responsibilities – it will be up to the agency to manage all aspects of employee relations.
3. ACCOUNTABILTY: In most cases, employees develop a sense of ‘entitlement.’ That is, that they’ll be ok as long as they meet minimum requirements. Since outsourced services rely on continued engagement, they will make every effort to assure your satisfaction.
In the next blog, I’ll address the types of problems that are solved by outsourcing. In the meantime, why not spend a few moments to take a quiz to see if outsourcing your office tasks is something you should consider (quiz is on the right sidebar, titled “Too Many Tasks on Your To Do List?”)
And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at 877-369-0066