As the coronavirus remains a threat, many businesses are struggling with how to keep their employees safe while adapting to the new norm. Many business leaders have seen the advantages of outsourcing–both to help their remote workers and those who are returning to the office–stay connected and productive despite the distractions of companies in transition.
Since the 1980s, open floor plans have been popular as a way to lower real estate costs and reduce divisions within teams. By 2017, 7 in 10 offices had this design, which today could potentially worsen the spread of the coronavirus. Some solutions used by companies include: bringing clients into low-traffic areas to minimize their contact with people when in the office, having meetings only partially in-person with a max of four people in the office on the call and the rest on video conference, minimizing elevator use to only two people at a time, or having employees use the office on alternating days so only a third of the workforce is there at once. However, these are only short-term solutions.
While planning for the long-term, many business leaders are incorporating business process outsourcing into their business continuity strategy because it not only helps remedy maximizing their office space, but also optimizes resources, offers flexibility, and could improve customer service. They see how the benefits of outsourcing can solve many of the problems they are facing now and how it can help them grow in the future. Here are some examples:
Reallocate your mailroom to open up more space for social distancing
Even before the coronavirus, processing incoming mail was inefficient, taking too long for documents to get from the mailroom floor to the employees who needed to review, approve, and then process communications. At the start of the coronavirus, many companies had to shut down their mailrooms as offices closed, which completely halted operations. By outsourcing your digital mailroom, you could not only ensure that incoming mail can still be received and distributed electronically for processing whether your office is open or closed, but it also frees up the physical space of the mailroom.
Using this method, you can reallocate the physical space of your former mailroom, for example, putting desks in there to more adequately social distance your workforce to increase safety within the office. It also reduces the risk of the coronavirus spreading through paper documents touched by mail carriers, mailroom staff, and other employees. Instead, these documents are now digital and can be shared hands-free through the cloud to both your in-office and remote staff. As a response to increased demand for digital mailroom solutions during COVID-19, MetaSource has also designed a quickstart mailroom specifically designed with the current pandemic in mind.
Outsourcing your scanning and data entry can help you maximize your office space
Having a scanner or printer within the office creates a place where germs could potentially congregate through its use by multiple employees. These huge machines also take up space that could be repurposed to follow social distancing guidelines. Outsourcing the scanning and processing of your documents allows them to be digitized quicker and makes them more easily accessible for all of your employees, whether working from home or in the office. Outsourcing data entry is also more cost-effective as your employees can spend more of their time on business-critical tasks instead of on manual work and you can reduce the space needed in-office for data entry personnel.
A study by The Association for Intelligent Information Management found that 46% of companies saw an ROI to their scanning and capture investments within only a year. Of those surveyed, those who outsourced their scanning said the biggest benefits were no staff management overhead, a reduction in cost per scan, and capacity management (more ability to adjust to seasonal shifts in work load requirements). When choosing an outsourced scanning company, make sure to choose a partner that is SOC 2 Type 2 certified, which is a third-party verification that the outsourcing service provider has procedures in place to keep your documents secure.
Store files in the cloud instead of at the office
If you add up the file and storage cabinets across your entire workspace, that’s a significant amount of square footage that could be repurposed to increase space for employees and/* follow social distancing guidelines. However, paying for storage units offsite makes it more difficult for your employees to access these files.
As an alternative, scanning and storing these documents on cloud software not only frees up this space and is more affordable, but also makes it easier for your employees to quickly access these files. In fact, the CFO of a leading medical insurance company stated: “Prior to the coronavirus, we brought on MetaSource to help us digitize our files. If we hadn’t, we would have had to completely stop our business due to the coronavirus shutdown, unable to process incoming invoices.” With files accessible within seconds from the cloud, your team can also more quickly respond to customers, improving customer service.
Outsource some tasks to better maximize space
As you look at your workforce and consider who will return to the office, consider outsourcing accounts payable processing or using workflow automation software to reduce the time it takes your back office team to complete their tasks. This could help you utilize the same space, while limiting the time your workforce needs to be at the office.
Regardless of if your entire workforce is returning to the office or only some, the advantages of outsourcing are clear. Business process outsourcing not only reduces the floor space needed for staff, but also helps you save money and time. This is particularly important in today’s tough economy, where many companies are reducing their business expenses, while trying to maximize office space to meet social distancing guidelines. Leveraging BPO also makes it easier for your employees to access important files no matter where they are working and helps ensure business continuity by providing flexibility. If you’d like to learn more about the available outsourcing services, speak with one of our specialists by calling (888) 634-7684.