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COVID-19 Impact on Remote Working and will it pave the way for more Software Outsourcing engagements?

Welcome to 2020 where COVID-19 has forced many companies around the world to setup for remote working within a truly short period of time. Early this year many organizations started to setup their teams to be able to WFH (work from home) to make ongoing business operations sustainable for what they expected to be a short period for time, however business leaders soon realized this was going to be a long term need, or at least something that could be coming and going in waves for which quick fix was not going to be viable. Many businesses called upon internal and outsourced IT providers to establish cloud systems and cyber security solutions that would allow them to operate safely within WFH environments, indefinitely. In addition to this companies like Zoom and Slack saw their user bases grow exponentially as businesses scrambled to put together new ways for their now distributed teams to communicate.  Business travel moved online, sales meetings moved online, technology releases run through video platform, even after work drinks and team events have gone digital! Something many of us could have never fathomed.

Technology is of course the main reason that work from home has been possible. Had this pandemic happened several years earlier we may not have been as well equipped globally to handle such an urgent need for distributed teams and the complexities involved with such a thing, and we may have seen many business struggle to maintain successful operations. But, in this day and age we are fortunate enough to have all the tools we need and many software development companies have also risen to the occasion to quickly delivery tools and platforms to assist with our new working world even further.  What follow on effect does this sudden change bring? In this article we will look at the possible effects on software outsourcing.

Future of Remote Work

With this new norm it is believed that “work from home” may be adopted by many companies in future, in some certain sectors it is even believed it will increase productivity. What we also believe it is going to do is push companies more towards globally distributed teams. Whilst this has been something that we have seen plenty of over the years in Software development, with many offshore software projects and of course BPO (business process outsourcing), it is likely going to open the doors to distributed teams across many other departments and sectors. We are going to see a lot more companies hiring in countries where they have no office or presence. In fact, we are already seeing an increase this year in advertising on jobs boards in Australia from US and UK companies and vice versa. As these new ways of working are trialed and tested, we are likely going to see a lot of success and thus it will become common place in the business word.

Is Remote work Going to Stay?

According to many sources the change of corporate culture towards the work from home is going to change the corporate world. Without any doubt remote work is going to stay. According to Gartner’s CFO Survey  74% of companies plan to “Permanently Shift to More Remote Work Post COVID”.  The main reason is cost, with many companies now realizing they can operate remotely and reduce a significant percentage of overheads doing so. Many C levels also did not have confidence that their teams would operate at the same level when working from home, but the pandemic has taught them that for many, their output is better.

Will more businesses more towards outsourcing and cheaper resource solutions?

There has been an obvious shift in the way in which businesses operate in the Covid era, this has included heavy investment to setup fully integrated networks so teams can access all resources on cloud platforms, heavy IT security systems to protect all staff, business material and IP, and of course the introduction of companywide digital communications platforms and policies for dealing with any and all matters.  What this means for many companies, especially companies like software consultancies and software houses, is that they are now in a position where they can take advantage of more economical resources without the risk and limitations they had previously. They are secure and confident in their systems for remote working, and they are ready to onboard anyone digitally in a way which was for many not possible pre covid-19. They are also more open to multiple time zones, with many of their current local employees requesting to continue their WFH in new states or countries now that being in the office is not essential. As the dust of the pandemic settles in the future we will definitely see more companies taking advantage of outsourced teams, and of course not just for economic reasons but also the ability to quickly bring on more people for projects from almost anywhere. No longer will these businesses be confined to long recruitment processes whilst they search for “a needle in a haystack” as far as the skills available to them locally, they will be able to seek out where in the world the best people with the required skills are and secure offshore solutions.

Is Remote Work Going to Reduce Future Cost of Companies?

Whilst there are many cost advantages for companies choosing to adopt work from home as their new norm and continue with remote teams, many surveys have suggested business leaders still intend to keep office space and always have excellent quality work environments available for their employees should they ever want to come to the office to work. The areas where they are likely to save will be better access to lower cost offshore teams and reduced time and cost of recruitment by being able to source team members globally, and reduced business travel expenses, less office perks such as snacks and catering, and somewhat reduced energy bills. There is also of course a great benefit to employees, where they can now reduce their costs of daily commute, with some online articles even sighting a trend towards relocation to rural areas or outer suburbs offering cheaper rents and property prices now that the employees no longer need to travel regularly to a specific office location.