We would like to introduce you to two concepts in
which the place of work is being re-defined: Homesourcing and Workports. These
challenge the physical presence of your workforce on your premises and even the
traditional employment relationship. Read on!
Homesourcing. No, not another word
for telecommuting (which is usually restricted to knowledge workers who don't
have front line contact with customers, especially not on a rostered basis),
Homesourcing is a form of outsourcing - to individuals who work their customer
service shifts from their own homes, sometimes even on their own equipment.
Industry analyst firm Gartner predicts that one of every 10 US call centre is
likely to shift at least partly to home-based agents during the next two years,
while researcher IDC estimates there are already 100,000 US agents fielding
customer service calls from home.
And it's not just call centres - airline JetBlue also
uses homesourced employees in the US. 'All of our reservation agents work at
home,' says the founder and chief executive of JetBlue Airways Corp. JetBlue
has 700 reservation agents working from their homes with company-supplied
personal computers and second phone lines."
"To be sure, their wages of $8.50 to $10 an hour are
way above the $2 to $3 a day that call-center operators in India and the
Philippines often earn. But JetBlue believes that homesourcing boosts the
bottom line in other ways. 'With home working you get more mature people who
stay with you," he says. "There isn't constant turnover.'
Workports: Now if you read this and
thought ´any port in a storm═ you aren═t far wrong! Workport job design allows
employees to work in different locations of an organisation to suit their
lifestyle needs - not just for the up and coming and senior excutives, but for
Borders announced last year that they were launching a
corporate "passport" program by which employees could work half the time in a
store in one part of the country and the other half at a different store.
Though there are many reasons as to why this might be attractive, Borders focus
on mature workers who might want to live in a warm climate during the winter
and then in the Northeast during the spring and summer. To help these workers,
Borders was creating a section on its intranet where employees would be able to
sign up to work in different parts of the country. Managers would then pick up
the posting and say 'yes' we can take you for those months.
Several larger call centre solutions providers, and an
increasing number of organisations, are offering call centre roles which are
based in the home, not in a traditional call centre environment. And it is
bound to be only a matter of time before more organisations explore Workports.
Both of these strategies can give the organisation the ability to leverage some
really strong talent pools like parents, semi-retired people and sea-changers.
Is your organisation giving thought to new work design like this? You should