What does the future of offshoring look like? This is a conversation that we in the Gapstars office have been having frequently over the last few months, and that’s why we decided to write this series of blog posts about offshoring. We’re a part of the offshoring community, with a large IT team in Sri Lanka. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking the world by storm, we believe there is a new movement emerging. We explore this new movement in this blog post.
For all of us, the working environment changed in March 2020. Overnight, we found ourselves facing a ‘new normal’. Bedrooms, living rooms and garden rooms all gave way to form office spaces. Zoom, Google Hangouts and Facetime became pivotal in communications. In an instant, the working world changed.
What we witnessed was, in fact, an acceleration in trends. Suddenly, working from home was no longer frowned upon. Location became irrelevant. What mattered was work and getting the job done. The Harvard Business Review’s recent article entitled ‘Our Work-from-Anywhere Future’ (Nov.–Dec. 2020) highlights just this. Work from Anywhere (WFA) revealed one striking find; namely, the freedom that such a setup generates. If we look back to 2015, a study by Nicholas Bloom and co-authors found that when employees opted in to work-from-home (WFH) policies, their productivity increased by 13%. However, five years later, we were still working primarily in the office.
Another survey, conducted by the BBC in May 2020, showed that 55% of US workers would prefer a mix of home and office working, giving way to ‘hybrid’ working. In the UK, employers expect the proportion of regular home workers to double, from 18% pre-pandemic to 37% post-pandemic. In China, employment expert Alicia Tung has predicted that in 10 years’ time, there will be a 60/40 split of onsite/remote work. The hybrid model supports the WFA concept whilst ensuring that employees still benefit from office life. In a broader sense, hybrid working falls under the offshore umbrella. We haven’t lost the remote element, it’s merely a combination, and a logical one at that.
Barend Raaff, CEO of Harver, also sees a working world into two halves. ‘We will be left with fully remote companies: those which have always been remote, but have expanded. The other side of the coin is the hybrid workspace, whereby the office adopts a different role. The old office environment will give way to a space that facilitates work from home, whilst offering a refuge for those who want to reap the benefits: brainstorming, plus the social and cultural aspects.’
As part of the BBC Worklife series, which investigates the working world in a COVID-19 society, Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn voiced her findings on how the demand for remote work is changing. She says that there has been a huge increase in demand for remote work on the LinkedIn platform, which will have a significant long-term impact on the labour market.
Kimbrough says that, since March 2020, there has been a fourfold increase in the number of jobs that offer remote work. This increase is also reflected in jobseekers’ behaviour: use of the ‘remote’ search filter has increased by 60% in this time. Connections are extending to those outside of their home communities. She thinks that ‘one of the most exciting trends that we’re going to see is a democratisation of opportunity and movement of skills all around the globe. Companies may be able to source diverse talent more easily, especially from groups that are underrepresented in their area, or for skills that are locally less available, through remote-work options.’
Due to the measures taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-pandemic, the way we work will change even more quickly than it has in the past. There will be room for hybrid offices, which facilitates working from home while still giving workers the option of using the traditional office as a refuge whenever they want to reap certain benefits, such as brainstorming and social and cultural aspects of working. Remote work will become even more mainstream than it is today.
Would you like to know more about offshoring? This blog post tells you all about the history of offshoring. And this article teaches you all you need to know about what the future of offshoring looks like. Contact one of our specialists for more information on how Gapstars can help you find an offshore team of IT professionals in Sri Lanka.