Homeshoring has been there for some years now in the BPO outsourcing
industry and it seems that it is here to stay for a long time. It is
predicted that the number of home-based agents in the US will rise to
330,000 by 2010. Homeshoring, also popular as homesourcing, involves
that are provided by virtual
agents who work from home. The call center employees sitting in the office
do not provide these services. In their place, home-based agents with
appropriate telephone and Internet facilities do all the works outsourced to
them by a particular company. Homeshoring is, in fact, a combination of
outsourcing and telecommuting. However, homebased agents are required to
come to an office for training from time-to-time.
Job Opportunities for 'At Home Agents'
The work-at-home job
opportunities vary on the basis of
call center types
. However, most of
the home-based virtual agents are required for
. Some companies hire
work-at-home agents on a regular basis while others hire home-based agents
on a seasonal basis such as the floral companies, or holiday shops. Some of
the job opportunities for work-at-home agent include:
Benefits of Homesourcing
Homeshoring jobs are benefcial for people
who want flexible jobs and those who cannot leave home to go to offices such
as stay-at-home moms, retired persons, disabled persons etc. For employers,
homeshoring means direct cut in overhead expenses. Some of the advantages of
homeshoring for employers include recruiting and retaining skilled staff,
improved morale, environmental benefits, reduced overheads and increased
opportunities for the disadvantaged in society.
- Employee loyalty- As the work at home agent willingly choose
the work environment, they are more satisfied and prove to be loyal and
- Reduced Overhead Costs- Most of the time, the home based
agents work with their own telephone equipment and computer systems.
This results in reduced investment in capital infrastructure including
office space. However, when the home based workers are required to be
connected to all the call center's systems and software, the company has
to provide the necessary equipment and other required things.
- Corporate Social Responsibility- With the increasing
awareness about carbon footprints, homeshoring gives an opportunity to
the employers to contribute to its cause. By avoiding the carbon
emission from vehicles that in-office-employees might have used, they
reduce it as the home based agents do not need to go anywhere and can
work from home. Additionally, the employers can also provide work to
individuals who, due to their disability, are unable to travel to a
These were benefits of homeshoring jobs for employers. The 'work at home
agents' too get many advantages through homeshoring jobs.
- Work Flexibility- The home based agent does not need to
restrict their daily schedule. They can work according to their own
- Tax Advantages- The home based agents might also get possible
tax advantages by using part of their home for business purposes.
- Career Opportunity for disadvantaged- Not moving from home
for work provides employment opportunities for disabled or
mobility-restricted workers like full-time carers, stay home moms,
retirees who can once again be streamlined with the job market through
- Work Life Balance- Homeshoring can balance work and life of
the work from home agents as they can give more to their families and
personal needs. They can even work when on vacation or while taking care
of family responsibilities.
- Monetary and Other Benefits- Homesourcing ensures a regular
income, often paid on a weekly basis. Although, most of the companies
appoint virtual agents on contract basis, there are some employers who
treat the home based agents as regular employees and give them
traditional benefits such as health insurance or a retirement plan even
when thry do homeshoring jobs.
Requirements for Homeshoring Jobs
As the type of call center
influences the job opportunities, so is the case with specific qualities the
companies seek in their work-at-home agents. Depending on the nature of the
job, a prospective virtual agent may need to possess special skills or a
specific professional background. Apart from the professional
qualifications, the homeshoring agents might be required to meet some
technical requirements too. Most of the times, these include a dedicated
phone line and office space in the home, a computer capable of running
company-owned software, and any other equipment that may be listed as
essential by the company.