About 48% of companies in the local outsourcing industry will consider a hybrid work system in 2021
Article from Ziarul Financiar
Cătălin Iorgulescu, ABSL board of directors representatives
The current situation has induced a large number of changes in our industry, as well as in other areas.
Teleworking has became the main option for companies during the pandemic, but also showed its limitations related to socialization, interaction and collaboration. Therefore, in the Annual Industry Report conducted by ABSL last year, 82% of the surveyed companies stated that they will keep their office spaces. In the first half of 2021, companies will continue to work on a mixed basis, using office spaces only when it’s necessary.
Due to the safety measures imposed by the current situation, companies cannot have large teams working from the office, so they choose a hybrid working system demonstrating unsuspected abilities and adaptation speed.
But the experience of recent months showed that both full time teleworking or office work have some inconvenients and don’t meet long-term needs. Newly hired teams are more difficult to be trained when working from home, and both medium and long-term professional development is negatively affected if the team does not interact directly for long periods of time. This is even more difficult for early-stage employees who are not yet accustomed to the company’s activity and culture. Team building requires direct interaction as we are social beings for whom the subtle aspects of non-verbal interaction and closeness are more important than we think.
In conclusion, 48% of companies that responded to ABSL study will consider a hybrid work system in 2021, 13% of them will continue in the telework system, while 39% of companies believe that in the medium term exclusive telework is not a viable alternative.
More, the pandemic has also changed the way companies relate to the workforce. Thus, the current situation has shown that it is possible to carry out a large number of activities from distance, which has considerably enlarged the area from which companies will recruit their workforce in the future. I think we will see more and more often how employers will follow people where they live and not the other way around, as was the case until last year.
Before the pandemic, the biggest challenge for companies in our industry was related to the well-prepared workforce. All discussions related to the development of the industry and the choice of a location started from the recruitment process – as a central point, retention and availability of labor in the area, but this issue will change in the future.
Another important impact of the pandemic is the increase in employees’ retention rate over the past year. The average rate of leavings from companies was 22% for the period 2017 – 2019 and decreased to only 12% between January and July 2020, according to the annual ABSL study as a result of the current situation.
I think that this year we will see a return to activity on the labor market, and a company’s decision not to increase wages could have undesirable repercussions. This means that the benefits of cost arbitration on the Romanian labor market will erode in the coming years. Repetitive activities will be replaced by artificial intelligence or migrate to cheaper locations, mostly in Asia.
Therefore, it is essential for our industry to migrate from transactional services (as billing, order recording) to high value-added services (as data analysis, planning, improving the experience for end customer, fully developing an automation project, etc.).
It is true, however, that in the short term we will also see a strong return of basic services from tourism call centers, that have been significantly affected, which will bring back an increase in the number of employees in the industry, which currently numbers around 131,000.
According to estimates from the ABSL study, revenues generated by the business services industry in 2020 are 4.5 billion euros and will continue to grow in the medium and long term. The business services industry contributes about 2 – 2.5% to GDP, similar to industries such as wholesale, electricity or oil and natural gas in Romania.