Will Home-Sourcing Be The New Work Trend?

Forget outsourcing call centers to India. It could be cheaper to homesource them right here in the U.S.

As many U.S. companies prepare to export jobs overseas, other companies are working to keep them at home — literally — as a substitute for call centers. According to a recent study by consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton, not only is such "home-sourcing" cheaper than traditional outsourcing, but home agents are 25 percent more productive than employees who handle calls in-house.

Firms like Alpine — and like Portland, Maine-based Intellicare — help their clients cut expenses by removing the cost of operating a bricks-and-mortar call center and by paying their agents less than in-house employees would command. That may not always seem intuitive; as Intellicare chief financial officer Richard Lester observes, "there's a huge shortage of nurses in America," and his company's customers — doctors, hospitals, and health management companies — want to keep their pricing down. Adds Lester, "we had to figure out a way of keeping nurses happy while not paying them as much money as the 'market' would demand."

Letting those nurses handle telephone inquiries from home turned out to be the solution. For home-sourced work, Lester explains, Intellicare looked especially to female nurses, ages 35 to 55, who are married with children or who are single heads of household. "Those folks will trade money for convenience and lifestyle so they can spend more time with their families," he says.

You pay less for happier, more productive workers. You get less turnover. It is an employer's dream come true.

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