Homeshoring Brings Legitimate Work-at-Home Jobs into American Homes
By: Melissa Brewer
Imagine a commute that is just down the hallway,
a few minutes from your favorite gourmet
coffeepot and the Monday morning news. You plug
in your headset to the phone, boot your computer,
and begin taking calls for your client. After 30
minutes of call time, you move on to a scheduled
break to tend to a few errands around the house.
You get another cup of coffee, finish a few small
household tasks, and return to your desk to begin
taking calls again. Your schedule is flexible,
and you can have all the breaks you need from the
comfort of your own home. You're paid anywhere
from $7.00 to $30.00 an hour, and you work not
just the hours "but the minutes" that you choose.
Sound like another work from home scam? Or simply
too good to be true? Think again. The rise of
homeshoring employers has paved the way to
legitimate work-from-home careers that allow
flexibility for a whole new workforce -
including work at home moms and dads, caretakers,
military spouses, people with unique medical needs and the differently abled.
So, what is homeshoring, exactly?
Homeshoring, in its simplest form, is the use of
home-based employees by businesses, big and
small, to handle their call center functions
effectively with the use of home-based workers.
Homeshoring companies have made the decision to
keep their call centers virtual - but within
their own parameters, country and control.
Homeshoring moves jobs out of high-overhead call
centers and into the homes of US workers, rather
than out of the country. Homeshoring cuts costs,
but not corners, when it comes to saving money
and creating valuable contacts with customers.
So who hires home-based workers for their call centers?
Homeshoring companies range from outsourcing
partners (such as Convergys and LiveOps) to large
corporations looking to save operating costs for
their call center components. Companies such as
JetBlue send their workers home and have an added
benefit when weather problems force call
overflows - they can call on their home-based
workers to pick up the slack. Other companies
outsource their calls to Business Process
Outsourcing (BPO's) firms such as Alpine Access
or LiveOps. Office Depot and Virginia Atlantic
outsource their customer service needs to virtual
agent call-center firms, which are often small or
midsize businesses. The call centers then hire
home-based workers or create independent
contractor agreements. Some virtual call centers
only hire home-based contractors with their own
business set-up, so that their workers can
operate under their own small corporations or LLC's.
Homeshoring also provides a flexible and
adjustable workforce for companies that often are
sent into chaos with call overflow. The
flexibility work for employees, too. Often, a
homeshoring agent can schedule work shifts in
time periods as short as 15 minutes.
According to the Gartner group, 10% of all call
centers in the US plan on employing home-based
agents in the near future. There are currently
112,000 home-based agents in the U.S., according
to IDC. By 2010, there 330,000 home-based workers
are expected to be working in the US alone.
Homeshoring is here to stay and is expected to
become a standard practice for companies that
need to find new ways to retain excellent
employees at a fraction of the cost of
maintaining a brick and mortar call center.
A search online can uncover dozens of companies
that hire homeshoring workers, but the top
homeshoring (and most competitive) employers are listed below:
* Alpine Access, www.alpineaccess.com
* Arise, www.arise.com
* LiveOps, www.liveops.com
* Convergys Corp., http://www.convergysworkathome.com/Convergys/HAP/re_agent.nsf/webform?OpenForm
* West Corp., http://www.westathome.com/
* InfoCision Management Corp.,
* Working Solutions, www.workingsolutions.com
© 2007 Melissa Brewer. All Rights Reserved.