A year that felt like an eternity yet simultaneously flew by – 2020 is finally coming to a close. Coming towards the holidays, we think it would be good to look back on this year and try to see what we can take away from 2020, which for many, was a transformative year. ThinScale included. This will be a short blog talking about the main movements that happened this year and how things are looking to carry forward into 2021.
The Great Migration
For many, March's month saw us all shifting from brick and mortar to work at home and remote working. According to this study, – 64% of all businesses enabled a remote workforce in 2020. This change came as a shock for many industries and workforces, many being unprepared for this change and unaware of how long it would last. Infrastructure, HR practices, and even company culture had to change drastically in the space of a few months for companies to stay afloat. While many workplaces are returning to on-premises work, many more, such as ThinScale, are still 100% remote working, and will be well into 2021. 50% of businesses plan to retain some form of flexible work policy post-pandemic. This mass migration also shed some light on antiquated IT infrastructure in many companies, to increase resilience; the same study states that 44% of companies are focusing their business planning around accelerating their digital transformation now and in the new year, this is a direct result of COVID-19.
Supporting the new and next normal
Work from home had to succeed. If it didn't, many companies would have gone under – that said, it came as a surprise to some of the initial naysayers that work from home actually increased workplace productivity. According to this survey, in the US alone, 85% of companies reported increased productivity when providing employees the flexibility of remote working in 2020. However, these do come with some caveats as 69% (of 284 employees) are experiencing "burnout." Mainly due to less separation from the workplace and taking less time off overall – the reality is many employees are overworking. Anne Bibb, managing partner of Remote Evolution, on a recent webinar with ThinScale, made the point that the majority of employees moving to work at home during the pandemic did not get hired for that kind of work – and that updated training and supports have to be provided in order to protect employees in remote and flexible working scenarios. According to this study, 30% of companies plan to develop training aids to support remote employees in 2021. Anne also spoke of the focus towards "work from anywhere" or flexible working that companies need to be shifting towards in 2021. Not being tied to an office premises or 100% remote work as in situations like this pandemic, these methods can be either unsafe or unsustainable respectively. Flexible working is easier to sustain while also allowing employees to choose where they work.
Outsourcing concerns and customer focus
For BPOs and others in outsourcing, what are the concerns around work at home still? As Keith O'Looney mentioned in the same webinar, primarily hesitation around remote working has been a perceived lack of security and control over employees. Roughly 55% of companies reported that endpoint security was the primary concern around having a remote workforce – which makes sense as in any deployment, then endpoint and end-user are always the most significant vector for malicious software, data leakage, or even just device theft. To this end, clients of outsourcers will be placing a much greater emphasis on transparency when it comes to agent workspaces and prioritizing agent endpoints' security – to mitigate risk to their own customers. Gartner states in their 2020 Market Guide for Customer Management BPO Service
"[customers are] increasingly worried about how service providers are maintaining their security posture as lockdown situations necessitate more or all workers to work remotely for an indefinite period of time."
ThinScale's 2020 Wrap-up
In March, ThinScale migrated entirely to work at home - and continued to grow in this environment, increasing staff size by 100%. Further, in terms of revenue, ThinScale's Q4 in 2020 is 5X that of 2019's Q4, and is currently projecting the overall company growth to hit 200% by year end.
More and more companies are embracing remote and flexible working solutions in the in the face of the current pandemic, and for resilience against future events. If companies, particularly those in the outsourcing industry, wish to not only survive but thrive in 2021, they must start looking at their technology deployments and business practices – and be aware of their customer's expectations around data security and resilience.
We at ThinScale wish you all the happiest and safest of holidays. We will see you all in the new year!