Finding Alternatives to Hiring or Using Traditional Staff Members For Office Work
In the past, there were certain employees that were a part of almost any team, no matter what industry a company was engaged in. However, technology has hugely changed not just the way we do business, but also the ways our businesses are structured. In many cases, e-solutions have rendered traditional occupations obsolete within organizations. However, it is important to assess each of these on a case by case basis, as there are certain situations where the automated or electronic solution simply can’t measure up to the real thing.
- Traditional Technical Support
We list this first because it is maybe the most obvious one on the list. In the overwhelmingly connected business world that most of us live in today, the need for traditional, in-house tech support has waned in many organizations. For most of us, we can get all the tech support we need online through companies like iYogi.
However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. There are certain companies, especially within the tech industries, where on-site technical support is a must. The more complicated your technical operations and the more damage potential downtime could cause you, the more reasons you have to keep a technical staff employed in-house.
- Reception Staff
This is a very traditional position that technology has replaced in a huge way. Voice-mails, emails and Internet reception services can handle communications more effectively and affordably than traditional receptionists ever could.
If you think having real people as a point of contact in your company is important, there are answering services and virtual reception companies that work out of large scale call centers for a wide variety of clients. Because of the scale of their operations, they are able to offer extremely affordable service compared to a full time employee.
Most of the time, there isn’t a need for a traditional receptionist in today’s business world. An exception is if your receptionist doubles as another position within your company as well, or if they are working in an industry such as the legal or medical profession where receptionists require specialized education. Barring those exceptions, this is likely a position that most of us can do without. In such cases, try a virtual receptionist service and you'll probably save a bundle.
- Graphics Department
The accessibility and affordability of high-end design software has rendered the traditional graphics department obsolete in all but a few specialized industries. Typically, you can find what you need for a low price online or create it yourself with all the easy to use software tools now available. We recommend you look at solutions from Fiverr.com and 99Designs.
The exceptions to this come when making a visual impression is a key and constant component of your business. In this scenario, you don’t want to be accessing the same templates and royalty free graphics that everyone else on the Internet is using. Here, an experienced designer can be extremely helpful. It is often their artistry, more than their technical prowess, which makes them a valuable asset in these types of positions.
- Office Management
The responsibilities that used to make up the job description of a typical office manager could now just as easily be used to describe the services offered by any number of virtual assistant firms. What virtual assistants haven’t replaced has been replaced by software. For instance, in small companies, office managers were often responsible for basic HR tasks in the past. Today, most companies use automated software to file basic forms and track employee time worked.
In certain specialized environments however, an office manager could still be an asset. This is mainly the case in environments with a lot of employees or teams who need to be carefully coordinated while working on very different aspects of a project or product. In these scenarios an office manager can operate as an effective middleman, helping to keep the entire office coordinated despite disparate areas of focus.
Accounting software is now so cheap, and the options so varied, that this one shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If you have intelligent people on your staff with any background in accounting and with basic organizational skills, you should be able to use modern software without a dedicated professional to handle your books. The exception to this comes if complex or not-often applied tax scenarios apply to your business, or if you don’t have the skillset to ensure that you’re complying with all requirements of your bookkeeping without a dedicated professional.
Outsourcing, automating and cutting back allow you to operate a lean and cost effective business. Always consider what each member of a team actually offers in terms of progress towards your business goals. Compare that, and the cost; to an alternative solution before deciding which model works best in your organization.