It’s Monday morning. You have a to-do list a mile long: check in with the team about progress on that big new account, find out what happened to an important missing invoice that’s now a week late, sit in a few hour-long meetings. It seems like you rarely have time to accomplish everything you need to in one day. Work is stressful, and you’re not sure how to make it go more smoothly.
As we step into Stress Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to explore business process outsourcing (BPO), the practice of outsourcing menial office tasks such as data entry or mail processing to a trusted document management partner. By eliminating time-consuming manual tasks, business process outsourcing lets you and your employees focus on work that’s really important, reducing stress office-wide and saving you quite a bit of time and money in the process.
According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related stress regularly costs U.S. businesses over $300 billion a year as a result of accidents, employee turnover, low productivity, absenteeism, and medical and insurance costs, as well as compensation awards and FELA judgments. That’s a lot of liability for crucial aspects of a business that process outsourcing can help alleviate!
So what are the most common stressors and how exactly does BPO work to eliminate them? Let’s take a look.
The Most Common Cause of Stress at Work: Workload
When it comes to stress at work, there seems to be one common cause that persists regardless of industry: a heavy workload. A recent poll showed that as much as 46 percent of workers believe that their workload is the leading cause of work-related stress—nearly double that of the next highest factor.
This stress exists among workers of all levels, so being a manager, supervisor, CFO, CEO, or VP won’t insulate you from a hefty workload. In fact, the closer you stand to the top of your company’s positional ladder, the higher the level of stress you likely experience thanks to working long hours and a lack of control over the pace of work of those below you—and there’s nothing more stress-inducing than maintaining responsibility for the quality and timeliness of others’ work on top of your own.
Worst of all, the sensation of having little control and too many demands also affects our personal lives, and can even lead to serious health issues such as hypertension and heart disease.
How BPO Helps Reduce Workload for Your Employees
Fortunately, by outsourcing processes, you can decrease the stress you experience daily by reducing the amount of work you need to oversee. For example, outsourcing your mailroom means having all your important incoming documents scanned, digitized, and indexed for easy retrieval via computer. Having quick and easy digital access to documents vastly reduces workplace frustration because it means no more digging through file cabinets to locate files, no more scanning and copying, and no more waiting for paper documents to be passed between approvers.
Business Process Outsourcing Lets Employees Focus on Important Work
Business process outsourcing replaces a series of repetitive tasks that require many working hours—like data entry, document management, data storage, marketing, or accounting—but don’t have a direct influence on your core activities.
These operations are fundamental for keeping the company functioning, forcing you to dedicate a lot of energy and resources to menial, yet often time-sensitive tasks. But these alone don’t help your company grow fast enough to stay competitive, which means all that stress won’t pay off in the long run.
Outsourcing allows you to optimize critical business processes so that you and your employees can instead focus on value-added work that positively impacts your bottom line—not to mention morale.
For example, with outsourced mailroom services, your documents are digitized upon receipt so that they can be securely stored and managed, making it simple to meet compliance requirements. Your employees will no longer have to spend time on frustrating, stressful tasks like opening envelopes, unstapling papers, scanning individual pages, or making copies and sending them from one office to another for analysis and approval, making workflows much speedier. And with the implementation of workflow automation on top of this, documents will travel automatically between the steps of a process based on business rules you set, allowing you to track their progress and maintain a high-level view of your responsibilities.
Stay Up to Date without the Stress
It’s crucial for businesses to keep up with the latest software and hardware to stay at the head of the pack, but that isn’t always cheap or easy and can often fall out of reach. Not only does it cost money to stay up-to-date with technology, but it requires an investment of time as well, including training, implementation, and reworking workflows. Making big changes like these can place a great deal of stress on you and your team because it forces employees to navigate a learning curve on top of their existing responsibilities.
By contrast, outsourcing your processes to companies already equipped with the technology—like state-of-the-art document scanners, for example—makes it simple to stay current. You’ll have access to the latest and greatest tech without a huge startup investment and you’ll save time by not having to start from scratch with new technologies, all the while benefiting from your document management partner’s built-in expertise.
Outsource and Focus More on Core Business
Business process outsourcing may feel like giving up control of an important facet of your company, but it really gives you more control. When you pass time-consuming activities like mailroom management to partners specifically equipped to handle them efficiently, you reduce cost and workload, giving you and your employees more resources to focus on more productive tasks.
With fewer activities to control, you can simultaneously reduce stress and increase efficiency, as the two have proven to have a direct relationship, especially in an office setting. Best of all, it not only allows both you and your employees to do what you like the most, but also what you’re likely best at, instead of wasting your time and energy on tasks that can easily be automated.