Life Versus Business Outsourcing — It’s Not So Different

July 31, 2008

On the “What Is Noise” blog, David Fisher contemplates personal outsourcing in a post called “Outsourcing My Life.” He looks at chores like laundry, housecleaning and even researches and considers whether it is more beneficial to hire out these traditionally personal tasks or do them himself.

Isn’t it true? Many people do outsource more and more life activities. From cleaning and ironing to dog walking, gardening and car washing, outsourcing housework and errands is no longer a privilege reserved for the extremely wealthy. It’s a way for all of us to win more time to focus on what we love and the things we do well.
How do we make personal outsourcing choices? We look at what we want to spend our time on (what we consider core to our happiness, earning potential, career goals, family needs) and outsource the activities that are non-core. For example, I weigh the time and cost it takes me to clean the house versus outsourcing it to a service. It’s a personal outsourcing no brainer. I can work on the things I want to work on in the house and then have professionals handle the rest.
What’s interesting is that this personal decision making process is the same one businesses use when it comes to outsourcing. As individuals, we balance cost, quality of service and timeline to determine the net benefit of outsourcing. It’s the same for any business. What I find shocking is that there are still significant numbers of large organizations that choose to handle many of their non-core tasks (mail rooms, data center management, etc.) in-house while smaller more agile companies use outsourcing as a source for increased productivity, greater return on investment and increased position for revenue.
To me, the difference is focus. Many of these smaller and mid-size companies are able to dedicate more time and talent to what they do best, leaving a lot of administration and maintenance to trusted professionals. I am a big fan of all the “trusted professionals” in both my personal and professional worlds of outsourcing. Life would be very messy without them!