BPO stands for “business processing outsourcing,” which is when a company contracts an outside provider for services or back office processes. Firms that provide these services are commonly called "BPOs."
These companies offer the same services that a business may be hiring in-house employees to do, or possibly contracting freelancers to do, but the BPO can usually do it for less money.
According to Statista, in 2017, the global BPO industry was valued at $88.9 billion and generated $24.6 billion in revenue. And a 2018 Research and Markets report estimated the market will grow to $262.2 billion by 2022.
U.S. companies often contract a BPO firm to outsource jobs to another part of the world where labor is cheaper, like India or the Philippines. However, BPOs also hire workers in the United States or Canada.
Many BPO jobs, though not all, are home-based positions because an at-home workforce can be much cheaper for the BPO firm to maintain. Sometimes called homeshoring or homesourcing, these jobs may be for independent contractors or part- or full-time employees. They may pay salary, hourly or on a per-project basis, and may or may not offer workers benefits or paid time off.
The types of services BPOs offer vary widely. These firms might employ call center agents, data entry operators, transcriptionists, translators, or accountants.
Types of BPO Jobs Done From Home
One of the most common business processes to be outsourced in the United States is call center work. And while most call center jobs are actually in brick-and-mortar call centers, a growing number of BPOs use home-based call center agents. These can be either employment positions or independent contracting. Below are some call center BPOs that hire home-based workers in the United States:
- SYKES Home
- Aspire Lifestyles
Data Entry and Transcription
Data entry is another common type of work that BPOs offer their clients, and many of the jobs in this field are home-based. Typically, the work-at-home jobs in data entry are for independent contractors. Often they pay per piece, which can mean less than minimum wage. Many data entry companies make use of crowdsourcing to spread the available work out to a large, remote workforce. Transcription requires more skill and usually pays better than data entry.
Hospitals, medical practices, and insurance companies commonly contract with BPOs specializing in medical-related business processes, such as medical coding, billing, and transcription.
Accounting and bookkeeping functions are often contracted out to BPOs. However, relatively few BPOs use home-based workers for this type of work. But, you will find a few in this list of work-at-home accounting jobs.
Other BPO Jobs
Many BPOs need bilingual workers for a variety of jobs such as translation, globalization, and search evaluation. The job requirements and pay will vary depending on the position and amount of skill required for the job.