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homeshoring

noun [uncountable]

the transfer of service industry employment from offices to home-based employees with appropriate telephone and Internet facilities

homeshore

verb [intransitive/transitive] adjective

'… a number of companies are turning to a new method to meet call center challenges: getting workers to handle calls from their homes. So-called homeshoring … can boost productivity while cutting costs …'

CNET News.com 21st December 2004

'According to the study, 20 percent of the polled executives said they were "very likely" to "homeshore," or to outsource domestically.'

CCNG News 10th August 2004

With the advent of the Internet and ever more advanced communications technology, the business world of the twenty-first century has increasingly exploited the benefits of moving jobs to financially attractive locations. This trend, now known as shoring, is based on the principle of establishing business activity in locations where skilled workers earn lower salaries and facilities cost less. Many major US and UK companies have moved a significant part of their employment base overseas, typically to Eastern Europe, China and India, a practice termed offshoring.

the practice of homeshoring is proving popular because it represents a cost-efficient way of supplying what is perceived to be a higher standard of service from employees who know local conditions

In a climate where offshoring is not always proving successful, often due to inefficient working practices or customer dissatisfaction with overseas call centres, companies are increasingly exploring the possibility of relocating employment to cheaper UK and US venues – a practice recently coined homeshoring.

Homeshoring is emerging as a viable alternative to offshoring for some companies, allowing the transfer of operations out of high-cost city locations and into cheaper rural areas, often by introducing a significant proportion of 'home-based' workforce. This gives companies access to employees who might not otherwise be available, especially people with mobility problems or the parents of young children. Homeshoring is proving popular because it represents a cost-efficient way of supplying what is perceived to be a higher standard of service from employees who know local conditions.

Background – homeshoring

The expression homeshoring has of course been coined by analogy with offshoring, a term derived from the adjective/adverb offshore in its sense of 'relating to a foreign country'. A less transparent lexical variant of homeshoring is the word onshoring, coined as the antonym of offshoring by use of the particle on as the opposite of off, with the projected meaning 'at home' as opposed to 'in a foreign country'. Other recent coinages used in the same domain are the terms nearshoring (moving business activity to lower cost locations which are in close proximity, e.g.: from the US to Canada/Mexico), inshoring (locating business activity in cost-effective locations within the US/UK) and bestshoring (picking the best business locations according to a specific set of criteria).

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 30th May 2005.

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