The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses operate. With most offices closed for a little over three months, businesses had no choice but to allow employees to work from home. As the spread of the virus decreases, many businesses are contemplating whether or not they should open up shop or continue to allow employees to work from home.
To determine the impact that working remotely has had on small and medium-sized businesses, Siddhartha “Sidd” Pagidipati, a serial entrepreneur and investor shares just how smart and beneficial such a step is, especially for businesses operating in the digital realm.
No time lost in commuting
In 2018, Americans on average spent 26 minutes, one-way, commuting to work. That is about 4.3 hours spent weekly on just commuting to and from work. Besides the time, the commute also takes a toll on your employees’ wellbeing, waiting long for public transport or getting stuck in traffic can result in a less productive workday.
Working from home eliminates the need to commute altogether. It gives employees a chance to start their day completely fresh, avoiding the negative aspects of commuting while also eliminating traveling costs. All of which contribute to a happier, motivated employee ready for a day of productivity.
Airtasker recently conducted a survey gauging whether or not working from home is more productive. The survey factored numerous aspects from commute time, workspace, time for exercise, and so on and their impact on the productivity of an individual that works from home and one that goes into work. Ultimately, it revealed that on average, an individual working from home spend 21.9 days a month working compared to 20.5 days of someone working in the office. The average unproductive time a day is also lower for an individual working from home at 27 minutes compared to 37 minutes in the office.
Other studies also back up the claim that individuals are more productive at home. Many aspects contribute to them being more effectively at home starting from the ability to take breaks when they please to having a healthier work-life balance. Workers’ productivity is key for any business to be successful which is why many businesses continue to experiment with work from home.
Increases the chances of employee retention
Many small and medium-sized businesses find it hard to retain employees. The reason why is because they can’t match the salary and perks offered by bigger companies.
However, more individuals are now aware of the importance of work-life balance. Unless you are obsessed with your work, no one likes to spend 10-12 hours every day at work, only giving a few hours to their family. Allowing your employees to work from home, gives them the work-life balance they crave. They have flexible hours and can spend time with their family or doing things they can enjoy.
Another way work from home increases the chances of retention is by providing employees autonomy in when and how they work. In an office space, workers have to adapt to space and work accordingly, since they are in a controlled environment. That doesn’t work well for everyone. Some may find it easier to work early morning while others prefer the night. Working from home gives your employee complete autonomy to work in an environment where they are most productive.
Hire talent from anywhere
The younger generation continues to use technology to their advantage and has learned to communicate effectively, no matter where they are in the world. Businesses can take advantage of this and hire talent from anywhere in the globe when it comes to working remotely.
Millennials enjoy having a bit of flexibility and working remotely gives them the chance to travel and do as they please while earning. The flexibility is an added perk for them and should be advertised as such.
Remote work doesn’t just attract millennials, but also gives your business a chance to be more inclusive. It gives individuals from lower socioeconomic or geographical backgrounds a chance to be a part of your team. Moreover, you can even employ individuals with disabilities.
Small businesses that have trouble finding talent due to a shortage or maybe just want to widen their pool of applicants, can benefit greatly by offering the option for employees to work remotely.
Lowers operational costs
Businesses have a lot of overhead costs and while you can’t eliminate costs such as marketing and accounting, you can save up on rent, electricity, and office supplies when your workforce works remotely. Rent and electricity are two major fixed costs that a business incurs, so saving up on that will be beneficial.
Now, you don’t have to get rid of the office space altogether. But with most or all your workforce working from home, you can rent out a smaller office space, having employees come in as needed.
Reduces the business’ environmental impact
As a business, you have a responsibility to the environment, giving your employees the chance to continue to work from home will help reduce the business’ carbon footprint. There are various ways this happens from reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to your employees no longer commuting to work to reduced consumption of paper, electricity, and other resources like heat and air conditioning. Ultimately, your business will contribute to a better environment which is something you can benefit from, in terms of marketing.
Transitioning to remote work doesn’t mean you close up shop. You should still have an office space but give you employees the flexibility to work from home. This way, your business saves up on operational cost and in return, you have happy and productive employees.
However, before you take such a step, make sure your workforce has the proper technology at home to allow them to work effectively. There will be a need for a lot of communication and collaboration for your business to function smoothly. Have the proper arrangements in place and your business should flourish.
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