Working from home is something that’s been talked about recently, especially with the restrictions put in place during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It’s become necessary for some businesses to follow the WFH model in order to survive, and a lot of employees are reluctant to return to their offices now that things are easing up a bit. Now, if you’re a large organisation with hundreds and hundreds of employees it might be a bit difficult to coordinate things, but for small businesses it can really be beneficial to let your employees carry on going about their duties in the comfort of their own homes.
A Brief Introduction
Working from home is somewhat a relic of the past, with workers shifting to offices, factories and the like during the Industrial Revolution and staying there. While there have been some workers working remotely since the digital revolution, most businesses opted to stay centrally based and remain in their offices simply because it was easier to not make changes to the way they operated. In the wake of the 2020 pandemic restrictions and lockdowns forced businesses to rethink their strategies or close their doors, with many not surviving the brutal change to the market that occurred.
Since small businesses have fewer assets, fewer employees and often require less oversight from management they are more likely to survive the transition to a WFH model. Depending on your sector and the work you do, a lot of your organisation’s daily proceedings can be done entirely digitally, with cloud-based services and teleconferences making communication and coordination easy, even from the comfort of your own living room.
Your Employees Will Thank You
In a small business, keeping your employees happy and productive is crucial. Studies have shown that plenty of employees are reluctant to return to the offices, finding their positions in their homes much more comfortable. Adding on to that, employees feel like there’s a lot less pressure and micromanaging going on when working remotely. Nobody likes someone standing over their shoulder, but you can balance the need for supervision and desire for freedom with less intrusive forms of oversight. You can also tie this in with software such as Slack or a teleconferencing tool such as Zoom to aid communication, after all maintaining contact is key to remote working. It’s a challenge to implement, but once you get a system up and running that works it will basically run itself.
You’ll Save On Overheads
Let’s face it, offices are expensive. Between rising rent, overheads such as electricity and water, in addition to the extra costs that being inside a building that you have to clean and maintain creates, it’s a wonder anyone actually wants to work in one. Of course, the traditional office had its place in the pre-digital world, but we should be asking ourselves, is it really needed in this day and age when we can talk to someone on the opposite side of the world with a click of a button?
If your business covers transport costs for any of your employees, whether that comes out of your own pocket or is on the books, you’ll only save more by shifting to a WFH model. Petrol is expensive these days, and being more environmentally friendly is something we all need to strive towards.
You Can Expand Your Talent Searches
If you’re hiring for a role you need filling, there’s lots of ways to get the word out online. Unfortunately, whenever anyone goes on the hunt for a new job often the first thing they do is filter by location, after all nobody likes having to move away from where they have settled down. Depending on your business model you might be able to shift your net wider by advertising for a fully remote role, maybe with a few trips a year to a central location. Of course, if you’re very heavily based on physical goods this might not be for you because of postage costs and delays, but it can be something to consider and compare to the savings you make by skipping the cost of renting an office.
It Saves You and Your Team Time
Commuting is unavoidable when working in big cities such as London, New York, etc., with many workplaces being miles and miles away from the nearest residential area. Now, obviously your employees are going to save time by working from home – the average Londoner spends over an hour commuting each day, so they’ll certainly thank you for it – but it will also help you too, with no more dragging yourself into the office every morning if you’re like many small business owners who manage their team directly. It’s a time-saver, and since this time is literally money in the form of bus fares, petrol, etc. it’s a form of savings too.
Working from home is easily done in the post-COVID world, since many of the adaptations and assets necessary are already in place and the costs of such things already paid for. Not only would it be a shame to let these things go to waste, but many employees don’t want to return to the cluttered offices and workplaces that they used to call home. While for large organisations this was mostly a stop-gap measure to survive during the lockdowns, for small businesses it can become a way of life moving forward into the rest of the ‘20s. It’s easy, it’s morale-boosting and it can help your productivity immensely as long as you trust your team and are happy to leave them to their own devices when it comes to doing their job.