Businesses great and small had to embrace remote work during the coronavirus pandemic. With the post-pandemic world taking shape, it presents the question of whether smaller enterprises should continue to embrace a virtual work environment.
Here are a few of the biggest reasons that remote work should at least partially remain in your small business toolkit.
1. Remote Work Enhances Talent
One of the best advantages of remote work is the massive talent pool that it opens up. This is right along the same vein as the fact that e-commerce gives your company access to seven billion consumers around the world.
Remote work similarly removes the geographic boundaries restricting employees in the next town, state, or country from working for your brand. It allows you to hire the most qualified individual for a position, even if they aren’t willing to relocate. You can look for any combination of experience and talent — and likely find it.
In addition, you can also access a freelancing community that is millions of members strong. This can help you address business needs without the need for a full-time hire.
Last but not least, remote work is also a great perk for the majority of employees. In fact, 97% of employees don’t want to work in an office full-time while 61% would rather be fully-remote. By embracing remote work, you can lower turnover by creating happier employees.
2. Remote Work Is Flexible
One of the hallmark traits of remote work is the fact that it’s flexible. In most cases, employees and employers alike can tailor their work schedules to fit their own personal proclivities.
If you’re an early bird, get up at the crack of dawn and stop working after lunch. If you’re a night owl, sleep in and start your day at 3 P.M.
Remote work doesn’t just make this possible. It can also improve the quality of your employee’s labor, as they can work when their minds and creativity are at their best.
In addition, remote work flexibility can reduce absenteeism. Even if someone has a cold or the sniffles, unless they’re bedridden, they can often do at least part of their work. This equates to greater value for your business (more on that further down.)
If you’re used to running a regular 9 to 5 company and you’re concerned about how to embrace this flexible factor, there are multiple ways to address this.
For example, global HR platform Remote suggests implementing asynchronous work into your business DNA. This involves structuring your workdays and meetings in a manner that doesn’t require everyone to be present at any given moment. This type of structure improves productivity as workers can enter into a “flow” that works best for them.
3. Remote Work Is Cost-Effective
Remote work is more cost-effective. Full stop.
For a fledgling company, this can be a game-changer. If you operate a small business, chances are you’re always looking for ways to lower your overhead costs.
Rather than trimming your coffee budget or turning the office thermostat down a few degrees, Ebenezer Scrooge style, use remote work as a way to lower your operating costs. This can save you money in multiple ways.
First, you will need to spend much less on equipment. From computer setups to office furniture, the need to maintain office equipment will evaporate with a remote work staff. You may still need to invest in your employee’s at-home equipment, but that will almost certainly be much cheaper.
Second, your actual office rental costs will go down. If you adopt a hybrid work model or you have some of your staff on-site, you’ll still need some office space, but much less. If you go to a virtual office, you can eliminate the need for physical office space altogether.
4. Remote Work Is More Productive
The theoretical question of whether remote work is more distracting and disruptive or focused and productive has been going on for years. The pandemic provided a massive sample size that could finally put this question to bed.
The results? Remote work is indeed productive for a business.
FlexJobs reports that remote workers are as much as 35 – 40% more productive than their office-based counterparts. The job site also adds that their own survey of 2,100 people during the pandemic found that a whopping 95% were either equally or more productive when working from home.
The sentiment is reflected (almost literally) from the management side of the equation, too. FlexJobs points out that 94% of employers agree with the “equal or higher productivity” claim. For proof, the site points to a study from 2020 where 67% of employers said productivity was the same working remotely while 27% of the remainder claimed it was higher.
From better talent to greater flexibility, lower costs to higher productivity, there are plenty of reasons to stick with remote work — even if you’re a small business. The pandemic may be winding down, but the future is set to embrace remote work for a long time to come.