2020 has been hard on everyone, but especially business owners. As businesses work to adapt, many are facing new technical and managerial challenges. Change is always hard, but there is a silver lining, if you know where to look. Savvy employers are embracing the rise in remote work and using it to their advantage. Are you one of them?
The benefits of remote work for the employee are clear. To name a few: no need for daily commuting, no office hustle and bustle, looser dress-code, more flexible schedule. But what are the benefits for you as the employer?
Here are some of the most compelling reasons why switching to remote work can empower your small business:
1. Increased Market Reach
When you’re no longer tied to a brick and mortar location and you’re forced to digitize important processes and customer communications, you’re halfway to building an online business that can reach an exponential number of new customers. To give some examples, some restaurants have started delivering “ready-to-cook” kits, bringing their recipes into your kitchen. In the service industry coaches, consultants, therapists, and tutors have moved their services to 100% virtual, enabling them to help clients nationwide, and not just in their local communities.
2. Staff Flexibility, Productivity, and Retention
When staff are working fully or partially remote, it’s more important than ever to measure them on results, not “face time”. By granting flexibility during “working hours” for your staff to attend to their personal needs–such as caring for family members, assisting children with remote school, or simply buying groceries–you’re showing your team that you care about them as a whole person. When staff feel their personal needs are met with a flexible work arrangement, they’re happier, more productive, and more loyal to the company. Job satisfaction and retention both increase. Flexibility also helps you attract top talent, especially in a highly competitive industry.
3. Hiring Agility
If your business has key roles roles that can be done 100% remotely, you can now hire the very best talent in your field, regardless of that person’s proximity to you or your customers. This opens up the talent pool dramatically, bringing experienced candidates from other regions into reach of your small business. Similarly, in cities where there are talent shortages or inflated wages which offset high costs of living, business owners can now source great talent from other areas. This increases your businesses footprint (who doesn’t love growth?), creates opportunities for those who might otherwise not have any, and ensures you get the best value for your dollar. It’s a win-win.
4. Lower Fixed Costs
A year ago, our company exited our brick and mortar Headquarters office and saved well over $50K/year in rent, utilities, and related expenses. This was pre-pandemic, and we did it because our 3-year lease was up, rents were rising, and we saw little value in maintaining a traditional storefront. This worked out really well for us because we’re a B2B technology company, and have been serving clients remotely for years. Whether you’ve been working remotely for years, months, or just weeks, if you can adapt an existing product or service to be delivered remotely, you too can make a fundamental shift like this.
5. Innovation and Digital Transformation
Working from home has forced many of our clients to embrace digitization and new ways of working. Without easy access to paper files or onsite servers, they’ve been forced to build new processes and systems, and retire antiquated ones. While change can be difficult, it’s ultimately for the better. The efficiencies gained by modernizing systems and processes will pay off in the long run through increased agility, competitiveness, and an ability to attract and retain the next generation of talent (who expect their digital workplace experience to be at least as good as their digital consumer experiences).
While the pandemic may have been the catalyst for switching to remote work for many businesses around the world, it’s not the only reason why you should work from home. Indeed, once you realize the benefits of remote work, you may never want to go back to the “old” normal.
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