As a global community working together to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, many of you reading this are working from home, something that prior to the pandemic that may have never been an option or for a more sustained period than you have before, and in many cases with others at home, working alongside you.
Though the number of people working partially or fully remote has been on the rise for years now, the COVID-19 pandemic has pressed the fast-forward button on this trend with the U.S. Census Bureau recording, nearly 1/3 of the U.S. workforce, and 50% of all “information workers”, are able to work from home.
With millions of us taking part in the largest work-from-home experiment ever undertaken, it’s vital to ask the question – how do people actually feel about working from home?
Why does this matter for small businesses?
The shift in priorities and increase in remote working is something we put front and centre of our conversations with clients because the ability to work remotely is seen now by many as a core benefit. Working from home, no longer has the stigma of “doing nothing” and this positive change will be felt, in some guise, across all industries.
It’s no secret that people value freedom of choice and we feel it is our job to educate our clients that a shift in their behaviour has a direct benefit on their business through the quality of skills and talent they are able to acquire.
While it is possible that there can be technical or security-related reasons behind remote work resistance, the most common is simple resistance to change.
Clients who don’t embrace flexible working are missing out on a huge opportunity that is access to an international talent pool. The “new normal” means that companies who do not adapt will struggle to attract the best skills and talent for their business, after all, nearly 66% of all candidates say that a flexible work location is a key consideration in choosing who they work for.
What can you do about it as a small business owner?
If you want to give your business a competitive advantage - actively seek out remote workers. Opening up your applicant pool to the entire world with remote work makes it far easier to find, attract, and retain great talent. Our team works for us because they love the flexibility of working from home or wherever they’d like, actually! So we can get the highest-quality individuals without physical office space, infrastructure, and other overheads - not to mention fewer sick days, increased productivity, and happy people!
We aren’t just making this up - according to the Swiss Governments Trade Association (SGV), thanks to more focus and flexibility, productivity per worker increased by up to 16% during the Covid-19 lockdown in Switzerland.
The study found that while hours worked dropped by 10% in the first quarter of 2020, GDP sank by just 2.6%.This translates to a productivity jump of up to 16%.
If such a figure is a crude picture of the overall situation, it is nevertheless striking. Through our global work from home experiment work productivity actually went up. It is then not just a case that workplace flexibility is a benefit but also has a tangible benefit for our clients. Those clients that act on this information will have the ability to accelerate out of the crisis and procure market share that otherwise may not have been available to them.
So, what do I do now?
Do you want to access all the benefits of a remote team, but aren’t sure where to start? At Houston & Ko we can help you adapt to the new normal.