Pressure to Return to the Office? 15 Reasons Why Your Small Business Doesn't Need to Do So
Over the past several years, small business operations have undergone a significant transformation due to the rise of digital technology, a focus on results rather than time spent working, the need for greater work flexibility in terms of where and when employees work, and others.
Digital Transformation of Small Businesses
Digital transformation enables small businesses to streamline their operations, automate repetitive tasks, and improve their overall efficiency. From cloud-based software and project management tools to online marketing and social media platforms, digital technology gives small businesses with a wealth of new tools and resources to help them compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Dynamics of Where and When to Work Has Changed
Another major shift is a growing focus on results rather than time spent working. With remote work and flexible work arrangements becoming increasingly common, small businesses are no longer measuring their employees' productivity based on the number of hours they work in the office. Instead, they are focusing on results and outcomes, which has led to a greater emphasis on goal setting, performance metrics, and outcomes-based management.
Flexible Work Arrangements and Coworking Spaces
The need for greater work flexibility in terms of where and when employees work has also driven significant changes in small business operations. With the rise of remote work, coworking spaces, and flexible work arrangements, small businesses are no longer bound by the traditional nine-to-five workday or the need for a physical office space. Instead, they are embracing new ways of working that allow their employees to work from home, on the road, or from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection.
15 Reasons Small Businesses Should Not Return to the Office
We’ve seen a move by some small businesses back to permanent offices as the pandemic subsided. But others found their operations weren’t impacted when they abandoned permanent offices during the pandemic and in many instances improved efficiencies and cut costs. This blog post explores 15 compelling reasons why small businesses should not return to permanent office space.
1. Cost Savings
One of the most significant advantages of not returning to the office is cost savings. Renting an office space can be incredibly expensive, especially for small businesses that are just starting out. By opting for alternative solutions like coworking spaces or day offices, small businesses can save a significant amount of money. In fact, according to a survey by Global Workplace Analytics, small businesses can save an average of $11,000 per employee per year by allowing them to work remotely.
2. Increased Flexibility
Another advantage of not returning to the office is increased flexibility. With remote work, employees have the freedom to work from anywhere, whether it's their home, a coworking space, or a coffee shop. This flexibility can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses, especially those that have employees who prefer to work different hours or in different locations.
3. Increased Productivity
Numerous studies show that remote workers are often more productive than their office-based counterparts. A study by Prodoscore, as an example, found that remote worker productivity increased 47% during the pandemic lockdown. Another study by CoSo Cloud found that remote workers are 77% more productive than office workers. This increased productivity can be attributed to a variety of factors, including fewer distractions, fewer interruptions, and increased autonomy.
4. Access to a Global Talent Pool
By not returning to the office, small businesses can access a global talent pool. With remote work, businesses can hire the best talent from anywhere in the world, rather than limiting themselves to candidates who are willing to relocate. This can be incredibly advantageous for small businesses that need specialized skills or have trouble finding local talent.
5. Improved Work-Life Balance
Remote work can also lead to an improved work-life balance for employees. With no commute, employees have more time to spend with their families, pursue hobbies, or engage in self-care. Nearly two-thirds of remote workers indicate they find balancing work and life easier when working remote than when working from the office. This improved work-life balance can lead to happier, more engaged employees, which can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses.
6. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Another advantage of not returning to the office is a reduced carbon footprint. According to the above Global Workplace Analytics study, if the 41% of Americans who have jobs that can be done remotely did so just half the time, it would be equivalent to taking the entire New York State workforce off the road. By reducing the number of commuters, small businesses can make a significant impact on the environment.
7. Increased Employee Satisfaction
Remote work can also lead to increased employee satisfaction. A survey by Owl Labs found that employees who work remotely at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive in their jobs than those who never work remotely. This increased employee satisfaction can lead to lower turnover rates and higher retention rates, which can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses.
8. Reduced Sick Days
Another advantage of not returning to the office is reduced sick days. With remote work, employees are less likely to get sick because they are not exposed to other people's germs in the office. Research finds that businesses that offer remote work see a 25% lower employee turnover rate and save an average of $1,800 per employee per year in reduced absenteeism.
9. Access to Professional Amenities
Coworking spaces and day offices offer small businesses access to professional amenities that they may not have access to otherwise. For example, many coworking spaces offer high-speed internet, printing and scanning services, meeting rooms, and even networking events. These amenities can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses that need access to professional resources but don't want to incur the cost of renting an entire office.
10. Reduced Commuting Time
Not returning to the office can also lead to reduced commuting time for employees. The average one-way commute time for U.S. workers is 27.6 minutes and can be close to two hours in certain metropolitan areas in the U.S. By allowing employees to work remotely, small businesses can save their employees valuable time and reduce their stress levels.
11. Improved Mental Health
Remote work can also lead to improved mental health for employees. A study by Buffer fund that remote workers are 8% more likely to report being happy than office workers. Remote work can reduce stress levels, improve work-life balance, and even reduce the risk of burnout, all of which can have a positive impact on mental health.
12. Reduced Office Politics
Another advantage of not returning to the office is reduced office politics. With remote work, employees can focus on their work without being distracted by office politics or gossip. This can lead to a more productive and positive work environment.
13. Access to Live Receptionists
Some virtual office solutions like Davinci Meeting Rooms offer Live Receptionist services as well. Hiring full-time employees to serve as office receptionists and administrators is often too expensive for a small business. This is no longer the case with on-demand services like Davinci Live Receptionists. Live receptionists can answer phone calls, take messages, and even schedule appointments, providing small businesses with a professional image without the cost.
14. Relying on Virtual Office Addresses
Virtual office solutions like virtual office addresses can provide small businesses with a professional mailing address with services like Davinci Virtual Offices without the cost of renting an entire office. This can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses that need a professional address but don't want to incur the cost of renting an entire office.
15. Engaging Customers and Prospects with Live Web Chat
Live web chat can also be a valuable tool for small businesses that don't have a physical office. Live web chat allows businesses to engage with customers in real-time, answering questions and providing support. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can be incredibly beneficial for small businesses.
Avoiding a Return to the Office Translates into Success for Small Businesses
Running a small business is not an easy undertaking. Many are reevaluating the importance and need for permanent office space to succeed. Coworking space, day offices, and rented meeting space from providers like Davinci Meeting Rooms are critical facilitators. On-demand services like live receptionists and live web chat services enable small businesses to provide great experiences and service to customers and prospects. These on-demand services, at the same time, make it possible for small businesses to avoid a return to permanent small offices. By embracing remote and hybrid work configurations, small businesses can save money, increase productivity, and access a global talent pool, all while providing their employees with a happier, healthier work environment.