Should Your Business Permanently Work From Home?
The work from home meta has grown in popularity since the beginning of 2020. Yes, many businesses were working from home before the pandemic, but it wasn’t as widespread as it became. Being forced indoors made companies re-evaluate how they should operate.
Consequently, you’re currently in a position where you’re wondering if your business should permanently work from home. Is this going to be beneficial for you, as a company? Will it be better for your employees if they can work from home all the time?
You’re not going to like this, but there’s no right or wrong answer here. Yes, your business can make this a permanent move. Yes, it can absolutely be beneficial for you and lead to a greater deal of success. At the same time, it could also be the wrong move to make. It depends on your business and your employees.
So, how do you know if this is the right approach to take?
Consider your business model
How does your business operate on a day-to-day basis? What sort of jobs or tasks will you and your employees need to perform? Immediately, you can come across things that might make working from home hard for you. Does your business depend on a lot of face-to-face meetings and consultations? Sure, you can do these online, but it is way more convenient for you and your customers if you meet them in person.
On the other hand, what if you mainly do a lot of online or computer work. Your clients are all remote and you communicate with them via email or phone anyway. Here, you could probably do all of your daily tasks with Office 365 in the cloud, meaning you are more than capable of running your business remotely. Cloud technology helps your employees stay connected and the customer experience doesn’t change.
Think about how you are going to do your daily tasks as a business. If it is possible to do them from home without compromising the quality, this suddenly becomes a more realistic concept.
Look at your pandemic performance
In the past, companies were cautious about switching to a work from home approach because they had no date on whether or not it would be a success. Often, you’d try it for a period and compare your performance with working in the office. One of the weird benefits of being in lockdowns over the last couple of years is that you have evidence of how working from home impacts your business.
Look at your pandemic performance and see how it compares. Now, the results might be slightly skewed or flawed. Clearly, business may not be booming during a pandemic for certain companies. So, you have to kind of try to make sense of things with that in mind. A good idea is to look at the general stats for your industry. If everyone suffered problems, you know that your decline in performance wasn’t necessarily to do with working from home.
On the contrary, you can very easily see if working from home benefits your business. Look at productivity and sales figures – have they gone up dramatically since you started working from home? Are your profit margins now much greater because you’re spending way less money on office overheads? These metrics can help you see if working from home has had a positive impact or not.
Therefore, if it has, you have to seriously consider making this a permanent move. Especially if you worked from home during the pandemic and then moved back to the office, only to see a decline in performance. This is perhaps the best way to show that working from home is right for your business. You saw improvements when everyone worked remotely, then you came back together and all the stats decreased again!
Talk to your employees
Of course, you can’t make a business decision without consulting your employees. Well, technically you can, but that’s the hallmark of a good owner. Sure, the stats may show that working from home benefits your business. But, does it benefit your employees?
Talk to the people working for you and ask them how they’d feel about moving to this approach full-time. You might get many people who love the idea because they have young families and it lets them stay close to them. You may also have employees that really hate working from home as they live alone and it makes them feel depressed.
If everyone loves this idea, then go ahead and do it. However, if there are mixed reviews from your employees, perhaps you should consider a different approach.
Entertain the idea of flexible working
In a lot of instances, flexible working is better than moving to a 100% work-from-home approach.
What is flexible working? It’s the idea that your employees can choose how they work. Some can come to the office, some can work from home and some may choose to do both on different days of the week.
This kind of deals with issues when work performance is up yet some employees hate working from home. The employees that want or need to be in an office environment can choose to do so. Those that love and thrive when working from home can choose to do that. It means that all of your employees are happy, which is the key to a successful business.
At the same time, you can still see some of the benefits of working from home. If half of your employees work from home, you can downsize to a much smaller office. Thus, you still get to enjoy reduced expenses. Fewer people in the office also means lower energy bills, further reducing the costs.
After considering everything, you can now go back to the initial question. Should your business permanently work from home? Now, it will be a lot easier to come to a conclusion. Some of you may be aware that this is the best option for your business. Some of you may know that it isn’t going to work at all. Then, you have a large proportion of you that believe a flexible approach will work the best.