Remote Work Is Here To Stay
Embracing remote work has been a love-hate relationship for many small and medium-sized business (SMB)
owners. With new technology allowing workers to work from wherever and whenever more than ever before,
employers have had to balance this reality against having the peace of mind that frequently comes from being
in the same physical space as your employees. As owners try and adapt to this new tech reality, more and
more companies have been adopting a hybrid approach—offering the option for some remote work but not
Now, we’re living in a different reality. The coronavirus has made it abundantly clear that the need to work
remotely is no longer a perk or a convenience – it’s a necessity. But thanks to the technology that has been
enabling more productive and collaborative remote work in recent years, notably unified communications,
the ability to stand up a remote work environment can be very easy, fast, and affordable.
And yet, anything new, especially something that happens so rapidly such as the need to shift the majority,
if not all, of a company’s workforce from centralized to remote, can certainly cause issues and concerns.
So, to better understand how businesses are adapting to remote working and to gauge how prevalent remote
work may be post pandemic, we surveyed 250 small and medium-sized business owners or senior decisionmakers
that employ between five to 250 people. These respondents had to have at least 50% of their
workforce in office-based roles.
Of those businesses surveyed, nearly 85% of their employees worked in a centralized office pre pandemic.
That number has, not surprisingly, decreased dramatically – to 26% – once social distancing and shelter in
place orders went into effect.
New Study Finds More Than Half of U.S. SMB Owners Believe Working Remotely is Here to Stay Post-Pandemic
Highlights of the Findings
READY TO HAVE EVERYONE HEAD BACK TO THE OFFICE? NOT SO FAST
Early findings from the report reveal that of the SMB owners who increased remote working as a result of social
distancing, 57% said they will likely maintain increased remote working options for employees in the long-term.
This indicates a shift not only in the way businesses operate but also how business owners, employees, and
customers will engage with one another in the future. Among the biggest benefits of shifting to remote work,
SMB owners have found that employee availability (up 19%), job (up 15%), and life satisfaction (up 7%) have all
increased, while overheard costs have gone down.
Respondents offered real-world examples with comments like “workers attitudes have improved” and employees
are “happier” and “more productive.” There are obvious pressures from the shelter in place protocols, but
workers specifically noted their reduction in stress was due to no longer dealing with stresses around office work,
commuting, time away from family, and the costs associated with being in a physical location, seem to result in
workers that are more engaged and ready to make a difference.
BUSINESS OWNERS STILL SEE THE VALUE OF IN-PERSON MEETINGS, BUT VIDEO
CONFERENCING IS ON THE RISE
One of the top concerns voiced by those surveyed was the ability to engage with new prospects and continuing
to serve existing customers while Coronavirus-related interaction restrictions are in place. Almost all SMB owners
(94%) said in-person interactions have been essential to conducting new business in the last two years. Additionally,
72% said that the current restrictions on face-to-face meetings will play a significant role in their team’s ability to
continue business as usual. Technology however, was not cited as a top concern, implying that getting the right
tools deployed in order to keep their businesses running was not a barrier.
In fact, survey findings indicate that companies are turning to technology to help deliver face-to-face interactions
once reserved for in-person meetings 57% of respondents indicated a reliance on video conferencing prepandemic,
while that reliance has jumped to 84% currently – an increase of 27%, the most significant jump
across all communications channels covered within the survey (including phone, email, chat, and others).
REMOTE WORK ISN’T JUST A TEMPORARY FIX
Remote work has been expanding considerably over the past few years. It’s allowed companies to have a larger
pool of candidates and reduce costs. Workers crave a more flexible lifestyle that balances work and play, which
often means they want the option to work from anywhere. Plus, technology now provides a perfect foundation
for employees to work from any location with total accessibility, easy collaboration, and robust security.
COVID-19 has certainly made us reexamine the entire concept of work, illustrating that many jobs can be done
remotely without sacrificing productively. As more business owners realize that employee availability and job
satisfaction can remain high, if not increase, within a remote working environment, the findings of this survey
indicate an increase to remote working will remain well after the pandemic passes.
This survey was conducted among 250 business owners or senior decision makers, from organizations employing
between 5 and 250 people. Respondents belong to organizations where at least 50% of staff are normally office
based but there has been a reduction in office-based working since Covid-19. All interviews were conducted online
in April 2020 using an email invitation and an online survey.
Contact us today to learn how we can help!