Many companies must work from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
This presents a big challenge for business owners. You might be worried about productivity slowing down or that your company’s finances will suffer.
This is an unexpected situation. Many small businesses will have to be propped up by state intervention. Industries like airlines or hospitality will be hit hard. There are still things you can learn from this. Make the best out of a bad situation.
When other businesses are slowing down, you should speed up. In this article I will discuss how remote working can help – rather than harm – your business.
Becoming an agile business
The coronavirus has already damaged the economy. Businesses were forced to react. This isn’t always a bad thing. Angel investor and fashion entrepreneur Tom Chapman states that, “Businesses, whatever their size, must remain agile. They need to challenge pre-conceived ways of operating.
This is important. If your business shows capability for remote working now, then you will reap the rewards in the future. During the outbreak, many others will have difficulty. Huge companies like Google or Amazon, who asked their employees to remain at home, won’t be the hardest hit.
Instead, smaller businesses will be affected. The government has already announced measures to help, but you need to help yourself too. Being able to react fast is key in any industry.
Prepare your business. Ensure there is proper process for remote working. Online task scheduling, conferencing call services, calendars and messaging services all will play a massive role in the coming months. You could even make use of virtual assistants. They are experts at remote work.
Make your company digital first. It will have benefits when you return to work. This is not the time to play catchup – this is the time to get ahead.
Increase your productivity permanently
If you follow this advice, your company will be more productive. Agility is an underrated quality in business. If these processes are in place, then after the outbreak you will have better prepared, more flexible and more productive workforce.
You won’t need to be in the office to have the same levels of output. When you are away from the office, work will still be running at full speed. With the advent of 5G, travel time isn’t downtime. Lulls in productivity will decrease dramatically, all because you put the proper measures in place for your employees during this difficult period.
Companies don’t understand the value this adds. This is because of tradition. Other executives think if you’re not in from 9-5 then the company will collapse. Once you realise you can do your job from a beach in the Maldives, the possibilities are endless!
Make use of online learning
With your employees already adapting a learning new skills, what better time to add some online learning to their work day? Many of the world’s most respected institutions, from Harvard to Cambridge, already offer online courses. This is the perfect time to upskill your staff.
They are already learning to use new software to enable remote work. Now have them learn digital skills such as coding, design, or SEO. I can’t overstate how much value this will add to your business.
With this addition, your staff will increase your business’ ability to react. This ensures that when you return to the office, your staff will be more prepared. Your company will be ready for the worst possible situations. Other companies will fall behind – but yours will pull ahead.
Build wellbeing and trust
Another underrated benefit of remote work is employee welfare. There are swathes of quality of life improvements for your staff if they work from home.
Reduced commute times, working in a more comfortable environment and saving money on things like lunch and travel are important. They will be happier and more productive. This will reduce staff turnover. It’s estimated the average employee costs £12,000 to replace. This will be even more costly in the current climate. Staff retention is vital.
Remote work also builds trust between you and your employees. If you trust them to get on with work without you looking over their shoulder, they will be content in their role. This helps you as a business owner. You will realise that you can leave the office and have peace of mind knowing your employees care about their work and will be just as productive at home.
With all the doom and gloom surrounding the virus, it’s important to remember the positives. Your business will benefit permanently from being able to react to the unexpected. This will increase your productivity permanently. Your employees will come out the other side equipped with more skills, and increased trust between staff and employer.