Should Your Business Operations Be Moved Online to Accommodate Remote Workers?
If there’s one thing the last couple of years have taught us, it’s that business-as-usual is anything but usual. Because of conditions created by COVID-19, millions of workers moved their work tasks from their places of employment to their home offices. This changed the landscape of the working environment, maybe forever. That is to say, many workers don’t want to return to the office environment. This leaves many business owners to question whether they should move their business operations online to accommodate these workers. If you’re facing this dilemma, here are some things to keep in mind.
Productivity Has Remained High
One of the issues that employers worry about with remote workers is productivity. Many company bosses remain convinced that productivity will suffer if their workforce moves from office to remote work. However, according to an article on SHRM, that just isn’t the case. SHRM cites a survey done by Mercer in which 800 employers took part. Ninety-four percent of them said that the productivity of their workers was as high or higher than it was during pre-pandemic years. This is despite the fact that many of their workers were at home instead of in the office. If productivity is your concern, then it may not need to be, according to these findings.
If you aren’t convinced by this study, then it may be ideal to reach out to other companies in your industry or in your area to learn what their experience is. In most cases, you’ll learn that remote workers are as productive, if not more productive. One reason for this is that people are able to work longer without interruptions from co-workers. Even more so, employees have reported that they feel like they have to produce more to prove that they are being productive since they don’t have the face-to-face value of a manager to come and review their work.
While there are a lot of upsides to moving at least some of your work operations online, there are still considerations that you must address. Many of these have to do with creating an infrastructure and support for that infrastructure. When you were in the office, if you had an issue with your software or technology, then you would just reach out to the IT team and someone would come to your computer to fix it. If an employee working from home needs support, driving to the office can derail their projects and productivity. With that being the case, you need some sort of infrastructure to support that. A NetSuite support team, for example, can fulfill that need. If you don’t have a team that can work remotely, then you may want to look into outsourcing this to a different company. There are many support companies that provide support during work hours and in some cases, 24/7. If you’re not sure where to start with this, you may want to talk to a company that provides strategic consulting for online workers. In addition to IT support, you will also need some sort of human resource support and management support. Many business owners are concerned that team members will feel overwhelmed with their work or that projects will get off track and the manager won’t be aware of that in time. Because of this, it’s ideal to keep in touch with your employees. Some employees, depending on the tasks that they complete and the way they work, may need daily chats. However, it is also possible that weekly check-ins should be put in place. These check-ins can be as formal as you want them to be. The employee can get on a video call with the manager to go through the process. If you want something less formal, the entire team can get together for a remote game where you can chat with each team member informally to check in on how everyone is feeling.
Is It Possible to Move Your Work Online?
The type of work you do may also affect whether or not you can move all operations online. For example, if you run a restaurant, some of your operations can go to an online format. People can order from you online, for example.
However, the bulk of your operations still must stay onsite due to the nature of the work. That is, people come into the restaurant to eat. Unless you wish to solely work takeout, you can’t move your operations completely online. Businesses with these types of constraints probably won’t work online. If you run such a business, then moving completely online may not work for you.
While you may not cherish the idea of equipping each remote worker with the necessary tools to work online, you may want to consider it, anyway. Here’s why. Many companies save money when they move operations online because they don’t have to pay for the expenses that come from operating a business workspace.
Rent is cheaper or non-existent. Energy bills go down. Office upkeep costs less, and these advantages only represent a few of the plus sides to moving online. If saving money is a big factor for you, then you may want to consider moving more of your operations online.
Although many employers balk at the thought of moving operations online to accommodate their remote workers, many find it’s advantageous to do so. You might be one of them. If so, then the information in this article represents just a few reasons why it might be good to take such a step.