The past year has made a drastic change in the way people work. Hybrid working is not an alien concept anymore. Now that there are no restrictions in the UK, most of the large companies have offered their employees the flexibility to choose their preferred place of work. Although everybody is still experimenting and learning, many people have opted to work remotely or in a hybrid way as a popular choice. In a study conducted by Buffer.com of 2300 remote workers, 97% of the people said that they would recommend remote working to others.
Amazon, Apple, Google, Revolut, KPMG and many more companies have ditched their offices and are going for hybrid working. The future of work is remote and the option to work from home indefinitely has been given to employees by companies like Facebook and Microsoft. Even now, there are companies like Goldman Sachs and Netflix that believe 'work from home' is not doing any good.
While the tech sector does have the option to work remotely, sectors like education, healthcare, travel, food and entertainment, find it hard to work from home. That is why in a crisis like the pandemic, these sectors suffered tremendous losses and many people lost their jobs.
Is the return to the office worth it for a small business?
To find the answer to this question, communicate with your employees and take feedback on how they prefer working. For a small business, finding a balance is necessary. Working in such a stressful time is challenging enough, but the way of working shouldn't give you a hard time. Flexible working is the way to future-proof your business. Let's go through the pros and cons list before you make a decision.
Cons of remote working
The biggest drawback of remote working is the isolation people face. People who live alone only get to interact with the outside world when they go out for work. The lockdown reduced physical contact to the minimum. People couldn't even go out for coffee runs or entertainment.
Mental health went for a toss for many people. More than half of adults (60%) and over two-thirds of young people (68%) have said their mental health got worse during the lockdown. Young people are more likely to suffer from poor mental health during lockdown than adults.
With the reduced levels of face to face interactions, employees had a hard time communicating with their colleagues. This made them feel that their opinions weren't being heard. Such barriers triggered the feeling of demotivation which led people to become unproductive.
If you don't know what burnout is, you should dig deep. Burnout is a much broader term than stress. The WHO defines it as "a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." The most prominent signs of burnout are insomnia, eating disorders, lack of attention and fatigue. A study by Simply Business concluded that during the pandemic, 27% are scraping by on just five hours of sleep each night, 43% are getting 1-2 hours less sleep and 20% are getting 2-3 hours less sleep.
People don't realise when they start experiencing burnout, it is only when their situation gets worse then they start paying attention.
The main cause of burnout during the pandemic is losing the ability to differentiate between your personal and professional lives. Not knowing when to switch off from work and relax has snatched mental peace from many people.
Pros of remote working
1. Reduced costs
When the trips to the office reduce, the cost of functioning also reduces. Bills related to rent, electricity, water and office supplies come to a lot less. Additionally, money spent on commutes is saved by the employers and the employees. For a small business, every penny is precious. The flexibility which remote working offers can help in the growth of the company by saving money.
2. Hire talent from anywhere
When working in the office is no longer an obligation, geographical boundaries do not matter while hiring someone. People who never imagined working due to some health or family issues can now work smoothly with a remote working policy. Employers have the benefit of hiring the best talent from anywhere without having to worry about them coming to the office.
3. Systematic Functioning
The pandemic has demanded people to be more productive and systematic whilst working from home. The planning, brainstorming, executing and reviewing processes, all need to be done collaboratively. Technology played a big role in helping people adapt and evolve according to the circumstances. By using different software online, people can plan their work, set deadlines and meet them. Working and sharing all the progress online within a team makes achieving goals easier.
The pros of hybrid outweigh the cons, this is the reason why bOnline follows the hybrid working model. We follow a four-day 'work from home' policy but meet once a week to unwind, take a break and plan things for a week. To make sure everybody is right on track and deadlines are being met on time, a weekly meetup helps us to evaluate our progress and shortcomings.