We Can Learn From Small Businesses’ Approach to WFH

A person writes on a tablet computer while using a laptop. After implementing a flexible workplace, companies need to follow up with their HR and management departments to continue supporting their employee’s workplace morale.

Photo: Anthony Shkraba / Pexels

There are several advantages for smaller businesses when it comes to remote work. Naturally, smaller companies have less commitment to assets and investments because of their size. This means that they have had lower overhead from a multitude of saved expenses — whether that be less office space and equipment or savings on salaries and benefits. 

Reduced costs can be a strong incentive for larger companies to adopt some form of remote work. One study even showed that if a company allowed an employee to work from home just half of the time, that business would save on average $11,000 per employee.

Fostering Corporate Culture Remotely

Eighty-eight percent of employees believe strong company culture is key to success — and 94% of executives agree. With closer proximity to their workers, small businesses can more easily promote employee satisfaction and better workplace morale, leading to a positive company culture. 

What is more, many small businesses found that after shifting to remote working, employee availability has gone up by 19% and life satisfaction by 7%. A clear testament to how digital communication can still keep teams meaningfully connected.

Accessible leaders, strong communication channels, exclusive rituals that promote company culture, and a bold vision with constant development are pivotal implementations that companies can integrate to keep their culture tight-knit — no matter the size.

Hear Out the Concerns of Your Managers

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A flexible workplace is a nice thought in essence, but it begs the question — how can a company feasibly achieve it?

The first step is to make sure that the key people at your company are on board with implementing a hybrid or remote workplace strategy. That means hearing out their concerns and helping them understand why you are making this transition. This opens a line of communication that will pay off later when these managers become the liaisons and advocates to help roll out new policies. It’s important to train these same employees far in advance to the actual execution, so that they can help you work out any kinks that may arise. 

Although remote employees work one more day on average a week and are 47% more productive overall — a flex work program might not be the best fit for everybody. In larger companies, it might be an option to execute a trial run to help overcome any resistance or ambiguities on how this new work program will look. This opens the door for feedback, and potentially unearths other options to offer to employees who aren’t on board with the idea. 

By placing a certain amount of choice in your workers’ hands, you will help them feel more valued and, in turn, more dedicated to their jobs.

Communication Is the Hallmark of Any Relationship

The line between work and home is undeniably blurred now — with more than 40% of the respondents to this MIT SMR survey confirming that they do not draw a hard line between when they are working and when they are not. 

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After implementing a flexible workplace, companies need to follow up with their HR and management departments to continue supporting their employee’s workplace morale.

You can gather insights through a general employee survey, or you can make it more personal by having overseeing managers conduct one-on-one meetings. Not only will this communication help to glean constructive relationships, but it will also keep track of performance and better align team and company goals. 

Gallup found that when managers know what projects or tasks employees are working on, employees are almost seven times more likely to be engaged than actively disengaged.

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With better communication, individuals should feel more comfortable reaching out with their needs and when they could use help. A Salesforce Research study of over 1,500 business professionals discovered that when an employee feels heard, that person is 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform to the best of their abilities. 

Depending on the context you get back from your employees, companies can consider regularly reevaluating individual workloads, increasing support for working parents, or growing their benefits and time-off programs — emphasizing that they are not alone even though employees are remote. 

Happy employees naturally bolster both a company’s culture and its retention rate. By creating a flexible yet tight-knit community among the entirety of your company, you stimulate worker productivity and dedication. This, in turn, directly propels your business growth and fast-tracks it into the modern work world — putting you and your worker’s career a league above the rest.

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