Small and mid-size enterprises have had a tough time of late, with many struggling to survive the effect COVID-19 has had on business. The light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine brighter, and companies of all shapes and sizes are starting to build plans for heading back to the office. For SMEs who have survived the pandemic, laying out a return-to-work plan for business success and fluidity is vitally important to get back on track. There is also an interesting option for them to consider that is creating a hybrid workplace for employees to encourage flexibility.
For a small business, back-to-office planning may require a little more thought and care, especially in matters of finance and social distancing regulations. Here are some of the things a small or midsize enterprise can include in its plans to ensure a smooth transition:
Think About How to Run Your Operation
Businesses have managed to keep operations working without the traditional office setup, and while for a small business back to office planning may be an exciting time, the benefits of remote working should not be dismissed entirely. There are several new ways of working that could prove invaluable to an SME, regardless of your situation.
For SMEs Moving to A New Office
Whether you are downsizing, upscaling, or simply relocating, you should see it as an opportunity for a makeover.
What better way to motivate your staff for their return to work than with a modern and attractive workspace? You can make a bulk office furniture order. After so long working from home, a lot of people have gotten used to a personalized desk set up exactly how they like it, so the promise of new and improved office furniture could help aid the motivation to return.
You may be thinking, how can these changes be made within a tight budget? The answer is of course that big changes require investment, but there are many small design changes you can make in the office that won’t break the bank.
If part of going back to the office for SMEs is to invest in the design and some excellent modern furnishings, height-adjustable standing desks are becoming popular choices for business leaders who want to encourage an 'on-the-go flow’ in their offices. Another worthwhile upgrade is ergonomic desk chairs designed for maximum support and comfort for office workers spending long hours at a desk.
The design of your workspace is not only important for the productivity and morale of your staff but also for the first impression you make as a company on anybody who walks in, which is why getting the design right is crucial. It is an important part in the return to work plan for business. When creating your return-to-work plan for business to resume as close to normal as possible, be sure to look for design inspiration and avoid the common office design mistakes found in offices.
For SMEs Considering Moving to A Collaborative Working Space
Going back to the office for SMEs may mean moving to shared space. Collaborative working spaces are a great new way for small and mid-size enterprises to keep their business going without being crippled by rent. Some collaborative setups may mean having one floor of a multi-level building, splitting a call center, or even sharing certain facilities such as conference rooms.
There are many benefits to a collaborative working space and it could be the difference between staying afloat or sinking for some small businesses going back to the office.
If your company is considering moving down this path, it is important to keep up clear and concise communication with your staff. A change of this magnitude could be difficult for staff to deal with initially if they feel blindsided, so don’t let them feel left out of the loop.
For SMEs Considering Staying Remote
There is no denying that remote working has become an invaluable asset to businesses over the last year, so it is no surprise that many small and mid-size enterprises are considering sticking with it.
Some industries allow for a completely remote style of working, and if it works it has the potential to save you a lot of money. Without physical working premises, you have drastically reduced overheads, and therefore so many are questioning if they even want to return to the old ways. For a small business, there could be a lot of benefit in going completely remote, but the drawbacks should be weighed up:
Pros of entirely remote working
- A significant drop in cost, no rent or bills to pay to keep an office running.
- Ability to work with anyone, anywhere, anytime without being tied to location.
- The world is becoming digital; small businesses are smart to do the same
- Around 70% of people said they prefer working from home and enjoy their job more now they have this option.
- Working remotely can have positive effects on the mental health of your staff; something that can surely only be good for business.
- Times are still uncertain, and remote working keeps your employees as safe as possible from a business perspective.
Cons of entirely remote working
- You can lose a level of connection with your staff if you do not see them personally regularly.
- If you do need to arrange face-to-face business, you have no set base to meet from which can seem unprofessional to some.
- Some clients put more trust in a company they can see in the flesh rather than solely digital.
- It is harder to monitor your staff and how they work day-to-day, meaning a good level of trust is needed for it to work.
Not every business can completely do away with face-to-face contact with staff and clients and even if they could, most people value that human interaction. At the same time, people see the value in relying less heavily on a traditional office setup, so going back to the office for SMEs can be a confusing time. The solution is hybrid working.
What Is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is essentially a happy medium between the old way of working and the new, combining an in-office staff with remote workers for a synergetic and safety-conscious workplace for when companies head back to office. For SMEs, hybrid working could be the perfect solution to allow for a reduced budget with a minimum impact on your employees.
How to Factor in Safety for Small Business Back to Office Plans
Regardless of how you choose to proceed after COVID-19, an important tip for going back to the office for SMEs is to utilize smart office management and regulation advice to maximize the safety of your staff. It is the responsibility of you as a small business owner to enforce the regulations put in place. Keep up to date with CDC guidelines and advice for small businesses to make sure you are doing things the right way.
These are turbulent times to go back to the office for SMEs but putting time and care into your re-launch plan could be the difference between sinking or swimming.
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