In the aftermath of COVID-19, the idea of how a business should operate is as far from black and white as can be. The social restrictions that have forced companies of every shape and size to rethink how they work and how they communicate has left a huge question mark over what to do going forward as things start to settle down.
The traditional office setting used by most has gone from being the norm to the impossible, and the decision of how to go back to the office for startup companies is ambiguous. One of the biggest points of uncertainty is the question of should a startup stay remote or go back to the office?
Startups are essential to the future of business, employment, and development, and they bring new and innovative ideas forward year by year. They shouldn’t let the restrictions of traditional working practice stunt their growth, and the solution for many is hybrid working.
What Is Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working is a way of modernizing how you run your business by transitioning from a traditional office team set up where all staff work on-site to incorporating at home or remote workers.
Working flexibly from home has allowed businesses to continue functioning throughout the pandemic and has proven to be an asset. Hybrid working can maximize productivity and fluidity and should not be dismissed as a means to an end now that offices are beginning to reopen.
As a Startup, the return to office for some staff members could be an unsettling thought with many people still expressing safety and health concerns. This is not something to ignore, and a hybrid working solution could be the answer.
There are many benefits to hybrid working, but it doesn’t work for everyone so take time to way up the pros and cons:
Pros of Hybrid Working
Fewer bodies in the office means lower overheads and lower costs.
The opportunity to work from home has proven invaluable to many, particularly those with families.
Online communication platforms such as Zoom have allowed Startups to survive but have also helped them to thrive. Hybrid working makes the most of the available alternatives and can help boost your company’s productivity in its early years.
The reduced need for face-to-face office contact opens up a whole new talent pool for you to work with.
Cons of Hybrid Working
The feeling of division between the office-based and remote staff is a potential downside to this modern way of running a business.
A lot of clients like to do business face-to-face, so if not responsibly managed, your customer experience standards could slip.
If your business is based heavily on interactions or requires in-person contact to work, the hybrid style of working may not help you.
What Changes Can You Make to Your Workspace Before Re-opening?
Unless your Startup intends to run entirely remotely, some changes must be made before your startup returns to the office. For startup companies, the flow and productivity of the workplace are of paramount importance. After COVID-19 there are mandatory changes to workplace regulations you must implement before welcoming back staff, but there are other upgrades you could consider.
There are several easy small office design ideas to revamp a small working space that can boost staff motivation in your startup. Return to office plans should be focused on creating the best possible environment for your employees to return to, and making it look good goes a long way.
The more comfortable your office space is, the happier your staff feel returning, and the better the flow and transition for your startup’s return to office process. Upgrade your space with new and improved ergonomic desk chairs or adding a few of the ever more popular standing desks to keep up with the modern, on-the-move way of working. It’s an important notice to back to the office for startup.
If you do plan to make changes to your office interior, be sure to pre-order everything you need with bulk office furniture order so you can have the place looking its best before the staff return to the office.
What Else Should You Consider About Your Workspace Before Re-Opening?
While hybrid working is an excellent new way to run a business, there are other ways for a startup to move forward in this unprecedented era.
Collaborative working space is another up-and-coming method of modernizing offices and makes it easy to go back to the office for startup. For many startups, it may be unfeasible to organize offices in time for reopening, and the financial situation for a lot of small businesses may not allow for solo rented facilities.
Working in the same building as other startups or small businesses can be hugely beneficial. It doesn’t mean sitting opposite a competitor sharing the same desk as you but could mean splitting a call center, a multi-floored building, or having a conference room in a shared space. For more information, check out the pros and cons of collaborative working spaces.
Whatever way you decide to organize your workspace, it is important to allow enough space for your in-office staff to work freely and safely. You can easily calculate the office space required for the number of staff in your startup to ensure all regulations are met.
What Other Steps Can Startups Take to Aid Success After COVID-19?
Be ready to make fast decisions and be prepared for the unexpected.
Do not be scared to ask for advice; times are crazy, and nobody should go it alone.
Value opinions from your body of staff. The people on the frontline often have the best view of what is going on.
Be smart with your funding. In times as uncertain as the ones we live in now, it is more important than ever to plan ahead.
Focus on building business relationships regardless of the turbulent waters around you. The relationships you make as a startup can carry you far in the business world.
Listen to the concerns of your staff about returning to the office and don’t belittle them.
Take health and safety regulations and restrictions seriously and encourage staff to do the same.
To answer the question of “should a startup stay remote or go back to office”, you need to consider several key aspects: what your current office space situation is, how many staff members you have, how your business has been affected by at-home working restrictions, and how you think your company can see the most success going forward. Let’s consider those tips above to remove all difficulties to back to the office for startup
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