Work from office vs work from home: What helps small businesses to stay productive at reduced costs

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Daily, numerous mundane things are performed to run business operations that consume lots of productive time. With the remote working tools, mundane tasks can be automated and a significant amount of time can be saved.

However, due to the work-from-home infrastructure and subsequent data security investments, analysts are cautious in asserting a substantial improvement.
40 per cent small businesses believed apprentices to be not productive at all.
  • By Udit Agarwal

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: In the last few months, the debate between work from office and work from home (WFH) benefits have been heating up a lot. The pandemic has forced businesses to opt for work from the home system, but limited knowledge and reluctant professionals’ behaviour has fueled the debate between two work systems. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, before the pandemic, merely 2.5 per cent of US employees worked from home. But, today, Google, Facebook, and Twitter-like teach giants have told their employees to plan WFH throughout 2020. Not only companies but 43 per cent of employees want to continue WFH – even after the pandemic.

There’s no doubt that the impact of remote working is expanding beyond the tech world. That’s because WFH is the only way to save the jobs of 41 lakh unemployed youth. However, small and medium-sized businesses are still not ready to close their offices and empower employees to work from home. Simply because people have two primary concerns – WFH is costly than work from a home office and productivity is compromised in remote working. Economy and productivity are two important concerns of business entities, and they can be easily addressed in work from home culture. Let’s find a solution to the two utterly vital problems of MSMEs.

Cost-Effective – Work from Office or Work from Home

Cost-effectiveness is a highly crucial point from the employer as well as employees’ perspective.  WFH is ideal for employees but is that the same for employers? Definitely yes, small and medium-size businesses have seen the small example of WFH cost benefits in the last couple of months. One small company can save a lot of costs by working from home instead of the office. Such as –

  • Reduced Infrastructure Costs – As per the CIO Magazine survey, small businesses utilize 69 per cent of their revenue to expand and maintain their infrastructure. Thus, when your employees work from their home, you don’t have to bear numerous costs such as office lease, computers, electricity, phones, and all other necessities to run an office. You can directly save 6.9 per cent of your revenue with remote working.
  • Extra Working Hours – Averagely an employee spends an hour daily on commuting. So, when employees just have to move from their bedroom to their living room work, how much time can be saved daily, which can be a bonus working time.
  • Global Presence – When you have a physical office, you have a limited talent pool to create your team. However, by eliminating the physical restrictions, you are inviting employees from different cultures, customs, and ideologies to be part of your team.

Also read: MSMEs’ long term recovery likely ahead but subdued demand, lower disposable income among key issues

Problem of Low Productivity

Now, let’s take the other issue – low WFH productivity. We can’t justify that work from home has indeed lower down the productivity of numerous companies. Not because the system has any problem – it’s because small and medium-size companies don’t have adequate digital tools to implement the system. In fact, a Stanford study conducted among 16,000 employees for the last seven months concluded that 13 per cent of increases in WFH employees’ productivity had been recorded. Yep, these people have used the right WFH digital tools, and results have been in their favour. Digital tools can increase your WFH’s team in multiple ways, including –

  • Simplify Mundane Tasks – Daily, numerous mundane things are performed to run business operations that consume lots of productive time. With the remote working tools, mundane tasks can be automated, and a significant amount of time can be saved. For example, the repetitive task of recording employees’ attendance can be swiftly reduced with automated attendance tools.
  • Seamless Project Management – When you have to complete a big project on a given deadline, you can systematically assign duties to your remote team through a tool. You can specify the role of each team member so that no confusion or work conflicts arise. Furthermore, if your employees are running behind schedule, you can send a quick reminder to speed up things.
  • Effective Communication – It is revealed that small companies with 100 employees lose approximately $420,000 per year due to miscommunication. By using group chat tools, you can prove the efficiency and productivity of employees in one go. The stress of back and forth emails can be reduced with effective communication tools.
  • Time Tracking – You can’t improve productivity with time cards or manual timesheet method today. To elevate productivity, you need to use automated time tracking tools. The automated tracking tools ensure that your employees don’t waste their working hours and always complete their job on time.
  • Manual Sharing – With cloud-based software, you can eliminate manual file sharing delay. You can grant files access to the concerned employee and eliminate the need for manual sharing. Integrated file sharing technology is a boon for work from home workers.

Adopt Right Technology

When you want to reduce your operational costs by working from home, you must have to adopt the right technologies. Without effective digital tools, you can’t ripe the cost benefits of work from home. Thus, if you don’t want to lose your small business in the pandemic, befriend digital tools today! Just technology can save numerous costs for your business.

Udit Agarwal is the Founder & CEO of TrackOlap. Views expressed are the author’s own.

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First published on: 20-10-2020 at 12:12 IST