They say that the only constant is change and it’s safe to say that the world has had a lot of that over the last few years. The way businesses have gone about where, when, and how their staff performs and accomplish their work is vastly different from before the pandemic unleashed itself upon the world. The landscape of operating your business continues to change almost daily and having an accountant for small business in your corner that understands this could be the difference between your venture’s failure or success.
Is the Future of Work Remote?
Business owners all over South Africa, and the world, have faced more adversity in the last three odd years than they probably have than at any other time before it. Back at the start of 2020, the unexpected pandemic drastically accelerated the ‘trend’ (at least at the time) of a small minority of business owners allowing their staff to work from home. All of a sudden it was the only way for businesses to survive.
Two years on and just as it seemed as if things were getting back to normal, a major international war broke out accompanied by harsh rises in costs all around the board. Add to that the worst loadshedding that South Africans have seen to date, and you have business owners scratching their heads in frustration in order to find the best ways to run their enterprises.
But as another quote goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. From a business perspective, the rising costs in fuel, electricity, and a range of other things can be, at least partly, mitigated by going back to adopting the practices businesses did when their backs were against the wall thanks to COVID-19.
The lockdowns that were enforced at the time had business owners relook the ways they handled just about every single aspect of their business to survive – some more severe than others – from having staff work remotely, enforcing pay cuts to outsourcing important roles such as the accountant for small business, the marketers, the content creators, and/or the developers for example.
These adaptations seemed to be only temporary but many businesses implemented remote working, or a hybrid version of it, on a permanent basis once they realised that it was actually possible and, more importantly viable. Although not every business was able to apply the remote working model full time, many reverted to it in an effort to spare as many expenses as possible on their employees after the steep rises in cost to just about everything in 2022.
So where does that leave remote working in the future? According to research from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, they found that about a quarter of workforces in established economies could adopt working remotely between sixty and a hundred percent of the time – four to five times more than before the pandemic.
It’s worth noting that they have also found that some work that could technically be done remotely, may not be ideal to be done in the matter. Things like negotiating, making critical business decisions, brainstorming with coworkers, and the onboarding of new employees are examples of activities that may lose their value if done remotely.
If remote working is something you’re considering for your business full-time, it’s always worth having an idea of what you’ll be up against or what you may expect. And what better way to do that than with weighing the positives and negatives up against each other in a pros and cons list?
Pros and Cons of Remote Working in your Business:
Amongst all of the hardships businesses had to face during the past few years, business owners had no choice but to adopt new ways of working. During the early days of lockdowns, just about every business that was able, took on a full-on, work-from-home model to survive.
With the worst of COVID-19 and its lockdowns seemingly behind us, is remote working still viable, possible, or even practical for your business? As a small business owner that may have to answer to your accountant for small business about every business decision you make, you may be contemplating whether remote working is the most beneficial option for your business. Well, without any further ado, we look at some pros and cons of remote working so that you can gauge whether it could be right for you.
Remote Working: Pros
As an adequate (even if we say so ourselves) accountant for small business, we’re naturally inclined to list ‘savings’ as our first pro. No doubt having your staff work remotely will result in numerous financial savings for your company, but it will also result in significant savings in time among your employees.
Not paying for office space is the most obvious saving on employers, while the lack of a daily commute spares employees’ costs while saving them a significant amount of productive time as well. Running a business remotely will also cut out other costs such as equipment maintenance, utilities, certain insurances, and possible property taxes to name a few.
Furthermore, a large chunk of the additional time and costs that are normally associated with long-distance travelling for business, the accommodation, and entertainment associated with it, to an extent, fall away since most of these conferences and seminars happen virtually.
Better work-life balance
Remote working removes the need for the conventional morning routine that so many employees had gotten used to. There is no more need for hour-long commutes on jam-packed highways to and from a physical space like an office. This frees up more time for people to spend with their family or other interests and hobbies, all leading to employees being happier.
As a result, staff could likely be more satisfied in their job, leading them to be more productive. In turn, happy employees will tend to stay with your company which, in turn, could lead to less employee turnover. It’s all a big, positive, repeating cycle.
Better employee productivity
As we touched on before, when employees have a better work-life balance, it positively impacts their overall productivity. Office spaces can be extremely productive, but they also have many distractions. The tendency to take breaks or get disrupted by other employees is far smaller at home, and since remote working is often accompanied by more flexible working hours, employees in the most important roles, like the accountant for small business, tend to meet deadlines in a far more relaxing manner.
Enables employers to hire talent globally
In a remote working environment, business owners aren’t limited to hiring talent due to geographical restrictions. Companies can hire full-time and part-time talent with much more ease than ever before, especially when it’s specialised roles such as an accountant for small business and the like. Doing so has even more advantages that some employers may not realise:
- It can diversify your workforce and increase global cultural literacy.
- Multiple cultural backgrounds could help promote creativity and innovation.
- You open your business up to a global reach that could help promote brand recognition.
- Improved quality of hiring.
- A workforce that is diverse in their perspectives and personalities can bring fresh approaches and values to the workplace.
As with most things in life, it’s rare to have positives with at least a couple of drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the cons that may accompany your business when converting to a remote working model.
Remote Working: Cons
Teamwork becomes challenging
A major drawback of having your team(s) working remotely is that teamwork becomes significantly more challenging. Teams that work remotely are not able to get in touch with each other as easily or as frequently as when everyone is at the same physical location. This could bring delays in deadlines, increased miscommunication, and more frustration if not managed effectively.
Social interaction gets lost
Staff working from home or remotely can naturally lead to reduced physical social interaction between workers which could lead to boredom and feelings of isolation. Unlike in a physical office setting, coworkers aren’t able to interact with each other casually, which is an underrated benefit that not many people give enough credit for. It can lead to frustration and burnout, which in turn could adversely affect the mental health of your employees.
Self-discipline is essential
Working remotely requires good self-discipline amongst your employees. No one likes to be micromanaged, but it can be a lot easier for some to get distracted at home, or wherever it may be, when there isn’t physical supervision in question, which could hinder productivity.
Some distractions remote employees can face are:
- Taking care of dependents
- Household chores that interfere with office work timing
- Increased notifications on and responsibility on video communication programs such as Zoom and the like.
- As an employer, it can be challenging to determine whether a prospective employee would adhere to company requirements while working remotely, making the hiring process difficult.
An immense reliance on technology… and electricity
A significant disadvantage of moving to a remote working environment is the significant reliance on technology and power. Internet connection issues at home accompanied by an intermittent loadshedding schedule can cause unplanned interruptions to work being done. This can negatively affect the quality of work, attendance, and the ability to meet deadlines.
Absence of support across departments
The lack of convenient access to different departments within the office, can potentially also bring additional challenges and frustrations to working remotely. Essential roles such as an IT technician, HR manager, or accountant for small business, and the immediate expertise that they can provide to coworkers, becomes a lot more challenging to perform.
Surebooks as your remote accountant for small business:
Some may say that there is a fine line between remote working and outsourcing specific roles completely. In one sense, the two can be eerily similar, while in another they’re completely different. Does that mean that the one is better than the other? Not at all.
At SureBooks we know that no two businesses operate the same and therefore their financial needs won’t be the same. It’s therefore imperative to take a look at what your accounting and payroll requirements are and how we, as an expert accountant for small business, can help you manage your business’s finances effectively.
Alongside our ready-available monthly packages, Surebooks offers small businesses customised, specific-to-your-needs, monthly plans filled with the exact financial services and tools your business, and budget, require – no more, and no less.
So, whether your business operates remotely, at an office, or a combination of the two, we’re able and eager to help it grow by managing the finances as your on-demand accountant for small business. We’re tech-savvy and make use of cloud-based solutions to guarantee effortless managing of your business’s payroll, financial analyses, accounting, and reporting. This means we have your accounting services optimised in a way where you have quicker access and readily-available data whenever you need it.