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Home & Away: The Financial Impacts Of Remote Vs. Office Working

For any person out there who is looking to cut financial corners, the one constant debate for any small business where finances are paramount to the success or failure at any given moment, is whether an office will help to improve the company, or is it better just stick with remote working? Lots of companies have a successful combination of the two. The benefits of working at home have been shown to increase a positive mindset with employees, but also, depending on where you look, there has been a negative impact on productivity. But, from a financial perspective, are there reasons you should keep every employee at home, or is it worth setting up a physical location, especially if your business is expanding considerably?

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The Impact Of Flexibility On Your Finances

The first thing to state as far as your finances are concerned in relation to having employees work at home is that they are far more flexible at home than they are in the office. Equating this to a financial cost, because your employees are at home, they are working with a more positive mindset. As a result, there is less room for conflict, which, slows down productivity in the workplace environment. Depending on your organization, whether you view a workplace culture as essential to the duties or not, this is going to translate into productivity which translates to profit. So, if you are more flexible, and you allow workers to stay at home, do you think you will see improvements in the workload and productivity if you integrate specific regulations? For example, setting certain deadlines for specific types of work. It can be argued that communication is a consistent quibble when trying to liaise with people who work at home. But, now, with programs like Skype For Business, you can have much better communication with your workers, but the quality of communication can be better. Lots of people who shy away from workplace conflict can hide behind the emails. But, as we all know, an email chain is a considerable waste of time. Of course, you need to gauge it on an employee by employee basis, but as far as productivity is concerned, it doesn’t need to be to the detriment of your company if you have staff members work at home.

The Cost Of A Physical Location

A physical location has the usual costs that every entrepreneur needs to consider. Not just the rent of the location as well as the general upkeep, but the other factors that you deem essential to the everyday running of your business. For example, if you set up a physical location, and you need to expand it, you will either end up moving to a bigger location, or you will need to expand on your existing premises. Depending on the area of land, expanding your business can be a more viable option. The geography of the location is something that needs to be considered, especially when moving into a physical location from a remote one. Not only is the location is essential from the perspective of the employee, but it’s essential from your perspective too. A physical location can be quite an expense, but it’s an essential one, especially if you are running a business like a store, where customers demand a physical location. And when you consider the external circumstances of building onto your location, there are things that you might not have considered. For example, the issues in terms of the land could mean that you need additional physical supports to increase bearing capacity of your building structure, especially if you are in a location that is prone to natural disasters, like earthquakes. This is why it’s essential for you to undertake research, not just in the location where you’d like to move, but if the costs of getting this set up is a considerable one at the outset.

The Cost From Your Employees’ Perspective

If you were to go from remote working to an office, the transition periods would be quite substantial. Not only will your employees have to learn a whole new method of working, you will very likely lose employees because of the complete 180 degree turn. So, the cost of hiring new staff members, as well as the marketing of these roles adds another layer of outgoings to your expenses. And, from the perspective of your employees, the commuting cost is now something that is thrown up. Your employees are used to working in a certain manner, and being paid a certain amount, and if this was to change, you might expect some consternation in the ranks because of the additional cost to their everyday lives. This could mean that, especially if you are paying staff members a low wage, that you need to compensate by raising the rate of pay. So, not only are you paying for a physical location, but you are going to have to pay through the nose to keep staff members on board.

But, with all these concerns, the cache of having a physical location does mean that you are presenting a more considerable business front. While many small businesses take advantage of services like virtual offices, what happens when you are sourcing new clients, and you need to set up meetings? Of course you can hire an office, but the impression a well-worn office can give may be the edge your business needs to acquire new clients. As far as costs are concerned, this could be a worthwhile investment. It’s a very difficult balance to way up. Because if you’ve settled into a groove of working where your staff, from a remote location, are maintaining productivity, but you feel that a physical location will help to improve so many different aspects, you might find it to be quite a challenge, not just from the financial perspective. Overall, you might find a loss in productivity to begin with. Of course, it might be the biggest investment your business will ever make and it may be thoroughly worthwhile. But now, as people are demanding more flexibility from their working options, remote working versus a physical location is something that every entrepreneur has to weigh up way in advance.

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