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The remote work conundrum: Which option should your business choose?

Once upon a time, many employees were lucky to get one day working from home. Now, there has been a definitive power shift, with many suggesting that remote work has become a key bargaining chip during recruitment processes.
We have come to a period where nobody can safely conclude that there is a 'correct' way to operate. For some businesses and industries, remote work will be a no-brainer. For others, it's a disaster, while an increasing number are opting for a hybrid approach (which also brings its own pros and cons).
The purpose of today isn't to tell you what is best for your business. Again, each situation is going to prompt a different answer. Instead, it's all about providing food for thought and supplying four key questions that you should ponder before deciding.
How much does your company rely on 'camaraderie'?
We heard many businesses bemoaning the lack of camaraderie due to remote working throughout the pandemic. Gone are the days of the famous chats by the water cooler; Zoom meetings tend to be very structured, and off-the-cuff conversations seldom occur.
For some creative industries, this can be highly damaging. After all, where are the ideas going to come from? However, for others, it doesn't really matter. Ideas don't need to be bounced around a room - it's a static environment, and working from home doesn't bring any of these drawbacks. Which category does your business fit into?
What are the actual costs for both options?
The easy answer is that it costs more to have permanent office space. Nobody could disagree with that.
However, there's more. What about the extra insurance you might need in an office? Or the costs of having an entire office online? When you're performing your beer mat calculations, make sure everything is taken into account.
This also spans to the remote work option. Will you need to supply staff with their office furniture? Will you need to contribute to their internet costs? Again, resist the urge to blanket all of your costs as one - when you break them down, you might be surprised.
Could this decision be a way to retain employees?
For some people, working from home will always be the dream. For others, the daily office vibe will never be replaced.
What is your industry doing, and could you leverage this to create a way to attract talent and also retain it? If you're one of the few companies either offering remote work or the possibility of working in an office, perhaps this will work in your favour. In an age where many small businesses struggle to compete with expensive benefits packages offered to many staff - this could be your own USP.
Does the decision affect your bottom line?
We're going to assume that you have already experienced both office and remote-only work. Now is the time to ask if there is really an impact on your bottom line? We're not talking about the cost savings of potentially not having office space, but what about the income your business is generating? Is the hype about camaraderie exaggerated – or is remote working seriously impacting your profitability? Do the math and use this to make your decision as well.
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