83% of London SMEs Could Make Remote Working Permanent After COVID-19

While remote working has always been a popular tool for many during the digital revolution, there has never been a time with as much unprecedented online growth as the COVID-19 crisis. From freelancers to multinational corporations, businesses near and far are looking into transferring more and more of their operations almost entirely online.

“It's an unexpected change, but also quite a welcome one,” said the director of Sphere IT, who provide support for business IT in London. “It could completely enhance work-life balance as we know it, while changing the faces of businesses around the world—forever.”

Results from Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance's recent study prove the future could see remote work become the new normal.

In fact, this transformation is perceived by most as an improvement, with a resounding 75% of UK businesses saying they had no qualms with their workforces operating remotely. The viewpoint is felt strongest in London, where 91% of SME business owners believe remote work is a positive thing. From startups to established IT support enterprises in London, workforces are changing more rapidly than ever.

Meanwhile, 0% had any issues with the change.

Compared to previous responses when COVID-19 first forced companies to work at home — only 52% approval in the UK as a whole, and 75% in London — it's clear where the country now stands.

Of course, some were not so quick to embrace this evolution. Prior to COVID-19, the results were not so unanimous, with many businesses concerned about how remote working would impact their operations: 6% worried about maintaining customer service, 7% about business logistics, and 12% about business set-sup.

With a remote workforce, businesses would likely have to find an IT assistance partner around London to help with the move — not to mention supply employees with training. However, it seems COVID-19 placed a cork in those fears as companies had no other choice but to accept the reality of online work.

Additionally, 34% of SME businesses in London did not have a work-from-home policy before the pandemic, prompting them to create one for the first time. As of now, nearly half the SME businesses in London are carrying on with a workforce operating fully from home.

Fortunately, the change is widely perceived as an improvement rather than a hindrance to progress. 81% of business owners said they believed the work-from-home trend would actually assist their business's growth. Another 83% are interested in giving employees the option to work remotely forever, even after the lockdown period.

Undoubtedly, the vast array of qualified IT support providers in London soothed concerns across the county as businesses found industry professionals to provide expert advice and assistance. Companies are expected to enjoy reduced costs due to eliminated maintenance fees from physical office locations, along with an increased opportunity to acquire talented employees from other parts of the world. In comparison, workers can also benefit from reduced commute times, flexible travel opportunities, and improved work-life balance.

While collogues may no longer have the opportunity to collaborate and mingle in-person anymore, many companies aren't letting COVID-19 restrictions get in the way of workplace morale. To keep operations fresh, 45% of SME business owners said they regularly provide virtual events for employees to communicate. Another 42% encourage employees to utilise online tools such as Skype and Zoom to collaborate on projects and communicate with other workers.

Overall, remote working has proven how resilient the UK's best businesses are even in the face of a global crisis like COVID-19. From pairing with an established IT assistance partner in London to keeping workplace culture alive, the lengths companies have taken to survive the pandemic hint towards what the relationships between employers and employees could look like in the future.

As of now, remote work remains the most popular option — and the only option — for those businesses hoping to stay afloat. Judging by the positive response, it could very well be a change that doesn't fade away, even after the pandemic.

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