Hybrid working has had such a positive effect on the bottom line of many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that owners are now thinking about all the different ways they can cater to this - including an idea that is growing more popular by the day - a four-day working week.
Video conference device makers Owl Labs recently polled 500 business leaders in the UK, 250 of which ran SMBs, finding that 82% of plan on having a hybrid, flexible or remote workforce even after the pandemic subsides.
Almost half (49%) believe hybrid working makes the business more profitable and allows it to tap into wider talent pools. What’s more, 36% said it has a positive impact on employee retention, while almost half (42%) witnessed it boosting employee wellbeing.
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That being said, a quarter of SMB leaders are now thinking about new HR policies to cater to hybrid working. A four-day working week (38%), core hours (39%) and work from anywhere policies (32%) are the three most popular ones. The “right to disconnect”, in which employees are encouraged not to work, answer emails or calls, after the usual working hours, is also on the table for a quarter of SMBs.
Investing in new tech
All these things won’t come at the expense of the salaries, the report further uncovered, as just 11% of the respondents said they were planning on reducing the salaries of fully remote employees.
To realize these ideas, two in five are investing in new technology solutions and communication tools. A quarter are also considering refunding whatever new equipment employees purchase for work, significantly less than 51% of large businesses.
For Frank Weishaupt, Owl Labs CEO, it’s great to see SMBs reaping the benefits of hybrid work, but they shouldn’t be complacent. “It’s important that SMEs don’t fall behind when it comes to technology adoption,” he says.
“We need to ensure that there is a level playing field so that small businesses - which form the backbone of the UK economy - can access the right technology that will enable them to continue to benefit from hybrid work and retain the best talent,” he concluded.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.