While 79 percent of SMB employees are in favor of remote, flexible or smart working options, just 9 percent of SMB owners agree, according to the results of a recent Vodafone Ireland survey of 300 employees and 250 business owners at Irish companies with between 10 and 249 employees.
One third of SMB employees see smart working — leveraging technology to enable employees to work from home, a co-working hub, or a hybrid model — as a top priority in their current job, and 34 percent said they would likely or very likely change jobs for it.
Company culture is the barrier to adoption of remote or smart working, according to 60 percent of employees and 34 percent of employers. Still, 67 percent of employers believe it offers benefits to their workforce, and 49 percent of employees believe it improves work/life balance.
“Companies undoubtedly understand the numerous benefits of smart working for their employees but are often challenged to see the positive impact it has to their bottom line,” Abodoo co-founder Vanessa Tierney said in a statement.
“Company benefits include reduced overhead costs, increased employee productivity, retention and well-being, and unlimited access to new talent pools by focusing on skills rather than location,” Tierney added. “Companies of all sizes need to consider smart working in order to remain competitive and future-proof the growth of their business.”
Keeping Employees Happy
Business owners are aware of the need to take steps to improve employee satisfaction. Sixty percent said they’re planning to invest in the business within the next year, with 71 percent to be spent on employee attraction and retention, followed by sales (64 percent) and technology and digital tools (57 percent).
Sixty-nine percent of small businesses plan to increase their technology investments within the next one to five years — 74 percent of businesses said technology improves decision-making, and that IT and automation results in employees adapting and gaining new skills.
Still, 22 percent of employees said they don’t believe they have the necessary digital skills for their current job, and another 20 percent are unsure.
A separate Voxbone survey of 500 employees across the U.S. found that 37 percent agreed that remote working improves their work/life balance, while 40 percent were neutral and just 13 percent disagreed.
Forty percent of respondents said they work with remote employees.
When asked how they prefer to connect with remote employees, phone conversations (29 percent) were the most popular option, followed by texts (13 percent), IM (10 percent) and video (7 percent).
The biggest issues facing remote teams, according to respondents, are a lack of relationship building (32 percent), poor communication (18 percent), and difficulty staying organized (13 percent). Notably, 37 percent cited all three issues as a significant challenge.