“Too Small for Smart Working”? Think Again!

Business Continuity is Essential for Every Company

Despite all the ways that smart working has come to dominate the conversation in office work, for many small businesses, the practice still seems a bridge too far.

Sure, governments and private citizens alike are clamoring for quarantines and social distancing. But that doesn’t always translate to localized players deciding to start smart working themselves.

It seems a risky investment, for one thing, as the ROI on it is unclear. For another, smart working still carries a certain connotation of high-earning salespeople or companies set up with a scenic view of the downtown skyline — painting the picture of a luxury that more humbly sized teams can’t afford.

The reality, though, is the value in smart working transcends business size. Less important than the scale of your operation is the feasibility of doing it off-site; if your organization has work that can be done from a home setup, it’s worth making the investment. End of story.

The biggest reason why is one that recent events have taught us painfully well: business continuity.

With self-quarantining now the norm, the idea that work can continue outside the office has shifted from a far-off ideal to an immediate necessity. Now, the traditional workplace is no longer an option for continuing productivity; that means either work from home, or shut down entirely. To say that’s an option only the big players can have is to needlessly limit the vast possibilities of smart working.

In fact, it’s just as short-sighted to limit smart working’s usefulness only to the current pandemic. After all, a traditional workplace can get shut down for a variety of other, less drastic reasons: flooding, power outages, construction and mechanical issues all lead to an unusable office as well, after all.

Except, with smart working, who cares if your office is unusable? With remote working, none of these disasters will lead to a company shutting down. Instead, they just create a detour in your business’s path forward.

Still, smart working doesn’t only function as a kind of insurance policy. We also shouldn’t discount the benefits that smart working has outside of disaster scenarios: to name a few, there’s increased employee retention, better company morale, more productivity and fewer employee absences due to illness. (We’ve got more on this in previous posts.)

All of those benefits have real value, as on their own they can easily lead to increased profits for an organization of any scale. Yet what’s really shifting the model from “benefit” to “necessity” is that point of business continuity, the reliability of ongoing work. It’s one thing to go from good productivity one month to great productivity the next — but going from zero productivity to regular levels of work? That’s a profit margin no business owner should have room to turn down.

Given that understanding, the question really isn’t what size your business is; it’s whether you want to keep it running under any circumstances. No matter what scale you operate on, a team of 500 coworkers or 5, that degree of stability is well worth investing in.

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