SME employees fear they will not be able to benefit from hybrid work

Most small business workers anticipate that they will be primarily in the office when Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, due to high administrative burden and paper-based processes.

BY RRHHDigital, 1:30 p.m. – June 24, 2021

Workers in small businesses across Europe fear they will be forced to return to the office because remote working does not allow them to focus on the customer experience or growing the business.

The new study published by Ricoh concerned more than 1,400 employees of small European companies (less than 250 employees). The majority (58%) predict that they will be primarily in the office when the Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. At the same time, they foresee obstacles and difficulties in working dynamically due to constantly changing customer demands. Almost half (45%) say they will be more productive with less administrative burden. Traditional ways of working prevent small businesses from achieving a stronger bottom line because their staff have less time to sell more or limited time to find new business models. As these opportunities are lost, employee creativity, motivation and satisfaction are hampered by performing monotonous and routine tasks.

Employee workload is a key factor in returning to the office, exacerbated by the lack of tools to support high-value telecommuting tasks and underinvestment in automated processes. Two in five employees struggle to access the business systems knowledge and information they need to provide better customer service while working remotely, limiting the fast, convenient, and personalized service that sets small businesses apart. This could favor larger competitors whose staff typically have access to the data needed to optimize the customer experience. Half of those surveyed (51%) believe automated processes are the answer. In addition to improving the work experience, it would support talent retention efforts, such as the sales area, which are often the face of the business. Indeed, one in four (25%) plans to look for work in a company better equipped for teleworking. At the same time, the automation of key processes would support efforts to build customer loyalty and position small businesses as more digitally savvy entities.

Xavier Moreno, Marketing Director of Ricoh Spain and Portugal, affirms that: “We have been supporting small businesses in their digital transformation challenges for years, and we know that their resources to invest in technology are very limited. Accessing all documentation remotely and securely has a positive and immediate impact on their agility and productivity. Small businesses often only recognize their needs when they discover that by effectively automating their processes, they can achieve cost savings that are critical to their survival and competitiveness. Optimizing its resources and betting on it agile access to information can constitute not only a step forward in their way of working, but also a continuous and solid growth towards the consolidation of a true digital company ”.

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