A new remote work study from Ring Central finds that the hybrid work model that small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) adopted due to the pandemic is likely to continue.
SMBs were primarily or completely in the office before the pandemic hit a year ago. However, now 60% of businesses are operating on at least a partially remote basis, and two thirds of those surveyed have no expectation of returning to the office full time, according to the survey.
Part of the reason – 66% of SMBs see remote work as more of an asset than a hindrance.
However, the move to remote work provides fewer work interactions with coworkers, customers and prospects. While in-person interactions are expected to rise as vaccines get to more of the population and businesses continue to open more fully, those interactions are not expected to go back to pre-COVID levels.
Before than pandemic, 44% of respondents said that more than 75% of their job involved interacting with coworkers and customers in person. That figure has dropped to 29% now and is only expected to recover to 36% in the next year.
“The way businesses connect and communicate has fundamentally changed and perhaps contrary to popular opinion, SMBs are at the forefront of this change,” said Faiza Hughell, senior vice president, SMB at RingCentral, in a prepared statement.
“The pandemic forced small businesses to rapidly adapt, causing a shift in attitude towards remote work. Now SMBs have emerged as early adopters of hybrid work, leading the charge when it comes to supporting employees working from anywhere.”
Among the report’s other findings: