With the tragic loss of life, the lockdowns, the case for the best way forward for both the economy and the NHS, a stressful 12 months have passed since the pandemic officially hit the UK shores.
With millions of people working from home, even the housing market has seen a surge, perhaps predictable but somewhat unexpected. This surge in property prices and interest in the property market is due to the government’s reduction in stamp duty and the increase in remote working. In the past, daily commuting to a congested city center was a necessary evil for many workers and entrepreneurs, but no longer. However, pioneering Silicon Valley companies like Twitter have stated that a large percentage of their workforce can work from home permanently. Many other businesses, large and small, that report an increase in productivity have continued to work remotely to some extent.
The technology that enables remote work has been around for several years. For example, Zoom and Microsoft teams are great for online video conferencing. However, questions remained about security, productivity, IT infrastructure, and various factors such as questions about employees forgetting login credentials or even damaging laptops with kids or coffee! For the most part, remote working appears to have been a success.
Flexjobs recently conducted an interesting survey. 65% of respondents said they wanted to be full-time remote workers after the pandemic, and 31% wanted a hybrid remote working environment. 96% said they would like some type of remote work. With employees having this preference, companies and business owners will use these stats to help retain and recruit top talent.
According to Companies House, the number of UK-based tech startups rose 16% in Q4 2020, as analyzed by RSM.
The rise in tech startups is due to the increased demand for remote-controlled technology. Acceptance and the ability to start a business remotely is also a factor – you no longer need an office to be considered a legitimate business.
Remote businesses, also known as “distributed businesses,” have grown dramatically as millions of them have been forced to work from home. This work-from-home model has changed the norm and is no longer considered groundbreaking or fancy for starting a remote business.
The move to remote work has opened the door to many entrepreneurs, young and old. According to statista, the cost of office space in London is the highest in Europe. In the first quarter of 2020, London’s West End recorded an average rental price of £ 112.5 per square foot per month.
Remote working and the introduction of a distributed working model reduce the financial risk considerably, as there is no longer any need to invest in office rent and at least some of the office hardware, including computers and furniture, does not have to be purchased.
While tech startups – thanks to the increased demand for technology and the ability to start a business from home – have benefited twofold from this transition to remote work, there have been many existing businesses that have moved away from the home office. Revolution have benefited.
Based on the borders of Cheshire and now in the US, Moneypenny has continued to hire more virtual receptionists to manage their award-winning business live chat and answering service. With the number of employees increasing by 15% since March 2020, Moneypenny is currently hiring 100 new employees and opening a new office in Atlanta, USA.
With the remote working model, companies can still give the impression of a stationary presence if they so wish, with a virtual address and a dedicated virtual reception service. In either case, reducing the number of unwanted distributions from unwanted phone calls can be another way to increase productivity, as research shows that it takes around 25 minutes to get back to work after a single interruption.
Outsourcing is increasing
Outsourcing live chat and phone answering may be just the tip of a significant iceberg in terms of the outsourcing trend in 2021.
Outsourcing has increased since the early 1990s. According to fortunly.com, nearly 54% of all US companies use third-party support teams to connect with customers. In the UK, a report released by MTW Research said that 85% of facility management contractors reported growth and healthy financial performance despite the September 2020 pandemic. Talk-business.co.uk also reported that call center outsourcing providers have been inundated since the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting that outsourcing has allowed UK businesses to be flexible about themselves during the COVID-19 outbreak to adapt to changing needs and requirements of customers.
Outsourcing can be a great leverage for business owners and entrepreneurs looking to grow their business while limiting financial risk during these uncertain times. For example, an entrepreneur can potentially run a relatively large organization while remaining the only employee. By outsourcing reception services, filtering and answering e-mails, web design and digital marketing, a “solo preneur”, for example, can concentrate on the work to be done. By concentrating on the company’s core work and allowing contractors to take care of everything on the periphery, an entrepreneur can save an enormous amount of time.
For example, interruptions and distractions are more time consuming than many of us think. According to a study by the University of California, it takes an average of “23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to work” after a single distraction. When a business owner tries to answer the phone, reply to emails, and promote his own business, the time and focus required on the core business of the business is greatly reduced.
However, outsourcing can cover more than just administrative and peripheral tasks. While a virtual assistant and answering machine can save you hours a day growing a business, sites like UpWork and PeoplePerHour can find freelance contractors with specialized skills. For example, if you run a digital marketing agency, it is relatively easy to find a qualified Google Ads freelancer online. If you hire a seasoned freelancer overseas, you can often benefit from geo-arbitrage – that is, you can hire someone in a country with a relatively weak currency compared to the British pound. For example, one pound sterling is equal to 67 Philippine pesos at the time of writing. This exchange rate means it is possible to hire highly skilled freelancers from the Philippines for as little as £ 10 an hour.
Although the future remains uncertain, it is very likely that remote working will stay here. While the pandemic will leave its mark in many devastating and tragic ways, it can also mark the transition to remote working. The impact on the UK economy is not yet known. However, it seems possible that daily migration to the inner city is stuttering, even after the pandemic and in rural areas there may be a renaissance in housing markets. Remote working has also opened the proverbial door for many entrepreneurs who took the opportunity to start a business without the financial obligations of a traditional office-based company with in-house staff.