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With restrictions lifting and bosses given discretion as to how and from where their staff work, almost half (47%) of small businesses expect their teams to be working remotely on a permanent basis with 39% ready to offer their employees greater flexibility to be based at home.
This leaves many SME owners needing to ensure long-term solutions are adopted to balance the needs of their workers with those of the business, with almost a quarter (24%) expecting their businesses to be 100% online within the next five years.
More than half (54%) of SMEs believe increasing their digital footprint is key to their future growth as 40% admit they would not still be trading without their digital lifeline during the pandemic.
Record numbers of small businesses, accounting for 99% of UK companies and 60% of the total workforce, were established during the pandemic and many existing SMEs have found themselves accelerating through unplanned digital change. However, many require help and support to overhaul their infrastructure.
About 27% of SMEs said they did not have plans to increase their digital presence before the pandemic, pointing to the scale of the transformation for many UK businesses, according to research by Cisco published today.
Aston spoke to Aine Rogers, head of small business for UK & Ireland at Cisco.
Photo by Glenn Carstens Peter on Unsplash