Digitization of SMEs is most often mentioned as a positive effect of the corona crisis

According to four out of ten SMEs in business services, the corona crisis has had a positive impact on the digitalisation of their business. At the same time, work from home during the pandemic has also boosted the emergence of the hybrid workplace, according to 38 percent, and has definitely blurred the line between the ‘home office’ and the traditional work environment. This has partly ensured that a third of entrepreneurs believe that the corona crisis has had a beneficial effect on employees’ work-life balance. Two years of corona have also led to other major shifts in the way SMEs do business in business services. It shows research conducted by Teamleader, a market leader in Work Management software. In the e-book ‘The SME feeling now’ she makes status after two years with corona. More than 300 SME entrepreneurs and five experts share their insights and experiences on how they have embarked on the path to recovery and growth.

The corona crisis has turned many SME entrepreneurs in business services upside down. From one day to the next, office life was replaced by a home office, and the revenue model of many companies was under pressure. Contrary to what many entrepreneurs feared, it did not happen at the expense of productivity. For example, four out of ten employers see that homework has had a positive effect on productivity rather than the other way around (10 percent). Now that entrepreneurs are looking back on this radical period, it seems that the pandemic did not only have negative sides. When asked which aspects they learned the most from, the insights SMEs gained into their company’s financial performance and revenue were mentioned the most (48 percent). Many entrepreneurs have also learned about the importance of a good work-life balance for employees (44 percent), the positive results of hybrid work (44 percent) and the importance of a strong internal culture (38 percent).

Balance between financial stability and innovation

After two years of corona, most SMEs in business services look to the future with confidence. Although almost three out of five entrepreneurs have positive expectations for the future of their business, and 57 percent are optimistic about their own sector, more than a third emphasize that a solid economic base and the creation of economic buffers are their main focus. For example, the crisis has also left its mark, with 40 per cent stating that it has had a negative impact on their economic performance. They are therefore cautious and focus their plans for the coming year primarily on the financial buffers of their business rather than new investments. The mental health of employees and the internal culture and job satisfaction of the workforce were also negatively affected by corona, according to 34 percent of entrepreneurs, and therefore have more attention from SMEs.

“Despite all kinds of uncertainty, most SMEs in business services are positive about the future. This optimism is also reflected in growth expectations. For example, almost three out of ten SMEs state that they expect to achieve growth by 2022. More than half are still reluctant, depending on whether they will really succeed in suppressing the corona virus. Developments in Ukraine are also creating new uncertainties, ”says Jeroen de Wit, CEO of Teamleader. “However, the corona crisis has proven that the average SME entrepreneur is creative, robust and resourceful. In this way, new forms of communication and services were quickly established – online, virtual and digital. Against all odds, productivity has increased in many companies. As a result, entrepreneurs who were initially skeptical of the ‘work from home experiment’ quickly realized the great benefits of digitization. ”

Entrepreneurship in the ‘new normal’

Corona has demanded flexibility and adaptability from many companies. Almost half of SMEs in business services expect that the business has changed forever and that their business must always adapt to a new reality. De Wit: “Digitization is crucial for innovation. This is especially important now that many companies are once again growing and struggling to recruit new employees. This forces them to find other ways to increase productivity even more. Digitization and use of business software allows employees to collaborate faster and more efficiently, saving valuable time. It is positive that many entrepreneurs are now much more aware of this. ”

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