Aussie SMEs shifting online with the rest of the world in the wake of COVID-19

New research reveals that 59 per cent of small and medium businesses around the globe have fully embraced remote working as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. And Australian SMEs do not lag far behind their global counterparts in the online shift, with 57 per cent going that route.

The study, by software review platform Capterra, also shows that SMEs may also be embracing remote work as the way for them going forward, going even beyond the pandemic. More than half (55 per cent) of respondents worldwide believed their business could function permanently with remote work staff and a staggering 87 per cent of Australian respondents (68 per cent globally) would like to carry on with this trend.

The employees of Australian SMEs now preferring remote working cited as the key benefits no commuting (44 per cent), adjustable work hours (36 per cent) and a casual dress code (34 per cent).

Despite the benefits, SMEs cited some key challenges as well. Communication with colleagues posed a main challenge at 35 per cent among Australian employees and 32 per cent throughout the world. Unfortunately, it’s been revealed that only 37 per cent of companies across the globe have provided guidelines on this topic and also far fewer (26 per cent) on maintaining a healthy work / life balance.

Loneliness was another global issue with 32 per cent of respondents saying that a lack of social connections was a major emotional challenge. For Australians, 35 per cent cited issues with their internet connection which magnified the issues.

Capterra also noted that much of the workforce is basically unprepared in the face of cyberattacks. Despite many employees (46 per cent globally and 41 per cent in Australia) have changed their primary work password within the last month, SMEs still follow lax security practices, with 27 per cent still writing down their passwords and 45 per cent relying only on memory. In addition, 44 per cent of Australian respondents admit to sharing passwords between personal and business accounts and 68 per cent use a personal device for work.

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