In the early stages, startups are confident that in the next 6 months after the opening of COVID-19 they will open their offices. But: there will be changes.
Exclusive survey compiled by Forum foundersUsing TechCrunch, it turned out that 63% of respondents said that they would reopen only after 1-3 months or after 3-6 months – even if the government says that before that it is safe. A minority reopened their offices, while 10% closed their office forever.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that this will have a long-term impact on the model of office work, with most respondents saying that they will now switch to a flexible model of remote work (some with permanent offices, some without), but only with a small number plan a “normal” return to work. A very small number plan to become completely “remote”. Many cited the ongoing benefits of face-to-face communication when they tried to create a team culture that was so important to early stage companies.
Massive office closings during a pandemic
Of the 349 respondents who responded to the survey, 84% said they closed their office during the COVID-19 pandemic; 5% said no; and 8% said that this is not applicable (i.e. closing the office is not required). Most of the respondents were at the “Seed” or “Presowing” stage, with a minority after the “Series A.” stage.
It is important to note that the vast majority of respondents (66%) said that the need to return to the office was not “critical for business,” while 33% thought it was. Currently, startups are closely divided by the feeling of the need to return to the office: 46% said they feel the need, and 53% said no.
The survey was launched by TechCrunch and a British nonprofit organization. Forum founders to evaluate how startups will work in the future, after the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on office work and the transition to Work from Home policies. Of the 349 responses, 61% were from the UK, 20% from the United States, and the rest from other countries.
Brent Hoberman, the founder of the Forum who initiated the study, commented on the results: “The results prove that technology founders are adaptable in the early stages and that entrepreneurship is one of the most suitable professions for remote work. Most early stage founders did not see how performance suffered during this period, but it remains to be seen what will happen to creative outcomes, team culture, and long-term learning. In addition, there is clear scope for new types of even more flexible shared social workspaces, with the vast majority of respondents still seeing value in face-to-face communication. ”
Remote work improves productivity but affects culture
Remote work during COVID-19 did not seem to affect performance: 55% of startups said they worked more than usual; 30% in the same hours, and 13% less hours.
In response to the question: “Are you going to permanently change how and where your team works together?”: 48% said they would accept a more flexible work schedule (for example, days of remote work); 33% will accept the remote first installation (for example, a rented place for key meetings / seminars); 13% plan a normal return to work; and only 4% will accept a completely remote configuration.
As for plans to open offices, 36% plan to open in 1-3 months “as soon as the government reports that it is safe”; 27% in 3-6 months “even if the government reports that it is safe to do so before”; 16% replied: “Already open – employees visit if it suits them”; 10% said: “We closed the office forever”; and 9% said they plan to open in 6-12 months “even if the government says it’s safe to do this before.”
Having a full choice in this matter, 81% of respondents said that they would prefer a hybrid of office and remote work, while only 11% would like to work remotely, and 8% – in the office. And 83% would like to set days when the whole team is in the office together.
Comments on why they think opening an office — in one form or another — was critical to the business included the following respondent comments:
• “My employees hope to return to work if they do not have enough space from home”
• “The need for top management sessions, where personal work is much more effective than remote video calls”
• “Lack of ability to solve problems face to face and create teams”
• “The ability to support novice employees and start new ones”
• “I believe that either completely remote or completely personal settings are effective. The halfway house is inefficient. ”
• “It is too difficult to achieve cross-pollination and the high-speed communication needed at our early stage.”
• “Culture. Younger team members cannot work at home all the time (sharing). Some parents need an office to focus. ”
• “We are a biotechnology company, and we need to work in our laboratories”
• “We execute an order from our warehouse.”
• “The team members are asking for this because they can no longer work alone in their apartment”
Most startups offer remote work options to “some” employees (52%) or all employees (31%). About 16% did not offer any kind of remote work at all, especially in areas like BioTech, where remote work from the laboratory is not possible.
Office space is still being adapted
There were mixed results when startups asked if they were reviewing their leases as a result of COVID-19, 16% of those who were in the short-term contract said they had and were successful, but 16% said they had, but could not to reconsider. About 14% of long-term leases successfully revised negotiations, 14% said they were still negotiating, and 11% had canceled membership in their work area.
About 41% of startups or their landlords did not conduct a risk assessment at the workplace, 25% – while 33% were still planning.
Offices, it seems, are responding well: either 40% have already taken measures to improve job security, or 34% are planning, and 25% are not, probably due to the fact that they do not have an office or room for collaboration.
Most people (58%) said they consider the work that they do remotely “to be trusted and respected as well as the work that I do in the workplace.” Most (50%) said their home setting was “good, but not perfect.”
WFH affects working practice
To the question “What tools or processes of remote productivity became your secret weapon during COVID-19?” Known answers included:
• Miro, Trello, Zoom, Asana, Airtable, Slack, Microsoft Teams (among many others)
• “Two screens.”
• “Dedicated office space at home”
• “Usual. Departure at 17:30 and walk / walk »
• “Say hello and prioritize chats via video communication every time, even though we all have work, watching social goodwill is even more important. “
• “The company launched Summer Fridays calling for no work after 13:00 on Fridays – less pressure to be“ always on ””
• “The ability to move away and recharge your batteries, communicating with your family when necessary during the day.”
• “Old school phone calls”
Mental Health Impact
Almost 80% said that as a result of their remote work during COVID-19, there were no significant changes in their mental health, with a small number of patients experiencing either negative or positive effects.