SMEs have a number of appealing advantages over larger businesses. One such advantage is the ability to develop a close-knit family type relationship among team members. In larger corporations, individual workers might feel like they have been swallowed up by the company and their departments; leading to superficial relationships. The notoriety of the small business proves that people still find value in the intimate workplace.

With COVID-19 leaving catastrophic impacts around the entire world, SMEs in particular were put under specific strain. In order to survive, SMEs have had to adapt and transform in order to adjust to an office culture from the comfort of home. While online interactions can never compare to the in-person experience, many small businesses, found that being apart actually meant working closer together than ever before.

With a small team, it is important that every member be on the same page. With COVID-19 forcing a transition out of the office, workers have been forced to realise just how reliant they are on their peers.

Company camaraderie must be reinforced when working from home in order to maintain high productivity. Due to the smaller size of SMEs compared to larger corporations, the bonds between SME colleagues can actually prove to be a saviour to many who feel alone.

As many businesses look to return to the office, it’s important to acknowledge that employees may feel apprehensive about engaging. Although some workers might feel closer to their company and co-workers in the aftermath, it can be stressful to consider how the office chemistry has changed in the absence of person-to-person interactions. SMEs that remained closed during the pandemic will have to once again accommodate an upheaval and ensure that culture is not compromised.

It should be a priority for office leaders to recognise that not all team members will immediately feel comfortable about returning to the office. Open and transparent communication will be key to ensuring efficient engagement. Having all team members on the same page about sanitary procedures and accountability will ensure that office normality is just around the corner.

Reintegrating into the workplace can serve as a much needed welcome for workers who crave social interaction. However, it is important to keep in mind that re-entry best practices and standard operating procedures are being kept in place.

SMEs need to keep clear channels of communications, with leaders conducting regular check-ups on individual employees to ensure that workers feel valued during times of change. Remember to look after employees and prove to be there for them during times of stress and need.

Despite the new and daunting challenges that 2020 has brought, SME business culture has proven to be one of the greatest support systems for employees across the world. SME culture promotes the family-like values that many workers hold dear to their hearts, and the rewards of working for a small business can often provide support during difficult times.


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