By Dagmawi Demeke
In developed nations, remote work is becoming more popular each year. An increasing number of professionals now work from home, either as their primary office or as a secondary space (such as in the case of a telecommuting arrangement).
In Addis Ababa, working remotely can offer many benefits for startups beginning their journey and small businesses struggling to retain their employees.
A simple search of the term “remote” on Freelance Ethiopia, one of the largest job listing platforms, reveals that little over 2000 of the 38067 jobs listed on the platform in the previous four years were remote.
Due to the terrible traffic in the country and the lack of transportation, employers sometimes demand their employees be located in the same district as their business.
Experts studying the field have suggested several reasons for the traffic congestion that can be noticed in practically every part of the city. Some of the hurdles to modernizing the industry include poor road conditions, an imbalance in the expansion of the number of cars and roadways, and a lack of planned infrastructure.
Developing a remote work culture in Addis Ababa’s budding startup ecosystem can help ease the burden on employees, employers, and the country as a whole.
According to Startup Blink, the Ethiopian startup ecosystem is ranked at number 105 globally and has shown a negative momentum of 5 spots since 2021. Ethiopia’s startup ecosystem also ranks 6th in Eastern Africa. Two Ethiopian cities in the country are ranked in the top 1,000. The top-ranked city in Ethiopia is Addis Ababa, meanwhile globally Addis sits at 489. Jimma follows Addis Ababa at 1189.
A remote work culture can give both startups and small businesses a greater chance of success by offering greater flexibility, providing a wider talent pool, saving them money on real estate costs and utilities, reducing employee stress, and improving productivity.
Offering remote work in the tech sector for service-based startups and small businesses can also help alleviate the growing migration stress Addis Ababa is constantly undergoing.
Here are five reasons why your small business should consider implementing remote work practices:
Small Businesses Can Save Money by Going Remote
Businesses looking to make the leap to remote work will find that there are significant savings associated with the transition. The overhead costs will be considerably lower. If your business is growing and you need room to expand, you may find it difficult to find a location that suits your needs. Going remote can be a great way to avoid this problem.
You can easily accommodate a growing staff by hiring more people who work remotely. If you have an in-office staff, you also need to pay for things like utilities, furniture, and real estate costs. All of these expenses can add up quickly. In contrast, remote employees don’t need any of those things. You don’t need to provide insurance, benefits, furniture, or even utilities for a home office.
Employees Can Reduce Stress and be More Productive Working Remotely
Keeping employees happy and healthy can be a major challenge for any business, especially for small businesses with limited human resources. However, working remotely can help reduce stress and boost productivity. Employees who work from home are less stressed and more productive than people who work in an office. This can help the company by reducing turnover and keeping the best employees longer.
Employees Have Greater Flexibility and Freedom Working Remotely
According to the federal transport administration, 69% of all cars in Ethiopia are found in the capital Addis Ababa. This has created many limitations in the economy to the point where employers are demanding employees be in the same district where the venture is situated.
The majority of urban residents spend hours traveling across town. That is money lost and time wasted, and both the people, businesses, and the economy suffer as a result.
People who work remotely often report having more freedom and greater flexibility. They can set their own schedules and balance work and family. Working from home also lets employees avoid traffic, which can be a major stressor.
“Offering flexible remote working conditions has enabled me to hire outstanding people that I would not have been able to hire as full-time employees because they all have commitments elsewhere. Remote work allows entrepreneurs to tap into a larger talent pool while also providing professionals with the potential to earn more money each month. It’s a win-win situation for both sides, “said Bereketab Tsegaye, CEO and founder of Xenon Digitals marketing solution.
Working remotely also gives employees the flexibility to work during times when they’re less distracted. This often includes early mornings or late evenings when there is less distraction so employees can stay focused on the work at hand.
Remote Employees Don’t Need Equipment
Remote employees don’t need fancy equipment or specialized furniture to do their jobs. They can use their own laptops, smartphones, and internet connections to do the work. You don’t have to worry about whether your employees have the right equipment or spend money setting up a centralized office space with computers. This can help both the business and employees save a lot of time and money.
It Helps Build a Culture of Collaboration and Professional Development
It might seem counterintuitive, but working remotely can help your employees feel more connected to one another and boost productivity through collaboration. Employees can feel like they have a stake in the company when they have a say in the way things are done and they feel like they are part of a team. Having the freedom to work remotely while still maintaining a professional demeanor can also foster a culture of professionalism and respect, which is important for any company.
In conclusion, remote work can be beneficial for companies and employees, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and risks that need to be managed properly. If you want your startup to be able to compete with established businesses and other startups with more funds than you, offering remote and flexible working conditions might just be what you need to not only survive the competition but thrive and mature in your sector.
Dagmawi Demeke is a digital marketing specialist, SEO strategist, and freelance writer serving both local and international businesses in various sectors. Dagmawi can be reached at [email protected].