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Remote work having a negative impact on many small businesses

Remote workers affecting businesses
Posted at 4:50 PM, Oct 06, 2021

DENVER, Colorado — Since the start of the pandemic, more businesses have allowed employees to work remotely. However, businesses that rely on customers who work in the office have been suffering, and experts say those businesses are needing to adapt.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, one in four Americans are working remotely from home.

GWA also estimates that 22% of the workforce will work remotely by 2025.

According to University of Denver economics professor Mac Clous, the trend may be here to stay.

“Well, that’s been a challenge for both the workers, the consumers, and the business,” Clous said. “Many people want to work from home, and the business is challenged with getting people back to work at the business especially for those businesses that doesn’t make sense for people working from home.”

Remote work is also affecting businesses that rely on office worker foot traffic.

“If you don’t have people in the high-rise buildings where those people use to be your lunch business there’s nobody walking around downtown during the lunch hour – there goes your business,” Clous said.

According to Bullseye capital, across the nation during the week there are fewer workers in downtown areas, meaning local shops dependent on those workers are taking a hit.

“It was very slow, somedays I could have counted a handful of people, it was very slow,” said Jenny Scaff. Who works with Vienna Dry Cleaners. “Our dry cleaners, the bulk of the people we get are businesspeople. If they’re not going into the office and not wearing their dress clothes, then they aren’t coming in. So, it affects our business completely.”

Since many office workers are working remotely, dry cleaning has slowed down that Vienna Dry Cleaners needed to adapt and shut down one of their buildings permanently.

“A lot of weddings have come up, and stuff so that’s helped us out quite a bit, but I’m sure that’s going to slow down when the fall comes,” Scaff said.

According to Clous, to survive, these types of businesses will need to change their marketing to target customers.

“The businesses who relied on foot traffic and people coming by because they happened to be in the area or workers in the building, they’re going to have to give people another reason to come into their business,” Clous said. “So, it really becomes a marketing challenge. How do you get to those people? How do you convince them to come down when it’s not the same 'cause they were there for work or happened to be in one of those buildings you have to reach out to them now.”