In the past year, millions of businesses have transitioned to working from home. Many of these businesses have had plans to retain this operational model permanently – but a great deal of these changes were intended to be temporary measures to accommodate the pandemic.
Similarly, many new businesses emerging in the modern world begin with a remote work model; it makes financial sense for young, cash-strapped businesses to save money and remain agile. But they have long-term plans to move to an office and construct a more conventional work environment.
In both cases, leaders are tasked with making an important decision: is it better to stay working remotely or transition back to a traditional office?
Transitioning to a Long-Term Remote Work Model
If you’re currently enjoying the benefits of remote work, you might consider making it a permanent fixture in your organization. It’s tempting to simply keep things exactly as they are, so you can keep running smoothly, but there’s a better approach.
Many businesses transitioned to a remote work model in a hurry, merely translating and reimagining existing processes for a slightly new environment. While functional and sustainable, this model may not yield the best possible results. Instead, its better to design your workflows and operational model from the ground up with remote work in mind.
For example, if you’re used to having round-table meetings every Wednesday morning, you might have simply changed those meetings to occur over Zoom instead of in person. But if you’re designing new workflows from the ground up, you might be able to replace that meeting entirely with a check-in on a project management platform.
Heading Back to the Office
Heading back to the office will present some challenges of its own, especially if you don’t currently have an office to go back to. If you and your team are used to working remotely, working in an office will be a major challenge for both productivity and morale. On top of that, you’ll need to find a new location that can accommodate your team.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to exclusively transition to a fully remote model or a traditional office. You could also try to adopt some kind of hybrid model, taking advantage of the best of both worlds.
This is tricky to pull off in practice, since you’ll essentially be managing multiple instances of your business simultaneously. However, you may be able to divide things efficiently based on something like:
- Roles. You might allow some of your team members to work from home, while others are required to be in the office regularly.
- Population segments. You could also establish a traditional office in your home city, while engaging with a much bigger remote workforce that is distributed across the country (or across the world).
- Days/hours. You may also split working from an office and working from home according to days or hours. For example, you might allow the team to work from home Thursday and Friday while coming into the office Monday through Wednesday.
If you do this, your best bet for preserving employee morale is giving them some level of autonomy; in other words, let employees be in control of as much of their work environment as possible. Allow them to choose how they prefer to work.
Key Factors to Consider
So how are you supposed to make this decision?
You’ll need to spend some time reviewing the data available to you, including both objective metrics and subjective feedback.
- Productivity changes. One of the most important variables will be changes in productivity. After transitioning to working from home, how has productivity changed? Are your team members able to complete more tasks in a given period of time? Are they more likely to achieve their goals than before? It’s hard to argue with the benefits of remote work when your business is literally more profitable in a remote environment.
- Morale changes. You’ll also need to think about the morale changes within your team. Many people appreciate the opportunity to work from home, skipping the daily commute, getting more free time, and having the chance to create their own work environment from scratch – exactly how they want it. Happy workers will be willing to work harder for your organization and will be much less likely to leave. That said, there’s no guarantee that working from home has led to a morale increase; lonely and/or dissatisfied workers may benefit from going back to the office.
- Customer/client experiences. Has there been any meaningful impact on your clients and customers? For example, are customers benefitting from a faster response time when they reach out to your customer service team? Or has there been any slowdown since transitioning to working from home? Would you be able to provide more services to clients directly if you had a physical establishment for your business?
- Remote work infrastructure. If you’re utilizing digital platforms to do most of the heavy lifting in your business, your exact location probably won’t matter much. If you have project management platforms in place, solid workflows for remote work, and plenty of communication channels to support remote work, there’s less of a reason to go back to the office. If you’re struggling in the remote work world, an office environment may be superior.
- Employee feedback and opinions. How do employees feel about the idea of going back to the office? Is there a consensus that working from home is better? Or are people missing the idea of working together in an office again? Be sure to collect opinions from all your team members and examine the data both quantitatively and qualitatively.
- Scope of current workforce. Where are your team members currently located? If 90 percent of your team is operating in the same city, because you used to work in the same office building, the transition to an office will be much easier than if you’re working with employees and contractors all over the world.
- Existing office resources. Do you currently have an office to go back to? If so, the transition would be much easier. If you need to look for a brand new building, you’ll have to spend a lot of time and money finding the right place.
- Security. You’ll also need to consider the security of your operations. With the right tools and practices, remote work can be perfectly secure – but if your setup is currently optimized for a traditional work environment, you’ll need to make some major changes to be successful.
- Ongoing office costs. How much would it cost to maintain a traditional office environment? There are many costs to consider, including the office lease, the cost of utilities, and the cost of maintenance and upkeep. Is it really worth the money just to have people in close proximity to each other?
- Teambuilding dynamics. How are your team members working together and getting along? Has there been a significant drop in camaraderie and/or team dynamics since you’ve been working from home? Is there any other way you can repair this?
- Future flexibility. Thanks to IoT and other advanced technologies, it’s getting easier and easier to transition between traditional and remote work environments. But it’s still important to think about the long-term future of the company. What’s your vision for the next 10 years? Will you have the flexibility to make changes in the years to come?
Some of these factors will be more important to your business than others. It’s important to understand your top goals and priorities before doing the analysis and making the final call.
Remote work and traditional office-based environments each have their advantages and disadvantages; be careful not to make a decision based on your preconceived notions of how these work environments function. Analyze objective data wherever you can, consider every option available to you, and make gradual changes until your work environment is everything you need it to be.
RUSSIA’S DEFAULT IS A REALITY AS GRACE MONTH IS OVER
Russia’s default has finally arrived on its sovereign debt in foreign currency for the first time in more than a century. Moscow has been unable to pay the interest on two bonds in dollars despite having enough foreign exchange reserves to do so. Investors assure that they have not received payment after the grace month.
Russia is showing the consequences of the sanctions the West has massively imposed on it after the war against Ukraine.
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For months, the country has managed to find ways and shortcuts to wade through the measures that tried to isolate the government of Vladimir Putin and make the country fall into technical default. In the end, the West has achieved its goal, albeit somewhat later than expected.
Although Russia had the capacity to meet this payment, leading economic indicators —the composite PMI sank in March and remain below 50, indicating that the economy is contracting— reveal that the country is facing one of the major economic crises of recent decades.
With double-digit inflation and several leading companies on the way out, Russia will face a deep recession and perhaps years of economic stagnation.
The one-month grace period expired on Sunday on around $100 million of trapped interest payments due May 27, a deadline that is considered an event of default if not paid in the correct currency, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s default is also backed by other data. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Russian Government had a debt of around $40 billion in hard currency at the end of 2021 —a relatively small amount.
Although the total foreign debt exceeds $470 billion, only part of that amount is in foreign currency and a smaller part is still a liability to the Russian Government.
This is a clear symptom of the rapid transformation that the country is facing, both financially and economically. Russia will have to go on without the foreign capital flows that have historically helped finance investments in emerging countries.
The nation’s Eurobonds have been trading on the secondary market at very low levels since early March, while the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves remain frozen. Russia’s largest banks are cut off from the global financial system, leaving the country in isolation.
Published First on ValueWalk. Read Here.
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Take Inspiration From Trending and Successful eCommerce Businesses
Believe it or not, online shopping has become a massive trend nowadays, and its popularity is increasing daily. Of course, we were already in the era of digitalization, but this entire pandemic situation has made eCommerce industries flourish more than expected in the last few years.
Nowadays, everything is digitized as people buy food, groceries, cosmetics, clothes, and even electronic gadgets online. This digital revolution has made it easier for creative founders to convert their dreams and ideas into a waking reality.
Old ways and patterns of handling businesses are changing every day, and business owners need to adapt to the fluctuating market trends. And in this, some trending eCommerce businesses have taken this eCommerce industry to a whole new level. They are ruling and conquering like a boss.
Here in this blog, we will be discussing such inspiring eCommerce businesses. So, keep reading to find out more and cope for the better.
What are The Types of eCommerce Businesses?
E-commerce businesses are not limited to one particular business model. Instead, there are various sorts of eCommerce business models as per their business offerings. So have a look at some of the highly prevalent eCommerce models.
- Business to Consumer (B2C): The process of selling from business to customer comes under B2C type E-commerce.
- Business to Business (B2B): The buying and selling process between businesses comes under the B2B type of E-commerce.
- Direct to Consumer(D2C): This new idea of selling directly to end customers without the involvement of any retailer comes under D2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C): Consumer-to-consumer sales on platforms like eBay, Etsy, Fiver, and many more come under C2C type E-commerce.
- Consumer to Business (C2B): An individual selling their services to different businesses comes C2B type E-commerce.
Examples of Successful E-commerce Businesses
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is popularly known for producing designer, reliable and inexpensive frames for eyeglasses. An MBA student, Neil Blumenthal, and 3 of his friends launched this eCommerce company in 2010. They proposed the idea in 2008, and took nearly two years to implement.
Their idea of business was something very essential at that period because Luxottica (Another eyewear brand) was one of the few companies that used to sell designer and reliable frames, but they were costly as compared to Warby Parker.
Warby has a free try-on policy with free shipping and numerous return offers, and this is what the brand has adopted to stand out from the crowd and appeal to its customers.
An online Mattress retailer is helping people sleep better and comforting their sleep cycle. The whole idea behind this business model was to help people realize the importance of sleep and how an adequate amount of sleep can increase their productivity and quality of life.
Their first-ever mattress was “Universal Adaptive feel.” It was so flexible that it could easily adjust to all body types.
The 100-night free trial policy worked well for their customers and made the business model a huge success. Leesa had traditional showrooms at first, but with time they also opened online stores.
ModCloth is an eCommerce company launched in 2002, selling women’s clothing worldwide. They sell fun and quirky clothes that are not so exclusive but are comfortable and budget-friendly.
Everything about their store is creative and exciting – which customers nowadays love. The copies describing their clothes are also fun to read because every product has a name and story behind it – now, this is something very catchy.
ModCloth became a brand within a few years of its launch because of its targeted marketing strategy. They know who their target audience is and what requirements they have. Knowing this has made their business reach exceptional heights within a short period of time.
Mostly we know Amazon was launched in 1995 as an online bookstore and has been flourishing since then. Now amazon is not limited to books anymore because now it sells almost everything you can think of. From groceries to clothes and even jewelry, Amazon has it all.
Right now, Amazon is one of the largest eCommerce stores by revenue worldwide. Though amazon started with no competitors, now it has Walmart as one of its biggest competitors. Last year Amazon made a revenue of $470 billion.
Amazon has adopted a stellar marketing strategy, which is targeting the right customer and offering products at comparatively lower rates.
Shopify is a SaaS (Software-as-a-service) company that provides all the tools needed by a business to run its eCommerce business smoothly. It helps them with website building, marketing, payment processing, financial tracking, and everything in between.
It is a tech infrastructure that supports more than 2 million merchants and various operations ranging from mom-and-pop businesses to global brands. Shopify made $389 million in revenue in 2016 to $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021.
The profitability of Spotify has been improving with time because, just like every SaaS business, it has also scaled up.
LARQ is a business model that makes self-cleaning water bottles that are reusable, rechargeable, and also have some advanced features. For example, it has UVC technology used to eliminate viruses & bacteria from water bottles.
LARQ has the initiative to provide clean water to everyone. They also raised $1.7 million for the same. In addition, LARQ donates 1% of its earnings to help maintain clean water worldwide.
The product was so unique and exciting that it attracted numerous customers. As a result, many environmentalists and aware citizens switched to these LARQ bottles and saved their money from buying single-use water bottles.
7. Beer Cartel
Beer Cartel, as the name suggests, is Australia’s number one beer subscription service. It is said that some ideas sell themselves; the same was the case with this one.
Beer Cartel sells beers from all around the world to their subscribers at their doorstep. This online store gives people the freedom to select their unique beer bottles at a price better than traditional stores.
One of the significant reasons for Beer Cartel’s success is that they offer exclusive taste under budget. In addition, they have a wide range of varieties that keeps their customers interested and coming back.
8. Berlin Packaging
Berlin Packaging is well known for sourcing, designing, and even distributing containers and closures for companies like fortune and various family-owned startups.
They have always provided products at a lower cost to their customers to increase the overall efficiency of their enterprise. One interesting fact about it is that it is not a new startup; it is 80 years old, in fact. But Berlin Packaging has somehow still managed to bring their customers the latest and top-quality beer.
They started this eCommerce business model to keep up with the times, which worked out well for them.
With the introduction of eBay, Bonobos knew that the eCommerce business was getting more competitive with each passing day. So, they introduced a unique business model targeting only a super-specific audience.
This strategy of narrowing down to a particular audience helped them make loyal customers who also flourished their business in the long run. Bonobo’s success made everyone realize that focusing on the competition is not good for your business’s health.
They should focus on the value they provide to their customers, and they will reach greater heights of success.
The name of the company seems fascinating, right? Well, so is their initiative. TOMS is an eCommerce company that sells its customers quality shoes that are reliable, comfortable, designer, and inexpensive.
What separates TOMS from other similar eCommerce is that with every transaction, they will help one in need. Yes! Not only this, but they also run various social media campaigns with hashtags like #withoutshoes and many more to stand out from the crowd.
Everything about their business model is catchy and interesting, making it easier for them to drive more traffic to their online shop.
What are the Biggest Benefits of eCommerce?
Shopping in the comfort of home: eCommerce has made shopping easier and more convenient for our customers. Buying and selling things is a child’s play nowadays. As a result, our purchases are simpler, faster, less time-consuming, and not so hectic.
Markets are globalized: Now, you can shop from anywhere around the world at the convenience of your home. The impact of eCommerce on the planet can easily be visible. There are no limitations or barriers to buying from a different state or country.
Building startups is not so expensive anymore! Yes, in this era of digitalization, anyone can set up their online store at a meager cost. In addition, the operating cost is minimal because both buyers and sellers are now digital.
Technologies are evolving rapidly because of this, eCommerce businesses have to see a lot of changes frequently.
If you have an eCommerce business that is not growing as expected, you must adapt to new business models that add value to your customer’s life and your e-commerce services (my business: krishaweb dot com).
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What Does the G7 Russian Gold Ban Mean for Gold Stocks?
The G7 plans to announce a ban on Russian gold imports. But does that really matter for investors? While there hadn’t been an official Russian gold ban until now, this news isn’t exactly a surprise to the industry. Today, we’re seeing that lack of reaction in gold prices.
Typically, a ban on imports for a particular commodity sends prices soaring higher. Just look at what happened to oil after Russia invaded Ukraine. As it pertains to gold, prices also initially ticked higher this morning, with the futures opening up by under 1%.
However, it has now turned lower on the day, as have the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) and the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ).
Does the Russian Gold Ban Matter?
This latest decision does matter. However, it will have a limited impact on the global gold market and gold-mining stocks. Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), had the following to say:
“The impact from a ban on Russian gold imports by G-7 nations is likely to be fairly limited, given that the industry already took steps to restrict Russian gold […]It looks as though its largely symbolic.”
Russia has the world’s fifth-largest gold stash according to the World Gold Council. However, it only exported roughly 5% of the world’s gold supply in 2020. A bulk of those exports — over 90% — went to the United Kingdom, a G7 member. Still, Russia will likely find buyers in China and India.
In actuality, the buying pool may shift, but it will not completely evaporate.
How Does This Affect Gold Stocks?
At this point, the ban does not seem to have much of an impact on gold stocks. There’s multiple reasons why this is the case.
- The industry seems to have largely prepped for such a ban.
- Russia is not that large of an exporter of gold.
- The efforts from central banks to raise interest rates and strengthen currencies is likely playing a more important role in regards to precious metal prices.
Ultimately, a Russian gold ban certainly doesn’t hurt gold prices — if anything, less supply is a bullish catalyst — but right now that catalyst is not reverberating through the market. However, removing Russian supply from the market will be a modest positive for gold miners.
Published First: InvestorPlace. Read Here.
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