Envisioning the small business post-COVID workplace

Blogs and Articles

Planned or not-and like it or not- small business workplaces have been fundamentally transformed by COVID-19. You can expect working from home, social distancing in public and less sharing of office space to continue for the foreseeable future.

May 4, 20227 mins
Iron Mountain logo with blue mountains

Planned or not-and like it or not-small business workplaces have been fundamentally transformed by COVID-19.
You can expect working from home, social distancing in public and less sharing of office space to continue for the foreseeable future. Rather than try to fight it, be prepared to seize the benefits for your small business. If the right preparations are put in place, there can be an upside to this dark time.

“New normal” small business benefits

  • Lower real estate cost
  • Less risk
  • Higher employee satisfaction and productivity


The office of the future will have a lot less people in it. Before pandemic lockdowns, 44% of employers didn’t have work-from-home policies. As millions of employees who never worked from home (WFH) before the pandemic had a WFH experience,perspectives across the board changed. People discovered the work-life balance advantages and decided they wanted to work remotely at least a few days a week.

Work-from-home policies give employees what they want but also come with both cost and safety benefits for small businesses. Limiting office time to every other day, for example, reduces the amount of real estate needed and accommodates social distancing more easily.

Many small businesses have found that accepting employee WFH preferences improves productivity.One provider of secure networking services reported employees remained logged in three hours longer each day at home than on site.

Industry fact

“For small businesses,the benefits are numerous. You get to save money on office space,equipment, supplies,and utilities by allowing employees to work remotely. You can also enjoy improved morale and productivity by giving your team the flexibility to set their own schedule."

Office social distancing: what’s old is new again

In some ways, the office of the future resembles the office of the past. Today’s open office concepts with large, shared spaces and desks packed closely together are being reversed. Partitions are being dragged out of storage and desks are being pushed apart.

Floor-mounted social distancing signs caution office workers about standing too close to their colleagues and work schedules along with traffic flows are more regimented. Just like many supermarkets have adopted one-way aisles to minimize congestion, officesare adopting clockwise movement.

Shared areas like meeting rooms,restrooms, break rooms and elevator sare really under the microscope. Meetings are balanced with most joining by video conference and fewer in-person participants.

Peddling back shared office touchpoints

Think about all the communal places in the office that are now recognized as breeding grounds for infection:

Everything in our offices is changing to accommodate the new way to workin-person.

Paper documents are being digitized.Ultraviolet disinfection is going mainstream. Voice response systems are replacing elevator buttons. Motion sensors are displacing light switches

The small business workplace will never be the same, but that isn’t a bad thing. There’s much to be gained from emerging opportunities. See howa real estate leader is forging ahead successfully with the 6 Feet Office concept.

Rejuvenate your small business workplace

Iron Mountain Clean Start® can quickly help clear your workplace of everything you don’t need that’s occupying valuable space:

  • Paper records
  • File cabinets
  • Old servers, PCs and IT assets
  • Office equipment, cabinets, furniture and artwork

We’ll manage the clean-out process and provide services to facilitate secure destruction, donation and storage.

We’ll also assess how you create,store, and use information to help shift from physical to digital work processes. We’ll recommend tools to help you improve efficiency and support remote employees with anytime, anywhere information:

  • Active file management
  • Document scanning
  • Workflow automation
  • Cloud archiving

To learn more, visit ironmountain.com/cleanstart or email cleanstart@ironmountain.com