European small businesses are 42% more likely than enterprises to lose employees because of technology frustrations around remote working.

As small business owners continue to recover from the effects of the global pandemic, workers expect their employer to offer a modern blended approach to how and where they work. According to research by Ricoh Europe, 27% of small businesses employees are considering switching jobs.

More than two-thirds (69%) said they have the skills to work remotely. But 29% find it difficult to stay motivated and engaged while remote working because of technology and communication issues. A further 22% also said they felt less productive as a result of those issues.

Nearly half of workers surveyed said they had to rely on their own technology to work remotely during the pandemic because their company didn’t provide equipment.

The research suggests that the tech shortfall risks not just talent but performance, with 24% of workers saying they don’t have the tools needed to deliver the best results for customers and collaborate remotely with their team.

Despite remote working issues, small business workers aren’t returning to the office en masse anytime soon. When asked about their company’s future remote working policies, 41% believe their company will allow them to work remotely for the remainder of 2020, while a third believe it could be indefinitely.

Small business employees certainly expect more from their employers. Two-thirds envisage retaining the flexibility gained during lockdown and 55% trust their company to invest in technology that will mee the workplace requirements of the future. This includes making the office safer, with 40% stating they wouldn’t be comfortable returning unless there are additional safety measures such as temperature scanners and touchless equipment.

David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, said: “While digital transformation may have been on their long-term roadmap, there’s now no time to waste for small businesses. Without the technology that makes it easy and safe to work effectively from anywhere, business owners are facing a brain drain of their top talent. Organisations are driven by the ability and quality of their people - losing them to competition often means losing customers, too. Old ways of working can no longer be the norm. It’s not good enough for businesses to ‘get by’ with substandard equipment and processes. The next steps for small businesses will dictate how they overcome disruption and pave the way for future success.”