Survey Reveals SMBs Offering Flexible Work Have Higher Retention Rates

Intermedia Cloud Communications, a provider of cloud communications and collaboration solutions to businesses and the partners that serve them, today released revealing insights on how remote and hybrid work affect business operations, employee satisfaction and customer retention for SMBs.

The survey of more than 300 SMB owners and senior leaders, conducted for Intermedia by Sapio Research, reveals that while many companies are moving into hybrid work models, SMBs that offer employees greater workstyle flexibility are seeing significant benefits that can have a positive impact on the bottom line – including higher customer retention rates.

Studies, such as a recent report by the National Business Research Institute, have shown a direct correlation between engaged employees and satisfied customers, and providing employees with greater flexibility as to where they work enables them to be more engaged and responsive when customers need them.

“Many studies have shown a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer retention,” said Elka Popova, Vice President and Senior Fellow, Frost & Sullivan. “A happy employee produces more positive customer interactions — they respond to inquiries quicker, they care more, and they are more protective of the company’s reputation. Investing in your employees makes a lot of business sense.”

While workplace flexibility affects customer retention, the importance of a remote/hybrid work option was also found to be a critical factor in employee retention. According to the study, SMB leaders reported the main reason employees left their positions over the past six to 12 months (45 percent) was a lack of flexibility with fully remote/hybrid environment options.

It would appear, however, that most SMBs are not yet ready to go completely remote, as nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of the business leaders surveyed indicated it is important that their employees live within commuting distance of an office.

Since the beginning of the fully remote/hybrid work revolution triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, 69 percent of the responding SMB leaders and owners believe remote and hybrid work have improved their employees’ job satisfaction. Employers report increased productivity because of the greater flexibility in where and how employees perform their jobs in remote and hybrid working environments.

This satisfaction isn’t limited to employees or business owners.

Customer retention has risen since SMBs started offering fully remote/hybrid work environments, with nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) reporting their customer retention has increased since re-configuring their work environment. Respondents at companies that offered both* remote and hybrid environments reported a higher customer retention increase (79 percent) than those that offered only remote (62 percent) or only hybrid (57 percent) work options.

“The workplace evolution has created its own set of unique challenges for SMBs looking to grow operations and maintain a competitive advantage in today’s market, balanced against expectations from employees for greater flexibility in the way they work,” said Scott Anderson, chief marketing officer of Intermedia. “As this research would appear to indicate, many business owners and decision-makers who were once skeptical about productive work happening from wherever are now realizing the real benefits that offering workplace flexibility affords, including a marked increase in customer retention.

“Cloud communications solutions like the ones we deliver at Intermedia are built to enable customer care and employee collaboration from wherever work happens, be it the office, remote, or a hybrid of the two,” Anderson added. “As the findings suggest, offering flexibility in how and where work happens should no longer be seen as a luxury, but instead as a strategy that helps deliver better business performance.”

Access the full survey results here.

For more information about Intermedia, visit