Setting Up Your Business For Remote Success
It seems like everyone has been dropped into a new normal (including talking incessantly about a new normal). One of the biggest changes to normal for business owners has been switching over to a remote workforce.
Now, instead of your employees coming in and getting ready for the day, they travel from bed to desk. What’s the best way to manage your employees? How do you encourage success when you aren’t in the same building?
Keep in mind this is not an easy task. Setting up a remote workforce is not simple. As a manager, you need to set rules, regulations, and procedures that result in an efficient workflow.
In this post, we’ll talk about the benefits of a remote work environment and its challenges. You’ll gain deep insights that will be beneficial if you’re planning on setting up a remote business.
Benefits of the remote workforce
Remote work has grown exponentially due to the Covid-19. As people were forced to isolate themselves in their homes, the only viable solution was remote work. A remote employee is a person who performs operations from any remote location beside the company offices. A remote workforce comes with benefits for both the employer and the employee such as the employee can take regular short breaks when tired.
“The most significant benefit [of remote working] for both employer and employee is increased productivity.”
The most significant benefit for both employer and employee is increased productivity. When an employee has the leisure to work anywhere, they increase efficiency and put in more hard work. Studies show that 45% of employees can work more efficiently at home. Employees get more productive when given the option to choose when and where they work.
Another perk of a remote workforce is reduced turnover. Most employees are more satisfied when given the freedom to choose their time of work and place of work. Studies state that 95% of employers believe that remote work has a significant impact on employee retention.
The final benefit is cost saving for both parties. The employer save money on office rent, electricity bills, office supplies, and most tech costs. Your employees also save on transportation costs, clothing (who needs to buy slacks or skirts anymore?), food, as well as saving time on commutes to and from the office.
Setting up the right technology
To be successful at working remotely, you have to have the right technology and procedures. Without the right technology, remote work is impossible.
Firstly, you need to make sure that employees have set up their home office. Their workspace needs to be isolated and equipped with the right tools and devices. A simple home setup includes a laptop, chair, and table placed in a separate room. Using the right software and hardware is also crucial.
Installing the right software is the next step. You need to set up video conferencing, online collaboration, task manager, time tracking, and feedback collection tools. All of them have different options to choose from. For example, you can use Zoom or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet for video conferencing. You can use Trello or Asana for project management. Chat tools such as Discord or Glip can be utilized. Some popular apps for tracking time are Paymo, Toggl, and Harvest. Just make sure you research thoroughly before choosing one. Security is another essential factor, so make sure your employees use a password manager such as LastPass.
Hardware is as crucial as software. Without the right devices, remote work is impossible. Your employees need fundamental devices such as webcams, microphones, headsets, Wi-Fi extenders, USB docks, and adequate lighting. Just a laptop is not enough for effective communication. As a precaution, you can tell your employees to install cameras to watch their workspaces (though this might be seen as too intrusive), and you can encourage them to install door locks on their new offices if they are dealing with sensitive information. As we stated before, security is of utmost importance.
Communicate deeply and having clear expectations
With your workforce situated at random locations, you, as a manager, can’t supervise them directly. You need to understand that employees working remotely may make errors due to inefficient communication. Don’t expect the employee to understand its task, as you instructed. The biggest hurdle in remote work is communication.
You can benefit from nonverbal clues such as facial expression, body language, and voice tone of an employee by being physically near them. This benefit is lost when communication through calls or emails. This can lead to misunderstanding. You instruct them to do one thing, and your employee interprets it as something else. Frustrating.
The solution? Communicate constantly and in many different ways. The same applies to the employees. They also need to talk repeatedly to minimize any confusion. Always encourage your employees to give feedback and regular updates on their progress. This way, you can identify and rectify errors at an early stage. You can also leverage video conferencing to simulate a work environment. You won’t be physically present, but your employee can feel your supervision virtually.
The majority of employees have never worked remotely before. They are accustomed to working in offices where they can call a superior for help when stuck. This is not the case when working from home. As a manager, you can’t always be on speed dial to answer simple questions of employees. You have other important tasks to do.
A simple solution to this is to prepare remote work manually. This manual or help guide can constitute fundamental problems that an employee may face when working from home. It must answer all required questions as well as complex issues. The employee must be capable of troubleshooting and solving most problems without any help from you. In rare cases, when the employee is stuck, they can contact a tech specialist.
With remote work, you can expect increased efficiency, and it has advantages for both parties. Be prepared with policies, rules, and guidelines for your employees before executing your remote business.
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