Are you an entrepreneur working remotely?
Well, remote work can have plenty of advantages if the entire process is streamlined. But at the same time, taking such a big leap all of a sudden can be frightening. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced tens of millions of employees and businesses to work from home. However, remote work was picking up speed in the U.S. even before the epidemic hit.
But entrepreneurs and business leaders, who have entered the first time in this all-new work environment, are more worried about productivity. That’s why we’re presenting a remote work checklist in this article to help your employees increase proficiency, and thus empowering your business in remote work. Once done correctly, allowing your staff to work from home can be advantageous for your business.
And at the end of the post, you’ll get to know how.
So let’s take a little deeper dive to know how to help your staff work more efficiently in a remote environment and make your business more profitable.
But before we proceed, let’s discuss how the remote work model can benefit your business.
How remote work can benefit your business
No matter what is the business niche, there are many examples of companies who are working remotely and highly satisfied with the team. This gaming company, Solitaired was able to improve their team productivity by 23% after switching to remote.
Based on the data received from businesses working remotely for years, many advantages allure them to stick to this working culture. Some of them are as follows:
- You can save massive money on running office spaces.
- Increased productivity
- You can source the best talents from across the world (as they won’t need to travel to your office)
- Can hold meetings more efficiently
- Your employees will get higher job satisfaction
- A better work-life balance
- It will give your employee more autonomy.
In fact, the research emphasizes entrepreneurs to embrace remote working as the most powerful business model. Not convinced yet? Go through these surprising stats from Flexjobs:
- 90% of employees surveyed believe that a more flexible work arrangement boosts employees’ morale
- 85% of businesses accept the increase of productivity in the remote working model.
- 65% of employees are more productive while working from home that a traditional workplace
- Remote employees are 57% more likely to be satisfied than the average American
- 56% of employees said that WFH model has tremendously reduced their absence, while 50% said it had cut their sick leaves
- 80% of remote employees said they experienced less job stress
Now the question arises — if there are so many advantages of working remotely, why entrepreneurs are scared of making the shift?
It’s because many business owners, if not most, think that their employees would not pay much heed to their work. They would spend time binge-watching, playing online games, and chatting with friends on social channels. And unfortunately, employers are right up to some extent. Some employees take work from home for granted.
But research suggests that this is more of the hiring issue, and nothing else. The most important thing is to get a team that you can trust. And if you’ve managed to build such a team, you will have no problem switching from an in-house work environment to a completely remote work arrangement.
We understand your fear of switching the work environment. Keeping this in mind, we’ve created a work from home checklist for business owners like you to empowering employees to take on their new work culture. You need to learn how to help your staff in transitioning to a remote work arrangement. The fate of your business would entirely depend on it.
So let’s discuss the top lessons that you need to learn for streamlining your remote work.
9 teachings to empower business in remote work
1. Use modern devices
Your devices play a vital role in overall productivity. And when it comes to remote work, modern devices become more prevalent. So, the first step towards a successful work from home model is to make sure that your employees have a laptop with adequate configuration and access to high-speed internet for video conferencing and uninterrupted video streaming. They will make your employees work really easier, the impact of which will be reflected the productivity.
So, it’s your onus to provide all these things. If you need to foot the bill for these expenses, you shouldn’t deny it. However, it’s also imperative for you as the business owner to assess your budget.
But usually, companies provide essential equipment to employees who transition from an in-house office to remote work with the condition that this equipment must be returned when the employee quits the company. Google has announced giving every employee $1,000 to buy laptops, furniture, and other essential things needed to work from home.
2. Do more in the Cloud.
Your remote work environment needs more flexibility in terms of accessing documents anywhere, anytime. And the Cloud offers you these flexibilities. A cloud-based work environment will enable your employees to share documents, data, and information remotely, and also let you use new cloud-only techs such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
The best part of moving to the Cloud is that you can scale up and scale down any time, depending on your business requirements. You only pay for the services you avail, thus cutting down the operational cost significantly. And when your business grows, you’ll have the flexibility to scale up services. Also, a Cloud-based company infrastructure is more secure.
3. Bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make work easier for your employees. You need to ensure your employees can access what and when they required. For this, you need to bring a sufficient BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy that allows your employees to use their devices without compromising on security. For example, sometimes, your employees may feel using their phones more efficiently and quickly than their work devices. In this case, the BYOD will enable your employees to access securely what they need.
It’s because not all employees may have devices with similar features. For example, some of your employees may be using an Android-based smartphone, some may have iOS-based, and some may have even windows mobiles. So, it’s crucial to create secure and seamless access across a range of equipment, cloud, and mobile apps. It will ensure that your IT staffs are in control of your business information while the employees have instant access to their data wherever and whenever they want. And the most important thing is that your IT team will be in a position to solve the issue quickly if that device is stolen or misplaced.
4. Stay connected
Managing communication for a remote team is perhaps the biggest challenge you may face. The communication you need to establish can be categorized as:
- Communication between your employees and your clients
- Communication among your team members
Since software projects rely heavily on clients’ data/information, your development team must have reliable and robust communication tools. They need constant and frequent interaction with team members, while clients have to keep track of the development to ensure the process is as per their preferences. The developers, on the other side, need to update clients frequently, and most importantly, ask clients for their feedback.
Fortunately, we have a set of advanced communication tools that make communication effortless.
Some of the most popular and convenient communication tools for remote teams are:
- Microsoft Teams: The tool allows you to host audio, video and web conferences, internally as well as with third-party. Also, this software lets you schedule deadlines or bookings, screen share, upload files, and instant messages.
- Skype for Business: It’s a dynamic collaboration tool that lets you host online business meetings. You can record meetings, annotate PPT presentations, and share screens.
- Slack: It’s an integrated messaging app that allows users to connect their conversations with tools and services for streamlining work and increasing team productivity.
- Google Hangouts: This tool provides an ideal platform for meetings on the go. It makes video calls seamless and fast through link sharing.
- Zoom: This cloud-based communication tool is designed for fast and convenient video communication. It can be used for audio and video conferencing.
- Workplace by Facebook: This tool is comparatively new but has been creating much hype. It allows users to host live video broadcasting and share vital information through News Feed.
5. Make yourself available to your employees always.
Since you’re working in a remote environment and not meeting your employees in-personally, making sure that you are readily available for your employees is essential, communication with them must not be lost. For this, you need to share your schedule with them. And tools like Google Calendar can help you easily share your day-to-day plan with your employees.
In the bottom-left corner of Google Calendar, your employees can see your schedule and get to know whether you’re available or not.
If you sync your calendar with others or display company-wide events, it does things like:
- Showing your availability
- Informing employees about upcoming events or holidays
- Making your employees feel more connected to you as well as their colleagues
- Hard-pressing you to get connected
When you plan your calendar at the beginning of the month, you’ll be in a better position to take your routine tasks.
I would suggest you block your calendar, at least once a week, and get to know your employees’ needs, feedback, or queries.
6. Keep an eye on your employees.
Will my employees work honestly? Won’t they spend their time binge-watching? Can I track their online activity?
These are some of the common fears entrepreneurs wrestle with when transitioning to a remote work environment.
Fortunately, there are many tracking software available to help you track your employees’ online activity. Even if they’re working remotely, you’ll know their idle time, productive hours, unproductive hours, etc. You’ll also get to see if they visit sites that are not useful for them or you’ve marked as “unrated sites.”
Moreover, you have every right to ensure your employees are productive and working honestly to get their jobs done on time. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should micromanage.
Designhill— the company we work with — has been using Time Doctor for quite some time now, and we found it efficient to manage time. The software keeps track of everything—from browsing history to time spent on a particular site and from productive hours to idle time. The tool will help you monitor your employees and also empower your staff to stay accountable throughout the day.
7. Understand international hiring policies
You may not be considering adding new staff to your workforce at this time. But once your business gets settled down in the new working environment, the idea of hiring international talent may appeal to you. For hiring overseas employees, you should make sure you know the international hiring policies beforehand.
There are plenty of resources out there to help you with recruiting global employees. One such company that provides resources on the topic is ShieldGeo. Their resources can help you with on-boarding and off-boarding international employees.
Although their resources are sufficient, you can get in touch with their sales team if you need further assistance. Alternatively, you can hire a professional in your recruitment team who knows the international hiring policies very well.
Before you go on an international hiring spree, you should consider these areas:
- Time zone difference
- Average working hours
- Tax regulations
- Cultural gaps
- Salary expectation, considering currency.
8. Consider organizing get-together
You’re working remotely and not getting opportunities to meet your staff in-person. But you should consider treating your employees to an annual or bi-annual retreat. But make sure it doesn’t adversely impact your budget.
These events work as an excellent morale booster for employees. They provide employees with an opportunity to get socialize with one another, recharging them to accept new challenges with more accountability. You can also plan team-building activities after the annual event ends. Such activities not only will fuel energy in your employees but will also foster trust-building. And once the trust is built, you’ll see the tremendous result.
9. Plan company-wide meetings
Hold company-wide meetings every once and awhile. But what should be an ideal number of meetings? You need to find the balance. Some enterprises make the mistake of either holding not enough meetings or too many. While scheduling too many unnecessary meetings can eat out too much company time, fewer meetings can lead to ambiguity.
The key is to find the balance.
Experts recommend scheduling one company-wide meeting once in a week and one at the end of each month. This is an ideal amount of meetings for almost all businesses. While weekly meetings let your employees get essential updates, monthly meetings allow them to pose their queries and concerns.
If you’re worried about setting up a productive remote work environment, these tips will help you figure out to manage your remote employees. If taken every teachings seriously, you can empower your business in remote work.
Do you any know any other tips that have helped your business thrive? Do let us know in the comments.