As one of the most innovative business models, your startup company needs to live up to those very same expectations to be at the cutting edge of all things business. While traditional companies far and wide might be slow to embrace the freelancing and remote workforce, your startup should be able to adjust its operations to accept and enable its scattered employees to thrive. Plus, the ability to hire globally comes with so many perks that it sure does make sense to implement the solution.
However, there are certain preparations and challenges that come with hiring remotely. For example, it’s more difficult to inspire loyalty in someone who doesn’t see their coworkers every day and doesn’t physically participate in meetings. It’s also tough to bring them to your team-building exercises and to treat them to the same perks as your local team.
If you’re about to expand your team or add someone far away into your workforce, there are strategic steps you should take in order to allow those bonds to flourish and your business to bloom. Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind and to prepare your company for all the perks of remote employment.
Set clear goals and milestones
As an established company, you already have clearly outlined principles of operation, best practices on how to communicate with vendors, clients, or partners, brand guidelines, as well as what each position entails. Although it’s simple enough to fill in your employees at the office when they have questions to help them do their jobs better, more seamlessly, your remote crew needs to know exactly what you expect them to do every day.
Not only should you have clearly listed goals, tasks, and milestones for them, but you should also let them know what is considered good, subpar, or great work. While most motivated people will go the extra mile on their own, they should know when that means stepping over into someone else’s work, and when they are welcome to contribute with their own ideas. Clear boundaries are vital for these long-distance relationships to work on a daily basis to avoid issues, misunderstandings, and missed deadlines that would ultimately impact your brand’s productivity.
Educate your managers for remote teams
As independent and self-reliant as remote workers tend to be, they still have superiors and team managers they answer to and communicate with on a daily basis. If those managers do not do their jobs properly and aren’t sure how to handle your remote employees, workload distribution, feedback exchange and the like, then you risk alienating your remote workers and disrupting the entire workflow of your business.
Your managers cannot afford to be the weak links in your system. That’s why you need to educate them and prepare them properly for managing and handling remote teams without issues. If those issues arise, they should have the skills, the information, and the authority to handle those issues properly and without halting a project or moving the deadline further. Train your managers from the get-go, and show them how to best monitor, assign work, and collaborate with their local and remote teammates.
Make your remote team a part of the brand identity
If you treat your remote employees like one cog in your complex startup machine and pay no attention to their individual needs, preferences, and strengths, they are bound to start treating your brand as just another stepping stone towards better goals. Your remote teams deserve to feel equally valuable to your business – because they are. To do that, you should let them know that they are indeed an appreciated segment of your startup identity and that their presence does have an impact on your business.
There are simple gestures that can empower such a connection. Work with your trusted business card printing provider to design branded and personalized business cards and deliver them to your remote employees. They can use them whenever they visit a networking event and expand brand awareness in the process. Give them notebooks they can use every day to brainstorm and work with and send them pens and other supplies with your taglines. That way, you will bring your brand’s office to their doorsteps and let them immerse themselves into your brand while they work.
Get creative with the perks you offer
Your local employees often have the advantage of using perks such as paid gym memberships, using the office equipment as well as taking part in office activities such as playing table football or darts, and a range of other benefits. Your remote staff, however, might not have access to all those experiences, so you need to think outside of the proverbial box and find creative ways to pamper your remote teams. Although paying for hobbies and activities is always an option, there are other ways you can make them feel valued.
For example, you can order and send them a box of their favorite cupcakes to commemorate the anniversary of working together. Send them a hand-signed note for their birthday, along with tickets to their favorite show, and a video of the on-site team doing something goofy. Such gestures are simple enough, but they let you show your appreciation and gratitude for their work and their loyalty, so it’s important to keep it relevant to the person.
Remote work is a rewarding way to grow a career, but it’s also an increasingly popular and productive way to grow a business. It does mean that you need to assume certain responsibilities, prevent potential issues, and enable your local and remote team to collaborate effectively, so it pays to be prepared. These tips can help you achieve just that, and allow you to grow your startup for years on end without limiting yourself to your local workforce.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.