Run a Business Remotely… Successfully
Whether your situation is that you’re frequently away from the office, or your entire team works remotely, running a business remotely is much different than running one in an office, in-person setting.
Working remotely is a great way to allow employees the freedom to work when they want. While many think that this will keep them from doing their work, the opposite has proven to be true. Employee productivity and morale increases, turnover is low, and costs are kept to a minimum when employees work remotely. You can read more about the benefits of remote work here.
So how can you reap these benefits with a remote team? Check out the tips below.
Provide Multiple Channels for Engagement
By creating multiple ways for employees to engage with each other while in different places, they are more likely to engage each other. In fact, 87% of employees felt more engaged with their colleagues when video conferencing. Video conferencing, chat through Skype or Slack, email, and phone are all engagement channels that should be available to employees.
Facebook has its own internal pages for each team of employees to engage each other on. They post photos and videos, jab at each other, and communicate issues with current projects through that page. It’s a fun way to allow them to interact.
Encourage Problem Solving
The issue with everybody working remotely is that other team members may not always be available when someone finds a problem. Remote work forces employees to apply critical thinking skills and make decisions, pushing them to become a better thinker and therefore a more valuable employee.
Still Get Together
Maybe it’s an employee retreat once per year, or you fly out some team members to other team members to let them engage face-to-face. While remote work is great, meeting colleagues face-to-face facilitates a deeper connection, more trust, and better communication between team members that are working together.
Be clear about expectations
As long as employees are getting their work done, remote work goes smoothly. Set clear expectations for what they need to do. If they don’t need to work 9-5, let them know. If there are hours in the day that they need to be available for work, make it known to them. Setting clear expectations and guidelines will help to prevent any misunderstandings about work your employees are or aren’t doing. Nobody wants to be accused of not getting their work done.
Have a Weekly Check-in
Whether it’s by phone, an email conversation, or if possible, an in-person meeting, checking in with a remote worker lets them know you haven’t forgotten them, that you appreciate the work that they’re doing, and allows both of you to discuss further expectations or projects. This will help prevent miscommunication and continue to grow relationships with remote employees that you may not work with closely otherwise.
Allow Employees to Take Ownership
Being trusted to work remotely is a big deal, and with it, comes other responsibilities to keep the wheels of that role turning. Allowing remote employees to take ownership of their work, call the shots (within reason of course), and letting them make decisions without being micro-managed, can be critical to a remote-run business. That’s why choosing the right people to work in remote roles makes these positions successful. Letting go of the reigns may be hard for some managers, but the pay-off can be huge, and management’s workload and stress can decrease big-time.
Provide Software that Sets Employees Up for Success
There is time management software available, like Time Doctor, that allows you to track employee activity and work time, though that’s not always necessary. When we talk about providing software for success, it’s all-inclusive. Maybe for your company, it is time management, for many, it’s project management software. Anything that keeps employees in the loop and on the same page will make remote work more fluid and productive.
The perks of remote work generally outweigh any cons as long as you’ve hired the right people and are giving them the tools necessary to succeed.