The events of 2020 have forced many businesses to adapt in order to survive. If you are anticipating that your business' next step in its evolution is to become remote, then you need to be as prepared as possible.
Whether your motivation is to save money on rent or to allow people to be free from their commute, we have put together this guide to transitioning your company over to remote working with minimum disruption and maximum efficiency.
UPGRADE YOUR DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Thanks to video calling and email, it’s easy to stay connected with clients and colleagues from any location – with one caveat. If you are depending on virtual communication to do your business, then your internet quality is a decisive factor in the success or demise of your company.
The experts at Broadbands and Phones advise that you "be sure to only work with trusted and proven suppliers of broadband" to guarantee that "you’ll get the very best performance and reliability". The last thing you want to happen is for your internet to go down when you’re in the middle of making a deal or speaking to an employee.
INVEST IN TEAM MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Until now, you may have relied on your presence in the workplace to ensure that you know what each of your employees is working on and how they are doing. As a remote business owner, you will still need to be able to have this oversight and keep your employees in sync with each other.
Avocor (the business blog) emphasizes how useful these apps are in "help[ing] remote teams stay on top of work and keep open team communication". However, there are many apps out there – and they all have something different to offer – so do take the time to research and find the one which best suits your business’ needs.
GET EMPLOYEE BUY-IN
While many people would prefer to work from home, there will be those who have reservations. It is extremely important for the success of your endeavor in remote working that you maintain employee morale and cooperation. Thus, when presenting the idea to colleagues, be sure to highlight how they will benefit from the change as well as how it will benefit the business. It is also important to offer them space to air their concerns. This will not only make them feel valued and respected, but it might also help you to learn about something which you hadn’t yet realized you needed to consider.
In addition to speaking to and listening to them, give them reassurance that they will still be able to speak to each other. Colleagues can form close bonds by working in a shared space, and this will be part of what helps them to work well as a team, so make sure they know that you will still be planning social events and chat time into the work schedule.
PREDICT CHALLENGES AND RESPOND PROACTIVELY
When making any change to your business you have to be able to anticipate the myriad of outcomes which could unfold and plan accordingly. Of course, you are not a fortune-teller and you are unlikely to be able to predict every possible challenge or obstacle, but – luckily for you – there are people out there who are already sharing what they have learned about establishing remote working.
360ict have published a helpful blog post which outlines some common challenges facing companies who transition to remote working. They outline these as:
- Collaborating and communicating with others
- Technical problems, for example with software, devices, connectivity, etc.
- Staying motivated
- Distractions at home
- Switching off from work
PRIORITIZE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
While we have already addressed some of the items in the above list in this article, the final three are commonly ignored – to the detriment of many businesses. It is essential that you, as a remote business owner, remain engaged with your employees’ mental wellbeing and promote their personal development.
Remote working employees are statistically far more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as loneliness and depression. This often results in doctor’s notes and leaves of absence, which is a knock to them and means losses for you.
Remote workers may also be more easily distracted at home or unable to switch off from work at the end of the day, having a negative impact on their work. In order to combat this, you must consider planning personal development initiatives. The experts at Mindfulness in Business posit that it is "vital to value the emotional state of your team" if you wish "to improve team collaboration and achieve a positive environment". Indeed, mindfulness training has proven to be highly effective in helping remote-business workers stay healthy, motivated, and effective.