Hiring remote-based workers has a myriad of benefits. Less employees coming in to the office means that your operating costs can be lowered. You may even be able to downsize your office considerably.
You will also be able to focus on hiring the best people for the position, not just the best in the area around the office. This allows you to provide exceptional service at a fraction of the cost.
Sound too good to be true? The remote work transition from an office-based company is not without its challenges. Follow this advice to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Consider Why You Want to Be Remote
Are you interested in the flexible work schedules, the lower operating costs, or the increased client range? These are all very common reasons to go remote. Identify your goals and then consider how you can achieve them through remote work. If you are interested in the flexible schedules, focus on ways you can create a remote schedule without negatively impacting your services.
Not all companies are capable of switching to being completely remote-based. Analyze whether it will impact your efficiency and productivity, or your ability to grow. Consider whether you have access to the funds required to invest in the technology and training necessary to properly communicate with remote teams. If you do decide to make the transition to remote work, announce it far enough in advance for employees to address any concerns they may have, and then adjust or move on.
1. Use technology to set your virtual work setting
With just a few people working remotely, it is incredibly difficult to maintain proper communication. Discussions can be held in the office and decisions may not always be communicated to the remote workers or teams. For your remote work transition to be a success, you need to change how everyone communicates.
Use technology such as group chats, videoconferencing software, and online training modules to keep your teams feeling like a team and keep the much needed communication going.
Select your suite of software that you plan to use, and stick to those. Having too many places to sign in and check messages inevitably means some will go unnoticed and unanswered, as well as cause security issues. Here are a few of the top remote friendly tools:
- Communication: The more popular are Zoom, Slack, UberConference, Appear.in, Join Me, and Loom.
- Productivity: Gsuite, Notion, Hubstaff, Timely, Monitask, RemoteOne.
- Project management: Basecamp, Asana, TeamWork, Freedcamp, Trello, Taskeo.
- Security: 1Password, LastPass, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN.
Find more remote work tools here.
2. Ease into remote work by starting gradually
Have employees continue to come in a few days per week as everyone adjusts to the challenges of working remotely. Start with working remotely just one day per week, then gradually increase the number of days. In-office days should not be just for meetings, though. Allow everyone enough time to interact with coworkers and work on their own tasks.
Some departments may take longer to transition than others, and some may still require a few in-office days, such as IT or finance.
3. Create policies for your remote team
These policies will likely vary between job positions and between industries, but you should establish some guidelines of what each remote worker’s availability will be and how productivity and accountability will be measured.
In the office, you don’t measure productivity simply by taking a head-count. Remote workers shouldn’t be subjected to that either. Involve the employees with the establishment of these guidelines, then take them for a test run to see what issues come up.
Plan to check in with remote workers regularly, such as twice each year, to see how they are doing. Ask what tools or resources they might need to do their job better.
Additionally, remote work can also generate the increased risk to digital security. Ensure that all of the security measures are in place, and tools are used to prevent any breaches or data loss.
Take a look at some top remote companies guidelines and playbooks that you can take into consideration to develop yours and how to keep your data secure when working remotely.
4. Hold regular get-togethers for employees
Bring all staff members together at least a couple times per year. As incredible as technology is, it doesn’t compare to having a face-to-face conversation. Having regular employee events gives everyone a chance to converse without a screen in the way, and can improve office relationships.
If you have a few remote workers in an area, consider providing stipends for staff members who want to organize local meet-ups. Encourage events and outings that allow team members who are located close to each other to interact face-to-face.
5. Eliminate the “micro-management” mindset
Managing remotely is much more complicated than working remotely, especially when you are also managing in-office staff. To make management of remote employees and teams easier, focus on what is being accomplished rather than the tasks that are being done. Let go of micro-managing and checking in on each task, and allow remote workers to manage their time and tasks. Focus on the bigger picture.
6. Have frequent online meetings for a fluid and clear communication
Hold quick daily online meetings to discuss what each employee plans to accomplish or has accomplished for the day. This will help to keep everyone up-to-date on what everyone else is working on. Keep these meetings short and focused. This is not the time to make complicated decisions or have involved discussions. Rather, it is meant to be a quick update on where everyone is in their projects.
Make sure to also have a quick way to reach anybody in the team using asynchronous communication tools, such as Slack for quick chats to clarify any existing doubts and validate any activity.
It’s time to go remote!
When transitioning from an office-based company to a remote-based one it’s important to consider why you want to be remote and whether it is beneficial to your company, before making any changes.
Communication is the key to success for remote workers, and without special attention paid to communicative technologies and policies, your remote-based company may not succeed.
The biggest hurdle to remote teams is being left out of office conversations, so pay close attention to establishing the technology and policies to allow remote workers to succeed.