If you weren’t already implementing remote working for your business before 2020, you might have had it forced upon you in March when stay-at-home orders were announced across most of the country. Months later, and many of us are still working remotely – and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
But the truth is that remote working can be successful for many small businesses long-term – and might even present big benefits for your business and for your employees. One obvious benefit for employees right of the bat: No commute! No one likes sitting in traffic for their morning (or evening) commutes. If you can allow employees the flexibility of working remotely even a couple of days a week, you can remove a source of frustration and bolster employee morale.
Whether your remote working plan was rolled out smoothly or hastily thrown together out of necessity, it’s not too late to make adjustments so remote working can be a fit for your business.
Let’s talk about how to make remote working a success for your small business.
What is Remote Working?
Remote working is working anywhere outside the office, such as at a coffee shop, bookstore, or at home.
This is a great option for businesses, as long as the employee:
- Has the power and internet access they need.
- Can focus and get the job done.
- Can still be accessible to the appropriate people.
Why Work Remote?
There are many benefits to remote work – many of which a number of us have experienced firsthand this year. First, it can free up your budget since you don’t have to spend money on a big office. Second, technology makes it easy to stay in touch with your employees, so you can still collaborate and communicate effectively. Remote working also allows you to hire qualified people across the country since the geographical location is not limited.
Last but not least, working remotely can also reduce the stresses of commuting, childcare, pet care, and other responsibilities, and remote workers are actually more productive than their counterparts who work in an office.
How to Make Remote Working Successful for Your Team
If you’re a small business owner who is looking into letting your employees work remotely or are working remotely yourself, here are some tips and considerations for success.
Hire the Right Remote Workers
As a business owner, you need to make sure that you are making the right decisions when it comes to hiring remote workers. Working remote gives your employees more freedom, but with that freedom comes the challenge of managing time to get the work done. You have to know which employees are right for this type of work. Those who have self-awareness, discipline, and time management skills are the best candidates for remote work. As a small business owner, you have to trust the employee to get their work done when they’re not being watched.
Set Clear Expectations with Your Remote Employees
Managers don’t want to be worrying or constantly checking up on an employee to get the job done. Yet they also don’t want to reach an important deadline only to find that the work isn’t done. To make working remotely successful and stress-free for everyone involved, be sure to set clear deadlines, have check-ins for milestones, and keep open lines of communication for any mishaps along the way.
Use the Right Technology
Remote employment can spare your business commuting and office costs, but poor productivity and delayed execution are costly. To make working remotely successful for your business, be sure to invest in the proper technology. Spending a little extra on the equipment and services you need for seamless execution can save you a lot in the long run.
If you’re having multiple people work from home, it might be a good idea to have a group communication tool such as Trello or Asana. This way you can instantly keep track of projects without having to take the time to ask, and without employees having to take the time to explain.
When people are able to work as effectively at home as in the office, everyone can do their best work.
Related: Get tips for managing remote employees.
Tips for Working Remote
Working remote poses the same challenges for everyone, no matter what your position is. Below are some tips to help ensure success when working remotely.
Map out your day to make sure you are meeting all the assigned deadlines. Put a time limit on work so you know you are getting the most amount of work done in an efficient way.
People often assume that those working from a remote location have more distractions than in an office space, but that is not necessarily true. Your home or even a coffee shop can have just as many distractions that prevent you from focusing 100% on your work.
To increase your focus when working remotely find a quiet and comfortable space for working. Eliminate distractions by closing your door, using noise-canceling headphones, or even putting a fan on to wash out background noise. If you can listen and work simultaneously, you might even want to filter out the noise with a marketing podcast.
Set Regular Meetings
Whether you’re the business owner or the employee, everyone needs to make sure they are keeping in touch.
Managers don’t need to send a formal email every hour to see what everyone is up to, and employees don’t have to send updates on their every move. Regular meetings — such as weekly video check-ins and even daily morning standups via conference calls — can help to keep everyone on track.
Also, as a manager or business owner, encourage your team members to jump on a quick phone call with a person to clarify anything they are having trouble understanding.
Allowing your employees to work remotely can benefit your small business and bring you higher qualified employees. When working remotely, make sure that you manage your time, limit your distractions, and communicate with those in the office to be the most effective employee you can be.