How to run your business remotely
Now that many businesses have been forced to have staff work remotely, many business owners and employees are looking to make the arrangements more permanent. Working remotely provides many exciting opportunities; greater work/life balance, saving on commute times, reduction in office rent costs and more flexibility in hiring. But when making the switch, there are many things that can go wrong, and it’s important you have a clear plan in place to make it work.
Running your business remotely requires a very different management approach, one that requires new communication strategies, processes and technology. For some staff, not being around people can be challenging and in some cases demotivating. For some managers, not being able to physically see their team members, creates anxiety and distrust. It’s a tough situation for all involved. These issues can be further exacerbated by having children running around the home causing chaos!
To counteract this, it’s important you create guidelines and train your team on how to handle a permanent shift to working from home. To get started, we recommend you interview, survey and speak to your team about their home working practices and environment. Understand how they like to work and what challenges they may face. One common challenge for parents is that back-to-back meetings can become extremely difficult when working at home. Once you understand these items, create some guidelines and train your team on how to act in these situations.
Working remotely also requires a different set of technology and tools to working in the office. For some businesses, such as those in the creative or arts area, not being able to brainstorm in a room together can be extremely challenging. Based on this, it’s a good idea to take stock of your current needs, and then identify your existing tools and identify any gaps. An example that is common to most businesses, is having a whiteboard session, which from home is not possible. With modern technology however, there is an abundance of inexpensive solutions that allow you to ‘whiteboard’ from anywhere.
From a banking, payments, accounting and tax perspective, Thriday is the perfect tool for running your finance remotely. Thriday will keep a track of all your expenses and income, allow you to scan and upload receipts so you can reconcile transactions, and understand your potential tax position. Thriday was designed to be a digital only business account, so it was built from the ground up to help businesses do all their financial management online.
Another consideration is hiring. Now that you can work remotely, you will no longer be restricted to hiring people in the vicinity of your workplace. This can be a big win for some businesses. Importantly though, you should consider the types of candidates that will now look for when operating under remote work arrangements. Skills such as being a good communicator, well organised and a self starter are hugely advantageous when working at home. You’ll want to be confident that potential employees can multitask and work without a lot of supervision.
For management, an adjustment is required, it’s important to be a good listener and support your staff through the transition. For some team members, working from home can add to stress levels, and depending on their home environment, could pose logistical challenges. As a manager, you need to be available, show empathy, run regular virtual check-ins, keep the line of communication open, share regular business updates to provide reassurance and encourage feedback.
Even if you do plan on making your business a remote workforce, we recommend you still have access to a space for people to get together on an ad hoc basis. Having a monthly working day, to come together, reconnect and work together will be extremely beneficial. It’s almost as if the traditional company offsite, could be replaced with an ‘onsite’. These types of events in the future will become extremely important, especially as new team members join who may have never met their team members physically.
Running your business remotely presents many exciting opportunities, but for business owners, it’s important you have a clear plan so you can nail the transition. By following these simple tips you can ensure that you maximise the remote working opportunity and turn something that was once considered a disadvantage into a huge competitive advantage.