While the pandemic certainly sped up the global transition to remote work, it’s been unclear just how many teams would stay remote after getting back to the “new normal.” Data shows that 25% of all jobs in North America will be fully remote by the end of this year, though.
So, if you’re a business owner who is preparing to take your team fully remote or had previously planned on it, now’s a great time to start making that transition.
After all, there are numerous benefits to remote working, particularly as a business owner (hello, lower overhead costs!). However, increased productivity and flexibility are a few other benefits as well.
Making the transition can be tricky, though, leaving many to wonder, “Why work from home?” Here are a few tips to help make the switch as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
Establish Some Ground Rules for Remote Working
If you’re going to transition to remote work, it’s important to establish some ground rules for your entire team. First and foremost, you need to find a remote work solution that works for you and your team members.
Really, this means defining the following:
- Is there a set timeframe for when you expect your employees to be online and available?
- How often will you check in with your employees (daily, weekly, etc.)?
- How do you expect your employees to let you know what they’re working on?
- Do you have a system in place for creating tickets for technical issues?
- How will your employees address any roadblocks?
- What kind of remote web workplace setup will you use for files, messages, etc.?
Ultimately, setting up a remote workplace is a lot easier if you make sure you’re staying connected with your team. Schedule regular check-ins and catch-ups, and don’t be afraid to change the structure of your remote business as everybody adjusts.
Encourage and Model Good Communication in the Workplace
As more and more companies move to remote work, it’s becoming increasingly important to encourage and model good communication in the workplace.
After all, managing remote teams is difficult because you can’t just pop into each other’s offices for a quick chat.
Instead, they have to rely on email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and other tools to stay in touch. And that means that communication has to be clear, concise, and timely.
It’s not always easy to stay on top of communication when you’re remote, but it’s essential. After all, miscommunication can lead to missed deadlines, frustrated employees, and unhappy customers.
So how can you encourage and model good communication in the workplace? Here are a few top tips.
Make Sure Everybody Has the Same Information
To ensure that everybody is on the same page, we suggest distributing agendas and meeting notes in advance. After meetings, make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what tasks.
To make this easier, we suggest utilizing software such as Microsoft Teams or another task-tracking and meeting platform.
Teams is a powerful communication and collaboration tool that’s specifically designed for remote teams. With Teams, you can easily stay in touch with colleagues regardless of location, and all of your conversations are seamlessly synchronized across devices.
This means you can pick up where you left off no matter where you are or what device you’re using. In addition, Teams offers a variety of features that are perfect for remote teams, including video conferencing, file sharing, and task management.
Encourage Employees to Ask Questions
If someone is unsure about something, they should feel comfortable asking for clarification. This not only helps avoid mistakes, but it also helps increase employee engagement.
That’s because, without face-to-face interaction, it can be easy for employees to feel disengaged or disconnected from their work. Asking questions is a way for employees to stay engaged and involved in their work, and it also shows that you value their input.
In addition, employee questions can help to identify problems or areas for improvement that you might not be aware of.
We obviously need to respect people’s boundaries, but as the boss of a remote team, you need to be responsive.
When someone sends an email or instant message, try to respond as quickly as possible. If you can’t answer right away, let the person know when you’ll be able to get back to them.
This is difficult because it’s easy to forget someone’s question when it gets buried in Slack. In an office, they’d be standing in your doorway. However, if you’re prone to forgetting, write all questions or issues down and tackle them in the afternoon, for example.
Provide Employees With a Remote Work Toolkit
Cultivating a positive, engaging remote work culture is one thing. However, it’s also important to provide your employees with a proper remote work toolkit.
This kit should include everything they need to stay productive while working from home, including a list of best practices, a work schedule template, and all the right safety and software.
Software should include tools for project management, task management, file sharing, and more. There are also a number of apps that help people stay connected with their team, whether they’re in the same office or not.
While the full remote work toolkit will ultimately depend on your business and what your employees’ daily tasks are, here are some recommendations.
One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that employees have the right tools to do their job effectively. For many companies, this means providing employees with company-issued devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
While this can increase costs for employers, it also has a number of benefits. First, it allows employers to better control the security of their data. Second, it ensures that employees have access to the latest software and applications.
Finally, it makes it easier for you to provide technical support to employees. When something goes wrong, you don’t have to worry about company data safety or other issues.
Okay, so you don’t have to get everybody on the team Microsoft 365, but it’s the software we recommend!
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that gives users access to a variety of Microsoft products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more. It also includes 1 TB of cloud storage, which makes it ideal for working remotely.
And if you need to collaborate with others, you can do so in real time, thanks to the built-in chat and video conferencing features. On top of all that, it also offers a variety of security features to help businesses protect their data.
Cloud Data Storage
Cloud data storage is becoming an increasingly popular solution for businesses, especially those that have remote employees. Cloud data storage is the remote business solution for protecting and storing your data off-site.
With cloud data storage, you’re able to store all company data on remote servers, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world. This is an especially convenient solution for businesses that need to share data between employees who are located in different parts of the world.
In addition, cloud data storage is often more secure than traditional on-premises data storage solutions.
However, as mentioned above, data storage is often included in software subscriptions, so be sure to check what’s included before purchasing something costly.
Security and Education
With more businesses going remote, the need for security is greater than ever. How can you ensure that you’re helping your team transition to remote work then? By securing your data and communications before you make the transition.
Our fit piece of advice is to use strong passwords. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols to create passwords that are difficult to guess.
Then, be sure your employees are always enabling two-factor authentication to access sensitive accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to enter a code in addition to your password.
And, don’t forget to educate your employees about best practices when it comes to data safety. This is part of the ground rules we mentioned establishing at the beginning.
Make sure your employees know about basic cybersecurity measures, such as not sharing passwords and being careful about what they post online. By taking these precautions, you can help keep your remote business safe and secure.
Facilitate Regular Check-Ins
In order to facilitate regular check-ins when working remotely, you should establish set times for check-ins with your team. This could be once a week, biweekly, or even daily, depending on the needs of your business.
During these check-ins, each team member should share what they’ve been working on and any challenges they’ve faced. This is a great opportunity to provide feedback and offer help where needed.
Additionally, regular check-ins can help to build morale and keep everyone on track. By establishing set times for check-ins, you can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and that the communication lines are always open.
And, it doesn’t hurt if you make these check-ins fun. This is especially relevant if your team is super new to the remote work transition.
During the transition, schedule game nights and company happy hours to help employees stay engaged and feel like part of a community.
Create a Remote Work Solution
The transition to remote work permanently can be stressful. Learning how to guide your team through it for a successful future here can help increase your revenue, retain top employees, and ultimately lead to way less stress for you.
If you’re wondering how to make the remote work transition smoother, get in touch.
Schedule a call with a remote work specialist from Remote Work Made Simple today.