The pandemic caused numerous businesses to continue operations remotely. While remote work initially came in as a temporary solution, its inherent success had made companies across the globe consider it a permanent option for most of their employees.
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In ensuring that this transition happens successfully, businesses will need to overcome the numerous challenges posed by remote work. To know more about how you can manage a remote organization, start with some of the tips and tricks that are given below for running a successful business from home.
The Benefits of a Remote Organization
1. A Better Work-Life Balance
Keep in mind that most of your employees could be parents and might be juggling between taking care of/schooling their children at home and doing their work. Remote work offers them more flexibility, wherein employees can find a schedule that works for them and lets them be more productive.
2. Reduced Operating Expense for the Company
When all/most of your employees work remotely, you have no use in renting out office space at all. And even if you had one already, remote work would help you save on utilities, rent, office parties, furniture expenses, and other miscellaneous business expenses.
3. Higher Productivity
The pandemic made businesses realize that employees can increase their productivity from home. This might mainly be because remote work gives employees more autonomy to manage themselves and fewer interruptions in their working environment. Additionally, think of the time saved in not commuting to work every day.
4. Hiring From a Larger Talent Pool
Since the very construct of remote work allows for distributed teams, you have the advantage of hiring a person from just about anywhere in the world. To ensure you land the perfect candidate, you can look for the top candidates in each role regardless of their location.
The Challenges of a Remote Organization
To fully take charge of a remote organization, you need to be in a position to anticipate and mitigate potential roadblocks that might hinder employee and financial productivity. Here are some of the significant challenges that you’ll have to address during remote work.
1. Reduced Communication
The shift from having face-to-face interactions to on-screen conversations will be difficult during the initial days of remote work. Ensure everyone in the organization, from newly hired employees to the existing ones, completely understand new protocols and projects.
Without proper team communication, all essential information can be lost in a shuffle, leading to missed deadlines and unmotivated employees.
2. Security Threats
Shared pools of data are always going to pose a security risk. The risk is even greater with remote businesses as employees work from home networks in multiple locations. A minor slip-up could result in a costly mistake.
Hence, it becomes crucial to educate employees and how to protect themselves and their systems from external threats.
3. Monitoring Employee Performance
Tracking projects and employee progress can be a tedious task if you don’t adopt the right tools and processes. If not done correctly, this could lead to unhappy employees and weak and broken processes and workflows.
Thus businesses should ensure these processes work seamlessly before moving remote. If not, a safe choice would be to use the right tech to do the heavy lifting instead.
How to Run a Remote Organization Successfully?
1. Adopt the Right Tools
Your employees will need to access every piece of information remotely if they are going to accomplish their goals efficiently in a remote environment. Thus it becomes crucial for them to have the right processes, workflows, and tools to complete tasks seamlessly.
- Video conferencing tools like Google Meet or Zoom can let you conduct meetings, interviews, and even perform webinars (Though there is webinar software that provides more functionality if you need it).
- Expense management and invoicing tools ensure that your core financial processes are automated. This allows your Finance teams to know all pending invoices or fraudulent reports in the organization.
- Task management apps enable you to create and assign specific tasks with subtasks for individual employees while creating separate workspaces for every team.
With the right tools in place, your remote employees can very easily understand what work lies on them at a glance. It also helps streamline, automate, and simplify all error-prone and redundant tasks (like expense reporting and payroll processing).
In addition, it allows your employees the time and space to look into other high-level tasks that need their attention.
Additionally, to reduce the number of security threats, purchase the right password manager that encrypts your employee passwords and stores them in a secure location.
For example, suppose your organization is in the habit of using shared logins. In that case, the tool ensures that secure passwords are generated and automatically entered into the login fields as and when your employee would need access.
2. Have a Thorough Plan of Communication
One of the biggest challenges remote employees face is having in-person conversations with other employees. Keep in mind that all core Finance processes from receipt collections to spend management happen in person.
This is why you’d need to have a thorough understanding of how your communication plan will work.
While it might be inconvenient to invite someone to a Google Meet to get a simple question answered, messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams could help do the trick. They offer a seamless method of communication for employees to keep one another in the loop.
3. Hiring the Right People
If your remote organization needs to succeed, your remote employees also need to be successful. So, the first and most important thing to do here is hire the right people, a good hiring software should be used.
Numerous websites let you hire talent across countries, skill sets, and more. Once you have a pool of candidates to choose from, ensure the ones you end up picking are self-motivated. Self-motivation is one integral part of being a successful remote employee as managers can’t be expected to monitor them constantly.
4. Find New Ways to Connect With Your Employees
Creating a unique remote culture for your company that makes your employees feel welcome could be difficult without having in-person interactions, but it isn’t impossible. Elaborate clearly on the company vision and ensure employees are reminded of this regularly to be aware of what’s bringing them together.
HRs can organize non-operational activities where employees, for instance, could have a fitness challenge where they can track progress in a shared document.
Also, if you can, get your employees together once a year for a retreat of some sort. This will allow them to forge strong bonds with one another. If done right, it can also help employees build trust and loyalty towards your organization.
5. Have Clearly Defined Goals
Having clear goals lets your remote employees always stay on track. A good start for this would be ensuring each role’s expectations are defined, with each stakeholder knowing the required deadlines, tasks, and subtasks needed to make the project a success.
Also, as a habit, post target and goal updates in places where team members can access them. Remember that disruptions are typical of the process, but these clear expectations ensure everyone is accountable for their work.
While in the past, the idea of running an entire organization from home seemed near impossible, it has become something of a “new normal” today.
With so much technology available in the market, you can create a remote organization.
Business leaders only need a little initial investment to start automating core business functionalities like project management, time tracking, or expense reimbursements without sacrificing any aspect of their business.
The above tips can ensure that you build and manage your remote organization successfully and scale on a year-on-year basis, just like you would while working in an office.