After 2020, most businesses got a taste of what it was like to go remote. And, many have found that working from home is more convenient and effective than requiring staff to come into the office.
Here are a few benefits to hiring remote workers:
- You can hire from a larger pool of workers, meaning you are likely to get the cream of the crop – rather than the best of what’s available in your area.
- Most employees working from home are more productive at home than when working in an office.
- Overhead for remote employees is much lower than that of in-office employees.
Many business owners are weighing the pros and cons of having all or a portion of their staff work remotely – permanently. That said, it is a consequential decision that needs appropriate thought and organization.
Start Planning Your Move to Remote
If your office is already remote, it may seem a little silly to make a plan to evolve into a permanent remote work arrangement. After all, can’t you just let the existing situation ride?
Here is another way to look at it: when your employees were hired, did they expect to be working from their homes? Probably not, right?
Do they expect to go back to the office at some future point? If that answer to that question is “yes,” – then you need to put together a plan to shift your office to remote work permanently.
Take these steps as you plan your remote move:
Before you begin your planning process, you need to establish your baseline. Your goal is to find out if everyone is on the same page – and how you can get all employees to achieve a consensus.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your team to get on the same page:
a. Will you be going completely remote, or will your staff have to come into the office from time to time?
b. Will there be a remote team and an in-office team?
c. How will your teams coordinate? Does the system you have work well? What bugs are employees encountering?
d. Do employees have the same tools they had in the workplace? If not, what policies need to be put in place for taking equipment home? What equipment will employees need to do their jobs – and how will these tools get upgraded and serviced?
e. Do employees need support when it comes to remote workspaces? Could you provide a stipend for a workspace sharing service or in-home childcare? Can you set up a desk-share system for employees that only occasionally have to come into the office?
f. How will your company establish culture with a remote team? What company values do you want to preserve as everything moves remote?
These questions can be used as a survey within your company as they are also considered among leadership.
Establish Company Policies and Documentation
If you started with all employees in-office, you likely had things like printouts, a binder, or even posters on the wall that showcased company policies. There may have been a visual business flow, where a customer or order physically moved from one department to another throughout the sales process.
Anything that depended upon intuition or visual cues needs to be written down and made accessible to your employees. Your systems are all on the cloud or in company servers. That means if you want to make a visual demonstration, you will need to use images or video to make your point.
All of the above indicates that you need to review your company policies, business systems, and comprehensive documentation to ensure that it makes sense with a permanently remote workforce. Not only do the policies and procedures need to make sense, but the documentation needs to be made accessible to all employees as well.
Review Communication and Management Systems
While you should review and update systems for each department when going remote, communication and management systems are critical for a successful remote business. You likely have a way to talk with your teams and organize their workflow, but you also may have set those up in a rush – and have had little time to review them.
Now that you are planning this seismic shift in your company, you need to re-evaluate these systems to determine what works and what doesn’t.
I’ll give you an example of something that wouldn’t work long term and something we hear about from employees worldwide. That is, calling a meeting about something that should be an email. Interrupting a workday just to tell your staff something that could be sent out to all in a company-wide email or message stops the workflow and reduces productivity. Even if you feel that this is a way to connect with your teams, consider how you are doing it.
There are many ways you can review your systems. These include:
- Surveying your teams to find out what is working and what is not working.
- Performing a run-through to see how the system is working.
- Provide a feedback area for employees to share what they are encountering.
Improving communication and management style so that remote work is as productive as possible can help your company remain a step ahead of the competition.
Are you making a significant change in your business? Contact Business Success Consulting Group to help keep things organized during the adjustment period.