Due to COVID-19, many businesses are now operating remotely. While this was intended to be a temporary solution, many companies have done so well with remote work that they're considering making remote work a permanent option for some, or all, of their workforces.
In order to make this transition successfully, businesses will have to overcome the challenges of remote working. To learn how to manage a business remotely, start with these tips for running a small business from home.
Benefits of a Remote Business
Once you get past the learning curve, there are some key benefits of working remotely. These include:
Offering work/life balance for workers with families
Between children schooling at home and taking care of older parents, remote work may be a great opportunity for the many people who are juggling many responsibilities. Remote work allows for more flexibility so that employees may be more productive within a schedule that fits their lifestyle.
A decrease in real estate and operating expenses
It stands to reason that if most—or all—of your employees may work from home, you might not need a lot of office space—or maybe none at all. That may help you save money on rent, utilities, office furniture, and other in-person expenses.
During the pandemic, many businesses realized that their employees were actually increasing their productivity from home. It could be that remote work allows more autonomy and fewer workplace interruptions, plus, employees don’t have a long commute cutting into their workday.
A bigger talent pool
A remote business may happen from anywhere, meaning you no longer have to hire people in just your immediate geographic area. You may seek out the top candidates for each role regardless of location to make better matches.
Challenges of a Remote Business
To really understand how to run a business remotely, you must be able to anticipate and address possible roadblocks. Here are some of the potential challenges of remote working that you’ll have to tackle:
Lack of communication
It may be difficult at first to go from daily in-person contact to everyone working from home. From onboarding new hires to making sure existing employees understand new projects and protocols, without proper communication, things will be lost in the shuffle, deadlines will be missed, and employees will feel unmotivated.
Whenever data is being shared, there is a risk. But for remote businesses, that risk is even greater if employees are working on their own devices and home networks. Just one slip up may result in a costly mistake.
Staying on top of employee performance
Keeping tabs on the flow of projects and making sure everyone involved is doing their part may be tough to manage remotely – if you don’t have the right tools, that is.
Tips for Running a Business Remotely
If you’re wondering how to run a business remotely, the good news is that it’s just a matter of tweaking and reinforcing some of the strategies that successful companies already use. They include:
Maintaining a professional website
Whether you had to shift your services to an online platform, or you need a strong web presence to attract new hires and provide existing employees with updates and information, a robust website is important. It acts as an extension of your overall brand, while also providing a way for customers and employees to engage with you.
Go all-in on social media
Like your website, social media platforms are important channels for reaching new audiences and sharing information about your business. Social media may also be used to communicate new initiatives, share company updates, and develop relationships with an online community of supporters.
Create a strong channel of communication
When your business is remote, it’s important that your staff still has ways to get in touch with each other whether it’s to provide updates, share feedback, or ask questions. Communication apps are good for quick chats to clarify something with a group or in a private message. It’s also good practice for everyone to share contact information and their availability should people need to connect for a longer conversation.
Daily check-ins with remote staffers
Thanks to technology, you may still “see” your remote workforce with video conferencing software, online messaging apps, and via regular meetings. Small business owners should use these tools to maintain and encourage regular conversations so that no one feels isolated. Whether it’s a morning roll call or a weekly departmental meeting, setting a designated time for staffers to connect in both small and large groups creates accountability and consistency. And, it may improve morale and keep the culture alive if you invite workers to take part in team-building activities like happy hours, yoga classes or coffee breaks.
Enforce password safety
While secure cloud platforms may help safeguard your company’s information, it’s also vital to educate remote employees about password management and using secure networks. By everyone doing their part to keep data protected with strong passwords and staying off of vulnerable public Wi-Fi connections, you’ll be less likely to suffer a data breach.
With more and more companies shifting to a work-from-home set-up, successfully running a remote business is within your reach. Follow these tips for running a small business from home and you’ll be well-equipped to face the challenges of remote working head-on.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.