Working remotely comes with lots of practical benefits. With our tips, you can create a happy, productive team to be proud of.
More people are working remotely than ever before.
Kickstarted by the 2020 pandemic, working from home is one of the lockdown changes that has well and truly stuck for many businesses.
When setting up a new company in this modern era, your first decision might be whether you should work remotely, or find a real world HQ for your team.
Working remotely comes with lots of practical benefits, such as saving time and money on your commute, having a better work/life balance and working more flexibly.
Recruiting new starters without a specific location also opens up a wider pool of talent for you to hire from.
But it can be lonely, with many people finding the lack of social interaction quite difficult.
As a business owner, it’s your job to make sure that your staff feel supported.
But how do you do that?
Communication has never been more important than when working from home.
Whilst it has become the new normal for many, it’s still just that - new.
Colleagues need to understand what is expected from them, and they need support to ensure that they can work effectively - and be happy whilst doing so.
As someone in a managerial position, one way that you can help is to give them clear guidance regarding the mission and objectives of your company, so your team is aligned on what’s really important.
Working from home means that a lot of employees will be managing their own workload, so by having this guidance, they’ll be able to become more independent.
If you thought regular catch ups and 1-2-1’s were important in a face-to-face office setting, then they’re even more important when you’re working remotely. Make sure that your team knows how to reach you, and that they feel comfortable reaching out to you.
And make sure to maintain the same structure you’d have if you were sat right next to your colleagues. If you’d have a meeting everyday in the office at 10am, schedule this online. Use these to your advantage and schedule at least one meeting a day where the team can catch up and raise any issues with you.
When running a team virtually, it’s important to give everyone your time and attention.
Instant messaging and video calls are becoming the norm for lots of companies - and for good reason.
There’s a lot of programmes out there, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Google Meet, where you can host video calls. These are great at helping to build and develop ‘face-to-face’ relationships, albeit virtually.
A virtual office is also a great idea. This is an ‘always on’ virtual meeting, for people to drop in and out of whilst they work.
It’s a great way to bring back some of those office ‘water cooler’ moments. In an office, you’d have those minutes of chat with colleagues between projects and calls, so make an effort to do this online too.
Project management tools - such as Notion - are also great for keeping everyone organised and aligned.
But away from the admin, mental wellbeing support is absolutely critical in a remote environment.
Be sure to watch out for burnout and any remote working issues that your team might be facing.
If you were in an office, your door would always be open, so make sure that this is also the case when working online.
Clear goals are really important when working remotely.
We’ve briefly covered it, but make sure that your staff members know what they’re working for. What are the mission and objectives of your company, and why are they important?
More practically, using a framework such as OKRs - objectives and key results - can really help with documenting and tracking progress for all staff to see.
If you use a tool such as Notion, you can capture all of your processes and workflows into simply, easy to follow checklists. This can be really useful for new starters, and eliminate the need for them to shadow someone else.
Similarly, your project management needs to be visible and available for everyone. Having a task list, where everyone can see what they need to do, and when they need to do it, really helps with productivity. It can also encourage your team to work independently and manage their own workload.
One problem that can arise with a remote team is decision making. To combat this, try building a set of principles and guidelines that can help your team to make decisions without you. You might not be around for every small thing, so give your team the confidence to replicate your decision making process when required.
Life as a business owner can often feel quite stressful and lonely, particularly when you are working without people physically around you.
Make sure you are taking time for yourself and finding the right support for you.
This might mean turning to friends and family, but sometimes what you need is professional support from those in a similar situation.
You can use digital tools - such as Peer - that seamlessly fit into your busy working life, and allow you to meet like minded people.
The digital world can be lonely, but if you have the right guidance, it opens your business up to a wide range of opportunities.
Make time for social interactions with your team, too. Virtual coffee mornings or tea breaks are a great way to take some time out together and catch up.
Even outside of office hours, virtual socials can be arranged. Whether it’s a quiz night, movie evening or even a virtual happy hour, there’s a way to bring these events into the digital world.
There’s a lot of tools out there that you can use to your advantage as a founder and business owner.
Take some time to see what’s out there, and see what works for you and your team.
With these tips, and some research of your own, you can create a happy, productive team to be proud of.
Working remotely can be lonely - but it really doesn’t have to be.