How to Make Remote Working Work for Your Business

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More businesses are building hybrid employment models that mix and match traditional on-site work with remote work.

As McKinsey notes, the new remote work paradigm is unequivocally beneficial for both businesses and their staff, but it’s not a perfect model either and requires a different type of management input. For example, larger businesses tend to report a breakdown in their business culture, loss of accountability, and time wasted on micromanagement when they adopt remote teams.

Crucially, many of the problems that arise with remote teams are resolvable, so long as business owners are aware of how they can improve their remote setups.

1: Build a Remote Working Culture

Remote working business culture is all-digital by default, some remote teams (e.g. Hopin) have never met each other, despite the business itself having over 200 employees. This doesn’t mean that the business has no working culture, though – on the contrary.

Remote working cultures will vary from industry to industry. For example, a B2B sales team will typically place much greater emphasis on video call networking and building rapport between the team, whereas a software development team may appreciate a more solo-oriented working culture where everyone gets on with their respective roles until it’s time to piece everything together.

How to Make Remote Working Work

Another aspect of this is ensuring that employees or team members can feel the benefits of their remote working setup. The freedom and flexibility of remote working might quickly diminish if you’re communicating at unsociable hours or setting tasks when someone’s aiming for a day off.

2: Leverage the Right Tools

There are so many tools available for remote working and many are inexpensive or even free.

You can find some great tools in the post ‘Small Business Toolkit’ here.

The tools worth focussing on are scheduling and project management tools, time-tracking tools, and invoicing or finance tools. Project management tools include everything from Trello to Monday.com and ClickUp. They can be found under the bonnet of successful remote teams all around the world.

3: Watch Your Stress and Burnout Levels

Stress and burnout are real risks for all entrepreneurs and employees. If you’re feeling wound up or stressed then it might be time to slow down or take a short break.

Pressing on is always tempting – it’s what entrepreneurs feel that they need to do – but business therapist Emily Griffiths told Zendesk that knowing when to slow down is an invaluable skill. Be mindful of where you are on the stress level chart below.

How to Make Remote Working Work

In a remote working environment, stress and burnout are likely to filter through to team members who will then also become stressed or insecure about their own work. It’s a vicious cycle that is worth avoiding.

4: Positive Reinforcement and Check-ins

If work is going well then make sure this is made clear to the whole team. The whole team should be in tune with the business with regard to deadlines, progress, meeting expectations, etc.

Checking in with everyone and ensuring everyone is secure with their workload, knows what they’re doing, and is otherwise happy with their roles and responsibilities means a lot and doesn’t cost anything.

5: Don’t Forget About Compliance and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity does not discriminate against businesses that work remotely. In fact, they may be even easier to infiltrate and hack, which is why data breaches and other hacking attempts soared throughout lockdown.

Logging into business servers via VPNs is a sensible precaution but combining with a high-quality proxy can defend remote workers from both inbound and outbound attacks.

Additionally, remote working can be a tax nightmare depending on where everyone lives. Tax is usually each individual’s responsibility for the country they live in but it still depends on whether there are formal contracts in place, how work is billed (e.g. as a company or self-employed), and numerous other factors. It’s best to not just shove it all under the carpet and hope it’s fine.

Summary: How to Make Remote Working Work for Your Business

Remote working is becoming very much business as usual, but it’s still new to many people.

Developing a plan for remote working and being aware of any potential challenges should smooth out the process, enabling you and your team to cooperate fluently.