Freelancing and working remotely from home has become more commonplace than ever before. Businesses both big and small, start-ups and well-established giants see the merit in setting up remote teams or individuals who can contribute without having to be physically present in their office locations.
Generally, it is easier and more profitable for small businesses and start-ups than large organizations. The most important factor for remote team setup is a strategic plan of action.
Steps for Transition
A remote setup cannot be achieved overnight. It involves several decisions and a streamlined plan of action.
1. Start by assessing the company’s needs and map out how you visualize the workflow process of a remote team.
2. Assess the position and responsibilities of all the team members and the training needs for managers.
3. Brainstorm on the ideas with the team and get feedback to implement it in the most successful way possible.
4. Arrange to buy or acquire tools or rent out meeting spaces when required.
5. Set up training sessions to train all team members and ensure that everyone is completely aware of their responsibilities and expectations.
6. Do a regular analysis of how the remote work setup is functioning, identify potential al problems if any and make modifications until it is running smoothly and without any hitches.
Advantages of Remote Operations
If executed well, remote operations can offer many benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of a remote team is a financial one. When employees work from home, business owners get to lower operating cost on rent, internet, computers, IT team, utilities, maintenance, power, and so on.
Other minor expenses like food, beverages, water, and office supplies will also be eliminated. These lowering of cost can be used for boosting profits. This would be a boon for start-ups, in particular.
2. Employee benefits:
It increases employee satisfaction as they also save time and money commuting to and fro from workplace.
Going remote requires only a desk space and a good internet connection to get started. Remote working also allows for a broader pool of talents as there are no geographical limits.
3. Paper-free operations:
While operating remotely, there is no need to print out materials, and everything is done online thus cutting down on the need for using paper and physical documents.
Instead, online cloud storage and document sharing is the preferred way of storing and sharing different documents.
There is also a major advantage of paperless documentation – you can find and access what you want quickly and easily on a computer.
Important Decisions for Remote Team Setup
Change in Hiring Policies
After making the decision to completely operate remotely, look out for a talent pool interested in working remotely. Make necessary alterations to the hiring policy depending on whether all or few members of the team operate remotely.
Apart from the necessary skills needed for the job itself, you might want to look out for the candidate’s soft skills like self-confidence, communication, sense of responsibility, and discipline for a high rate of success.
Thanks to the different cloud-based technology currently available, it is easy for everyone to access data from a common place from anywhere in the world. Irrespective of when or where a person logs in, the technology used and the data available remains the same.
There is no need to worry about firewall, security, servers, and remote access when using cloud storage and sharing.
For a competent monthly or yearly fee, your company will have access to terabytes of data and top-class security.
Strict Security Measures
Employees who work remotely have a certain degree of freedom and flexibility, but that does not mean that security is not important. In fact, design a security system and make sure that everyone follows the rules.
One of the first things that the team members should avoid is to use public Wi-Fi available in cafes or libraries.
Store sensitive information in secure clouds, access the internet through virtual private networks (VPN) and change passwords for tools regularly.
To implement your decision to smoothly transition to remote operation will succeed if the managers and team leaders are well prepared, and better still, have prior experience dealing with remote teams.
Make sure to train them well in advance and have a detailed discussion on how to address every possible scenario after implementation.This includes having the right tools installed, answers to questions, feedback system in place, and project tracker.
Needless to mention, it is more difficult to assess the work and performance of members in remote locations, so, obviously, the number of tasks completed or targets achieved per day or per week make more sense than the number of hours clocked in. There are several time-tracking tools that can be used to gauge the amount of time taken to complete tasks.
A Place to Meet
While a dedicated office space is not essential for a team that functions remotely, it is still good to have a place for the occasional team meeting or brainstorming session.
There are temporary office spaces that can be rented by the hour or hotel conference halls available for use upon prior booking.
A Positive Company Culture
Nothing is as important as a great company culture for engaging employees. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American workplace survey report, the company culture was one of the five deciding factors that prompted employees to quit their positions.
Many companies work under the assumption that teams operating remotely might negatively impact company culture. However, this is far from the truth. Regular video conferencing to discuss important ideas as well as internal casual chat option will help connect with each other, irrespective of the distance.
To further boost team morale and relationship, you can use the money saved from using an office space and arrange for a team outing or lunch.
With careful and regular assessments you can gauge the progress of your remote work setup and once it is fully established and running, you will find that it is rewarding and cost-efficient.