Running a fully remote business has become the new norm for many entrepreneurs all over the world. Many businesses that would have never considered operating remotely are doing so quite successfully. However, switching to working offsite comes with its challenges that turn into bridges depending on how they are handled. If executed well, remote work can lead to both physical and financial success for a company plus more satisfied staff.
Can I run a business remotely?
Remote work is possible for many types of business but you must be sure you want to go down that route. If you are thinking of transitioning your business to a fully remote entity, here are some things you need to do.
- Assess your business. As much as working remotely is popular, you need to be sure it will work for your business. Analyze your business and study the daily processes to see whether they can be handled in a remote setting. Write down any changes that need to be made for the business to be done remotely. If the changes are achievable and cost-effective, you can consider going remote.
- Develop a communication policy. Proper communication is the backbone of running a remote business. With a communication plan in place, achieving fluid conversations is possible between employees and the management. You may also need to invest in online communication platforms that encourage interaction daily.
- Streamline your systems. If you can make it easy for your employees to access documents, update company information and interact seamlessly, you can run a remote business. The best way is to invest in cloud-hosted platforms that allow access to office files no matter your location. These platforms are essential for anyone thinking of running their business remotely or with virtual workers.
Should your business go remote?
The decision to go remote or not depends on several factors and your business goals. But, how do you know if your business is ready to go remote?
- Your employees have asked to work remotely. If you receive regular requests from your team to let them work from home for certain periods, you may need to go remote. Most employees value the flexibility that comes with working offsite and are likely to be more productive allowing you to retain great talent.
- Your projects can be completed remotely. Low-cost technology has made it possible for employees to deliver on the job without having to meet physically. If your business doesn’t require physical meetings for work to get done, you are an ideal candidate for going remote. You only need to develop tools that allow you to help employees manage time and deliver exceptional work.
- You have invested in the right technology. Working away from the office requires certain types of equipment so that work goes on smoothly. You can start by using free online tools but may need to upgrade to industry-specific tools to accommodate your business needs. Also, learning new technologies should be the norm, so that you are always using the latest ones with your remote workforce.
What are the pros and cons of remote work?
If you are considering going remote with your business, you are not alone. Many business owners are thinking the same and considering whether the option will work well for them. Here are some of the benefits as well as drawbacks of remote work to help you make an informed decision.
- Pros of remote work
Fewer costs are the most obvious reasons for bringing your business remote. The elimination of a physical office means that you don’t need to pay rent. Other amenities such as office computers and supplies will also become a thing of the past. Alternatively, your costs will be online software subscriptions or one-off travel expenditures for essential physical meetings. When compared to the costs of running a traditional office, operating a remote workforce is more affordable.
Happier employees because they don’t have to commute to and from work daily. When employees only need to switch on their computers and work from their remote workstations, they are more productive. For many the freedom to manage their time as long as they finish projects within allocated timelines makes them work longer and better. In addition to savings, they still receive their full salary and accompanying benefits.
Hiring from any location is possible when you are not limited by your physical locality. Employees that fit your needs are no longer out of your reach when you opt for remote working. You have access to a greater pool of workers when working remotely allowing your business to hire the best employees within your means.
- Cons of remote work
Loss of peer-to-peer connections can affect the morale of some employees. Collaborations are more common in a traditional office because employees interact regularly. With the absence of such interactions, team spirit may be affected and some employees may feel isolated. For business owners, supervision and leadership of your team may become a challenge.
An increase in distractions due to work environment or personal challenges is common for remote workers. For many employees striking a balance between work and personal duties when working within the home may be challenging resulting in less productivity. It’s easier for remote workers to care less for their job because they only interact through a screen or they have to do their work and handle home matters simultaneously.
Limited communication is a common drawback because the communication is mainly through computer screens. It is harder to read an employee’s body language when you can only see their face on a handheld device, making it harder to connect. Also, rapid communication through online platforms may be hindered when you have to wait for employees in different time zones to respond for decisions to be made.
Ultimately, switching to a remote business requires a plan and focus for it to be successful. You can start with a hybrid model and later on shift to a fully remote business depending on your needs.