The advent of technology has made it very easy for entrepreneurs to do business in different parts of the world. Working remotely also allows them to save money on operational costs as they no longer have to pay for rent and other utilities. But on the other side of the coin, the distance can become a challenge, especially if your business works with several employees.
Working at home and managing your business remotely can be challenging, but it can always be done. It’ll be very easy for you to accomplish these goals if you follow the tips listed below:
1. Find The Right Technology
Technology should be your best friend when managing your business remotely. With the right apps and software, it’ll be very easy for you to manage your employees, assign tasks to them, and monitor the progress of your business in the industry. Different innovations will even allow you to communicate with several shareholders simultaneously without leaving the comfort of your home.
An Ipad POS for business, for example, is a great investment because it’s user-friendly and protects the data of your customer. This technology can also be a goldmine of information that can help you determine how you can improve your current strategies.
If you’re leaning towards this direction, make sure to consider the following when finding the right technology for your remote business:
- Focus on your pain points: Different businesses operate differently. This means that even if you and your competitors sell the same products and services, each of you will still have unique internal and external processes. More often than not, you will implement very different recruitment, onboarding, and marketing strategies, to name a few.
This difference is one of the reasons why you should focus on the pain points of your business before choosing a specific technology when managing your business remotely. The technology you’ll end up using should help your business improve its productivity in a very timely manner. Make sure that you fully understand what areas your business is doing well in, and which ones need improvement.
- Spend time to ask your team: When choosing a technology for your business, it’s also essential to talk to your team before making a decision. This is especially important if your business has grown over the years and operates with different teams.
Be transparent and let the team know that you’re thinking about implementing new technologies in the business. Ask them what their pain points are, and use the information you’ve gathered from them to influence your decisions. Are your employees spending a lot of time on repetitive tasks? Are they having problems communicating with customers? What systems do you think will improve their customer service?
Coming up with answers to these questions is important because aside from deciding which technologies to use, this will prepare your employees for change. The more they are engaged with the business, the easier it’ll be for them to adapt to significant changes.
- Look closely at your financial model: Money is one of the most important resources in a business. You need to have a sufficient amount of money to ensure that your business continues to operate for a long period. This remains true even if you’re working from home. How can you pay for your employees’ salary if you have a zero balance in your bank account? How can you continue to work if you don’t have any money to pay for your electricity and internet connection?
When choosing a technology for your remote business, always consider the financial model of your business, as well. Sure, these technologies can improve your operations, but choosing one that is too expensive for your budget might require you to compromise other facets of the business. In the worst cases, this can become the reason why you’ll have to discontinue your operations so you can recover from your financial issues.
The technology you use for your business should be cost-effective and should come with an affordable price tag. Spend some time to compare your options so you can easily determine which service providers have reasonable prices.
2. Develop Robust Communication Processes
Communication is vital when managing a remote business. Proper communication is key to your success because it allows you to engage with your employees, allocate tasks to them, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. The right communication channels will also make it very easy for everyone in the team to raise concerns and brainstorm the necessary solutions.
If you have been managing your business from home for quite some time, you might have been using a few communication channels to work with your employees. But are these communication channels effective? Are you using these communication channels properly? Is your business earning a return on investment from these channels?
If you’re still unsure of the answers to these questions, it might be time for you to develop a robust communication process. Coupled with the right communication apps and software you have in your business right now, implementing the following will surely encourage and improve communication in your remote business:
- Do not conflate words when communicating: Although it can be very tempting to communicate using fewer words with your employees, make sure that you don’t do it. Conflating words will make it very challenging for your employees to stay on the same page since they might have a different understanding of your message. Aside from resulting in conflict, this can also cause money to go down the drain as your communication channels will no longer serve their purpose.
As an entrepreneur, put yourself in the shoes of your employees and keep in mind that not everyone will understand your shorthand and cues. If you want all of your communication channels to be effective, make your message clear and concise regardless of the medium you usually use. You should be able to use emails and other online communication channels to keep the entire team intact, not advocate miscommunication.
- Don’t bombard your team with too many messages: Having communication channels in place can help your business processes, but using too many at the same time can have adverse effects on the morale of your employees and productivity of your business. Following up on a task by sending several emails and text messages to your employees within the hour can be irritating. The same is also true if you always ask your employees if they got your previous message and demand a reply on the spot.
Never abuse your communication channels and make your employees feel uncomfortable about using them. There are now different communication channels available for remote businesses today, so make sure that you choose these responsibly and wisely.
- Establish communication norms: Establishing communication norms when managing your business remotely can be tough, but this can actually offer several benefits. Implementing creative acronyms and introducing them to your employees will make the virtual workplace more fun and encourage employees to engage more with each other.
Using unique acronyms is one of the easiest ways for you to establish communication norms. You can use acronyms such as NNTR (which stands for No Need To Respond) or 4HR (which stands for Four Hour Response). You can use as many acronyms as you want, you just have to make sure that all of your employees understand the acronyms and when these should be used.
3. Be Smart In Planning Your Time
One of the biggest pros you can get when you start working from home is the ability to experience flexibility. Since you won’t have to report in a physical office in order to be productive, working at home will make it very easy for you to achieve work-life balance. You can basically work whenever and wherever you want to when you start to manage a business remotely!
However, this isn’t always the case, especially if you don’t know how to plan and manage your time. Sure, you might be able to go on a vacation anytime you want to, but if you’re not able to sync your schedule with your employees, you’ll end up answering their emails and calls when you’re in your hotel room. This is not the best way to spend your trip, right?
If you don’t want any of these to happen and ensure that you can still manage your business even when you go on vacation, always be smart with your time when you work from home. Here’s how you can do it:
- Make sure to set up your working hours: Working at home will make it very easy for you to start on one task, leave it, and then engage with another. You might start your day by answering your work emails, but since you’re at home, you’ll be easily enticed to play with your kids and do some home chores.
Switching to and from different chores can usually lead to unproductivity and become a waste of time and energy. More often than not, you’ll see yourself not finishing a single task in a day when you’re caught up with this cycle.
You can steer away from this situation by setting up your working hours. This means that you should determine the time of the day where you’ll start working and avoid any distractions during this time frame. For example, if you’re eyeing to work from 8 AM-3 PM every day, you should focus on your tasks at work and not engage in any personal matters. This will help you do more tasks during the day because you’re focused on one thing only.
- Set aside specific days and methods for team interaction: As mentioned, it’ll be very challenging for you to take days off if work is always chasing you whenever you go offline. This kind of situation will have significant consequences for your business, especially if you’re going to take weeks off from work.
Teamwork and collaboration should always be practiced when you manage remote employees. Aside from using technology to your advantage and choosing the right communication channels, it’s also important for you to set aside specific days and methods for team interaction. This means that regardless of how busy the business is, everyone should allocate time to talk to the team using one communication channel. This schedule will allow everyone to touch base with each other and follow-up with tasks that concern other teams.
If you’re planning to go on vacation, you can also use this time to inform your employees and leave them tasks before you go. Doing this will prevent any problems when you’re away as your employees will already know their responsibilities and what is expected from them when you’re away.
- Have one-on-one meetings with your employees: Distance is one of the biggest issues you will have when you start to manage remote employees. This setup can easily make your employees feel distant and isolated. This is especially true if you currently work with several employees.
Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by conducting one-on-one meetings with your employees. These meetings are essential for you to connect with your employees, develop a rapport with them, and check in on how they are doing.
Unlike team meetings, one-on-one meetings are more personal and allow you to get to know your employees on a personal level. Make sure that you allocate time every single day to do one-on-ones with your employees. You don’t have to conduct one-on-one meetings with each of your employees every single day, but random checks with them within the week will surely go a long way to keep them engaged and boost their productivity.
Consistency Is Key
Choosing to work at home allows you to experience countless benefits, but this setup also comes with several drawbacks. If you want to succeed with your efforts, you need to look at the bigger picture and come up with solutions for the challenges you might face along the way.
You won’t have to look any further in order to create effective solutions, as this article can become your guide to effectively manage your business remotely. As long as you implement these tips consistently, it won’t be long before your business succeeds!