The workplace of tomorrow will probably look like your living room or home office. Or maybe even a local coffee shop. It will look like anything except an office, whether it’s a traditional one with cubicles or the modern one with lots of open space.
Remote business or team setups can be very rewarding. “From the beginning I’ve been designing the dream job, in fact Cloud LGS was born in a coffeeshop. Knowing that I wanted the ability to work from anywhere it made sense to provide this same benefit to others. I’ve been implementing remote work culture best practices since 2008. Offering the choice of remote work culture or reporting to our office has helped me create more loyalty with my longest tenured teammates”, says Jason Valasek, the CEO of CloudLGS.
But the whole remote working thing can easily backfire, too. If you’re planning to turn your business or a part of it in a remote working operation, you should first make sure it’s up to the challenges. Here are a couple of things that will help you find that out.
You’ve Laid the Communication Groundworks
Communication will be the major concern for your remote business. You should take communication very seriously and find a way to enable every person to connect with specific people or even whole teams. Without that, you’ll have to wrap up your remote business project quickly and go back to the old stuffy workplace.
To make sure that everyone’s on board when it comes to communication, introduce the solutions you plan to use well before going remote. Keep the number of communication tools to the minimum. You’ll probably want to use Slack, and maybe a solution that allows advanced features like conference calling and screen sharing. Ideally, you’d be able to choose a solution that integrates with Slack.
Processes Are Streamlined and Adapted to Remote Working
Streamlining of processes is something businesses should do periodically to reduce costs and improve efficiency. A big change in the business, such as deciding to go fully remote, will require all the processes to be revised and adapted.
Reporting, cooperation, and workflows you established for the office setting might not be as effective for remote working. Just like with communication, your business will benefit with keeping the tech solutions you use to the minimum. You should make sure that every member of the team knows their part and has clear procedures they have to follow in most situations. It goes without saying that team or the whole business needs to have a virtual workspace where all the work is organized.
You’ve Made Successful Forays into Remote Working Already
You can’t transform your business into one that operates only remotely without performing a test first. A good test would be to start offering the employees one day a month they’d be able to work from home. Gradually increase the time to see how working away from the office affects the employees’ performance.
Alternatively, you can hire people who will work for home on a per-need basis. If they perform well, you can offer them a permanent telecommuting position. Either way, it’s important that you have some data that shows you how successful your business can be in a remote setup before committing to it.
If you’re keen on creating a fully remote business, the data will show you which procedures you need to tweak, and which people will not cope well with the change. If everything works out well and it seems like everyone’s onboard, you have an important sign showing you that you’re close to being ready.
You Know How to Manage Remote Teams
Employees are not the only ones who might have a hard time keeping their performance up while working remotely. A manager’s job can get significantly more difficult when they need to manage remote teams. Having to chase around team members who are not answering their Skype calls or Slack messages can be frustrating. Keeping track of everyone’s work without constant access to their workspace is no picnic, either.
If you develop good procedures, create solid workflows, and ensure that everyone’s using the same project management tool, your job as a team or business manager will be much easier. But before you say “yes” to remote working, try spending a couple of weeks working offsite to see how challenging it will be for you. If everything goes well, you’ll be set to go. If not, you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out new solutions.
Remote working is trendy, cool, and it can be very beneficial for businesses and employees alike. But it also has the potential to completely derail a business and cause a lot of unnecessary chaos. Because you would rather have the former happen than the latter, you need to make sure that your business makes this step only when it’s ready.