A guide to working remotely for small businesses
Working remotely is becoming easier than ever, thanks to new technology and a realisation among employers that flexible working is the way forward.
It offers a new ways for people to contribute to your company, whatever their personal circumstances. It helps people to live their lives in the way that they want to, and to work in a way that balances both work and home.
But are there any things that we as small business owners should bear in mind? Here are just a few thoughts.
Make sure you still have regular meetings
Just because you aren’t in the same building anymore shouldn’t mean you don’t have regular team meetings.
The key word here is ‘regular’. Make seeing each other – either face to face, if you can, or via video conferencing at the very least – a regular part of your business’s rhythm.
It re-enforces that sense of you all being together, but also reminds people of your shared vision and purpose. And showing people how they still contribute to achieving your shared aims is more important than ever when you work remotely.
Use tech (but just not too much)
It goes without saying that if you are running your business remotely then you are going to have to take advantage of a lot of technology – even more than if you were in an office together.
You will need to use cloud tech and collaborative file sharing tech like Dropbox Business or Microsoft OneDrive for Business if you’re working together on projects. And for those all important meetings you can use free streaming services like Zoom Video Conferencing for your online get-togethers.
The key, as always, is to remember it is only an enabler: never value the technology over genuine face to face interaction.
Don’t neglect the cultural side of business
‘Culture’ is one of those words that is very hard to pin down in business. But essentially it is all about what somewhere is like to work. But what if that ‘somewhere’ is actually ‘anywhere’?. When your team are scattered across a city, or even the world, sat in coffee shops in front of their laptops, how do you create a sense of a clear culture?
Well, this is where those regular interactions are so important. But it is also when your leadership also becomes absolutely key: it is up to you to set the tone, to role model how things are done, and to recruit and train people who share your vision.
Culture then becomes less about where you work, and more what you’re all working for.
Jürg Widmer Probst