Remote working presents many benefits, but also several challenges. Small business owners now need to embrace new processes to deal with these changes.
Adapting to remote working can seem difficult. Small businesses often have limited resources, with remote working introducing additional issues. Managing this change will mean owners need to step outside their comfort zones.
Employees are the greatest resources of a company and small business owners need to reconsider workplace interactions. Remote working may be difficult for employees too. Empathising with these changes may reduce any frictions.
So, here are our top five tips on how to successfully manage a remote team.
1. Schedule Downtime
Remote work can become stressful, as there is less separation between work and home life. Employees may feel as though, they’re always working, as work is so easy to access online.
It’s important to schedule downtime and remind employees to think about their mental health. Downtime will help everyone recover from work-related stress. This could be done by engaging in a quick yoga session or playing online card games. Small business owners need to help employees work out which relaxation method works best for them.
2. Set Expectations
Remote working may change traditional communication patterns, as people won’t be talking face-to-face anymore. Communicating with colleagues in different time zones further complicates matters. In situations like this, it is best to document employee expectations and define performance targets.
For example, before hiring new employees, set out business expectations for their first week, month, and quarter.
Setting expectations will avoid burnout and minimise the chance of hiring someone who may be a poor fit for the role.
3. Use Technology for Onboarding
These days, most people are living the majority of their lives online. Many workplaces have clung to outdated processes, with some companies still requiring employees to physically sign documents in person.
Remote work means businesses need to use new technological solutions. It’s a great idea to use platforms where you can electronically sign contracts, schedule meetings, and store information. When onboarding a new employee, prioritise getting them online as quickly as possible.
Store important documentation online and check-in with employees, so everything is clear. Often, what may be clear to one person, may be complicated to someone else. Automating onboarding will simplify the process. In turn, quick onboarding may ensure employees work for the company for longer.
4. Standardise Communication
In this day and age, every company, no matter its size, is global. Customers are based across the globe, so firms are hiring a more international employee base. This could result in challenges in communication.
Due to different time zones, holding meetings or chatting in real-time may not always be an option. Asynchronous communication is becoming the new norm. The best way to deal with this issue is by standarsising communication. For example, ensure email communications are standardised.
It may also be a great idea to set response times, as most employees may be used to having queries answered immediately. Standardising communication may be similar to creating a new culture in your company and is by no means an easy job.
However, implementing asynchronous communication means you work with worldwide talent, better connecting you to customers across the globe.
Remote working may present business owners with many challenges, but you need to remember that it is a time of change for employees too. Most employees may be used to face-to-face interactions. Remote work will remove this, which may be viewed negatively by many.
Help your employees adjust, by adopting virtual communication channels. Encourage general chit-chat by creating separate chat channels. Encourage employees to consider their mental health, since remote work can prove highly stressful.
Doing so, will ensure employees perform at their very best, but will also help your company retain and attract the very best talent. Great workers are looking for great employers. Empathising with the challenges facing your employees due to remote working will mean you can place yourself ahead of the competition.
Before COVID-19, most people never envisioned a future where the majority would be working remotely. However, it is now quickly becoming the norm and small businesses need to adapt. From technology to new business processes, there are many solutions to help owners cope with their new working environment. Embracing change is the key to minimal disruption.
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