Considering moving to an all-remote workforce? Good for you! There are countless benefits to ditching the old brick-and-mortar ball-and-chain and transitioning into a more modern working model. But first, you’re going to make sure you’ve got these 11 things every remote company needs to succeed.
Some are software (which you probably expected), but others are things that you, your staff and your company need to have in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. Read on and see if you’re ready to make the switch.
Here are 11 Must-haves for transitioning to all remote work:
1. Communication software
When you can’t poke your head in the next office over to ask a question, and email is too time-consuming and cumbersome, communication software like Skype, Slack, and Microsoft Teams is what keeps your business communications running at top speed.
These quick-form communication softwares are like chat rooms for your employees. You can create company-wide chat rooms, departmental chat rooms, specific project chat rooms, or send direct messages from one person to another. It’s very similar to texting, but your people can do it right from their laptops, without having to pick up and log into their phones. Plus, conversations can be set to save in the program for as long as you like, so unlike voice conversations, you can go back and check the notes on any conversation.
Slack and programs like it also allow for sharing or organizing files, video calling, setting reminders for tasks, and more. These softwares are almost like mini project management programs, helping your team keep organized and productive while working remotely.
2. A trustworthy team
Shaking in your office chair thinking of paying people to do work you can’t see? That’s reasonable! But probably not necessary. Thousands of top-tier, Forbes-500 type companies use remote workers, either freelance or full-time. If they can, you can, too.
You just need a trustworthy team. What does a day in your work life look like now? Do your people need a lot of handholding? Can you trust them to log time and expenses honestly? Does their work get done on time and accurately? If you’ve got a good team now, chances are, they’ll only be better when you give them the chance to work remotely. And if you don’t have a good team – get one!
3. Project management software
Organization is the cornerstone that holds remote companies together. So you’ll need to invest in a project management software like Teamwork or Basecamp to serve as a virtual headquarters for all your projects. With project management software, you’ll be able to share and store files, assign tasks, message project key players, track time, and more.
4. 100% clarity on tasks and deadlines
In the brick-and-mortar days, if someone was sitting at their desk staring into space with nothing to do, you’d see it. But with a remote team, an employee without enough to fill their day can slip by unnoticed and end up costing you money.
Plan ahead, and use your project management software to assign tasks and deadlines in a clear, orderly fashion that easy for your people to keep up with. You always want to know how full your employee’s schedules are so you don’t see peaks and valleys in production.
5. A schedule (of sorts)
Some remote companies prefer to stay on the traditional 8-5 schedule, but others prefer a schedule that allows for more flexibility. You’ll have to choose what works best for your team, and communicate expectations accordingly. Make it clear when you expect your people to be available, and how quickly emails, texts, and chat messages should be responded to.
6. Regular meetings
Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you have to be lonely! Regular meetings keep you in touch with your staff and allow the informal “office banter” you used to have continue unencumbered. Keeping some face time with your people will help nurture “office” relations and help people not feel isolated when they’re working at home.
7.Clearly defined feedback
When your people turn in an assignment or complete a task, make sure to give them solid feedback to use going forward. A compliment on great work leads to more great work later, as does constructive criticism. Don’t let the fact that you’re not sitting in the same building hinder your staff’s ability to grow and improve. Or yours.
8.Virtual communication “soft skills”
Remote work requires you to do a lot of text communication with your staff. Without being able to change your tone of voice or facial expression, you’ve got to be able to deliver harsh news gently, ask questions without seeming demanding, and express enthusiasm at the good news that keeps your team smiling for days. This can be difficult for even professional writers. Emojis, punctuation, and precise word choice count. Here’s an article to help you get started.
9. Time management software
Everybody needs to know what everyone else is doing at any given minute. That’s where an easy-to-use tool like Google Calendar comes in. Google calendar and other calendar software can help you and your team coordinate meetings, carve out time for project work and keep tasks on track without ever seeing each other in person.
10. Group editing software
While your project management and conferencing programs should also include file-sharing capabilities, nothing allows for seamless editing like Google Drive. Files in Google Drive can be shared with members of your team as well as clients and can be edited, commented on, and perfected with as a team. Best of all, Google Drive automatically saves each version, so if someone makes a mistake, not all is lost. The automatic backup feature it itself is a lifesaver.
11. Enthusiasm about the change!
Even the best project will fail if the people behind it lack passion. Embrace the freedom of having your teamwork remotely! They’ll love the reclaimed time in their day, and you’ll love all the money you save on overhead. Not to mention, you’ll attract better talent when you have literally the whole world to pull from.