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Since COVID-19 happened in 2019, several measures have been implemented to try to deal with what has become a pandemic disease.
Masks have become commonplace and social distancing has been recommended. Lockdowns have also been enforced in an attempt to contain the virus and to stop it from spreading to other places.
With lockdowns, the movement of the people has been controlled. Schools closed up and online classes became the norm.
A lot of businesses struggled to survive and had to find other ways to continue operations. Many of these businesses failed, unfortunately.
However, quite a good number are still fighting to hold on, and there are some that have transitioned to become a successful remote business.
If your business is struggling to deal with all the lockdowns, perhaps it’s time you look into turning it into a remote business.
Moreover, even if your business is getting by without changing setups, you should still consider going home-based since there are several advantages to running a remote business.
Benefits of a Remote Business
With the advances in technology, it is now possible to forgo the typical, and often expensive, physical office and opt for a virtual office instead.
Running a remote business does not only benefit you, the owner, but also your employees.
Here are some advantages of going remote:
If your staff works from home, you don’t have to rent a big office or any office at all. What’s more, you can save on utilities like water, electricity, and Wi-Fi, cleaning services, building maintenance, equipment, and furniture.
Time is one of the most important resources. Everything requires time. All work uses up time and takes place in time.
However, we cannot buy, rent, hire, or obtain more time. This is why it is so valuable.
Telecommute or remote working encourages employees to make use of their time more productively. Working from home means less time spent on traveling and office gossip, and tardiness.
Also, if a company has employees from all over the world, the business can stay open 24/7.
Expanding Talent Pool
Selecting remote workers gives business owners a much wider choice of staff.
It is easier to find staff who have specialized skills and you can save on training. In addition, you don’t have to spend on relocation costs.
Reducing Employee Absences
There are times when employees feel a bit under the weather. Those who work from home are less likely to miss work since they don’t need to travel to work while they are feeling unwell.
If they need to, they can also take a rest. This is also true for time off for events or appointments. An employee won’t take time off unnecessarily if they can manage their schedule.
Aside from that, in the event of an outbreak of an illness in a community, a natural disaster, or a local or national emergency, workers not affected by the crisis can still keep working.
Productive employees mean higher efficiency and profit. Aside from fewer social distractions, employees have more opportunities to take breaks when they need to.
Psychologists say that this helps with workers’ motivation, creativity, and overall performance, among other benefits1.
Also, it is in the employee’s best interest to use their time wisely and get the job done effectively.
7 Tips for Managing a Business Remotely
So, you have decided to make the switch to or start a new remote business. There are some things that you can do to help your remote business succeed.
Make sure you set clear goals
By setting clear goals for yourself and each of your employees, you can help everyone stay on track.
There has to be set expectations for each role, set deadlines for tasks, and weekly to-do lists so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
Include as much detail as you can when setting expectations and goals. Post them where any member of the team can easily access them.
Clear expectations keep everyone accountable even if there are some hiccups along the way.
Make use of the right tools
There are a variety of software tools that you can use to run a remote company successfully.
For example, you need software tools for files that your employees need to access to do their jobs efficiently in a remote setting.
You will also need some remote conferencing software to hold company meetings, conduct remote interviews, or perform webinars.
In addition, project management tools can also help you assign specific tasks to individual workers and group projects to different teams.
Hire the right people
Successful remote workers mean a successful remote business. Needless to say, you need to hire the right workers.
You should take advantage of the large pool of candidates that you can choose from. There are plenty of sites where you can use to find the right remote talent to hire.
Just make sure that they are self-motivated since you can’t manage them constantly.
Come up with a communication plan
You will need a good communication plan since talking in-person to employees is not possible with a remote business.
If Skype or email has to be used just to ask a simple question, you should examine your plan because there are other tools that you can use to make communication seamless.
Streamline project management
Each project poses a different set of challenges to you and your team. When you streamline project management, you can save time, money, and resources.
To make streamlining projects easier, use a specialized software like Basecamp or Trello that offers a combination of chat channels.
It is also recommended to choose a tool that allows you to do other functions like creating tasks, sharing links, and attaching files. This way, you and your team members can work together to achieve a common goal.
From the early stages to the completion of the project, make sure you plan the scope, risks, and time frame well. You can even draft plans that will serve as the guide for:
- Project goals
Create process documentation
Process documentation refers to capturing all vital information to execute a process within your company. This document that functions as the roadmap for your business processes can greatly help old and new employees familiarize themselves with different tasks to increase their efficiency.
Take advantage of digital platforms and create a cloud-based information repository that workers can access anytime, anywhere.
This can be a word document or a video. Make sure all the information is straight to the point and uncomplicated. This way, people can still understand it even without in-person guidance.
One-on-ones with employees
Whatever business you have, it’s crucial to know where your employees stand. Check-ins can cover many things like:
- Task progress
- Employee well-being
- Personal development
You must remember that all your employees are facing unique challenges so they need to feel your support.
When you implement regular check-ins, you will be able to lay the foundation for a positive working relationship and even increase performance and engagement.
Best Tools for Remote Businesses in the Philippines
Ten years ago, running a remote business was a much bigger challenge.
Not today, though. Business owners now have a lot of choices when it comes to useful tools that could help them run their business smoothly.
Some of the amazing tools you can use to run your remote business are:
Best for: Team communication & collaboration
Cost: Free (Pro account starts at $6.67/month per user)
A workplace communication tool, Slack allows you to send messages and store files, among other things.
The instant messaging system also has plenty of add-ins that can be used with other workplace tools. However, its main functionality is about communicating with other people.
Slack has two methods of chat—direct message (person-to-person chat) and channels (group chat).
Best for: Cloud storage & document management
Cost: Free (Pro account starts at $4.20/month per user)
A suite of intelligent business apps, Google Workspace comes in quite handy as it has a variety of apps you can use for work.
Also, it is easy to use and has the best collaboration features. Google Workspace includes:
- Gmail – for email messaging
- Google Calendar – for scheduling and reminders
- Google Drive – for storing and sharing files
- Google Docs – for creating and editing text documents and spreadsheets
- Google Sheets – spreadsheets for accounting, analytics, data gathering, and more
- Google Slides – for slide decks and presentations
- Google Keep – for note taking
- Google Meet – video conference calls
Best for: Project Management
Cost: Free (paid account starts at $5/month per user)
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes projects into boards, so you can see what is being worked on, where it is in a process, and who is working on it.
It is basically a virtual whiteboard that can be filled with virtual sticky notes.
You and your team can add photos, documents, and attachments from other sources to each note. You can also collaborate with your team and write comments.
Best for: Video calls & conferences
Cost: Free (premium account starts at $14.99/month)
A video conferencing platform, Zoom can be used through a mobile or a computer desktop app.
You can set up video and audio conferencing, live chats, webinars, and screen-sharing.
It also has other collaborative capabilities. Zoom is compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS, so almost anyone can access it.
Best for: Time tracking
Cost: Free (premium account starts at $6/month per seat)
Traqq is an employee monitoring software that tracks the productivity and attendance of employees through automated monitoring tools, such as screenshots, screen recordings, app and web monitoring, and team activity levels.
Business owners can measure and analyze the activity levels of their team with online activity logs and time tracking logs.
They can also find the employees that are performing well and coordinate the ones that are least-performing.
Best for: Accounting & Payroll
Cost: Starts at $20/month
Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that performs bookkeeping functions, including invoicing and payroll.
It also allows you to connect to a live bank feed. Xero has a feature called business snapshot, which is a dashboard-style report that displays performance measures.
This is helpful in understanding the financial position of your business.