How to Set-Up a Fully Remote Business
Working remotely is not just popular with people who like to work in bed. With covid-19, being able to operate a business remotely has become an urgent necessity for companies of all sizes.
For at least a decade before the global pandemic forced millions of workers to work from home for the first time, the number of global companies offering remote employment was on the rise.
A 2019 global workspace survey found that 85% of 15,000 companies had confirmed that offering their staff location flexibility had directly resulted in boosted business productivity.
Switching to remote work models can be challenging, especially for companies that were never open to remote work practices before the pandemic abruptly changed our work environments.
What is a fully remote business?
It might seem like a no-brainer, but within a fully remote business, remote work practices are the norm and not the exception. To be specific, this doesn’t mean that all of the company’s employees are working remotely – but more importantly – that all of the business operations and activities are developed to enable remote communication. A fully remote business prioritizes remote employees in exactly the same way as those working at its headquarters.
In this article, we’ll explore 7 simple steps you can take in order to establish a fully remote business.
1. Establish a Remote Work Policy
Within a fully remote business, your employees need to know exactly how to conduct themselves within a virtual work environment. This is why – much like a standard work policy has always been required reading for all employees – remote workers require a clear policy outline that informs them of all the company’s rules and guidelines for working remotely. A remote work policy should include and explain aspects like data security, communication procedures, staff interaction rules, tracking work hours methods, as well as the company’s preferences for monitoring business productivity and performance. Customize your remote work policy according to your company’s particular needs and operations.
2. Select Remote Work Tools
Over the last decade, cloud computing technology is essentially what has made remote work possible, connecting work teams around the world virtually rather than inside an office. A crucial aspect of setting up a fully remote business is to select the most appropriate remote work tools available, and to seamlessly integrate them within your current work processes. Your staff should know exactly what software they are allowed to use in order to perform your company’s tasks. Depending on market sectors and client expectations, for your company to be fully remote, it may require IT solutions like :
- project management software,
- scheduling applications,
- cloud storage services
- and video conferencing tools.
3. Work with Remote Developers
For traditional businesses, the limited availability or quality of local talent has always been a major issue for human resource departments. Fully remote companies are able to reduce operational costs and take advantage of global talent pools, by outsourcing key business tasks to remote software developers, project managers and other employees with dedicated knowledge and experience. Transitioning to being a fully remote business can be achieved by essentially decentralizing your business activities and distributing tasks and processes across an efficient and flexible network of remote workers based around the world. Why constrain your business with local limitations if there are cheaper and more dedicated remote solutions?
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4. Determine Workspace Setups
As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide your staff with all the necessary hardware, software and any other tools needed to perform the required business tasks. For a fully remote business, you basically need to establish an efficient mobile workspace that includes things like a laptop computer, a high-speed internet connection, cybersecurity software, a smartphone or tablet, as well as a wide range of remote software or app subscriptions. Even if you are unable to provide this equipment directly to your employees, reimbursing them or providing a one-off stipend to cover the cost is absolutely necessary for ensuring that your remote staff has everything they need to perform.
5. Set-up a Remote Onboarding Process
Hiring new remote employees can be streamlined by implementing an efficient onboarding process developed specifically for remote work practices. Since you don’t have the advantage of building new relationships in person, you need to set clear expectations, by going through your remote work policy, answering any questions and making sure that your remote employees know exactly how to use your preferred tools and software. During the onboarding process, it is important for company managers and team leaders to teach newcomers about how to set up flexible workspaces, to explain how tasks are assigned and deadlines set, in addition to providing software tutorials and discussing all the appropriate routes for feedback, concerns and troubleshooting.
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6. Build Mobile Headquarters
As mentioned above, in order to establish a fully remote business, you need to ensure that your remote-teams must not be treated as less important than the in-house teams based at your company’s physical headquarters. Within a real remote-first work environment, remote employees should function and perform in exactly the same way as your local employees. The goal is seamless interaction between local and remote staff. By frequently connecting remote teams to local teams through video conferencing, you can help establish and maintain a more consistent remote culture, as well as to avoid or minimize inefficiencies or misunderstandings between local and remote processes.
7. Organize Non-Virtual Team Building
Regardless of its numerous benefits for both companies and employees, remote work doesn’t always feel right for everyone. Without the social support of colleagues in an office environment, long hours working from home can make some employees feel lonely, alienated and ultimately unproductive.
This is precisely why, in an age of potential social isolation and extended lockdowns, it is important for employers to regularly organize and encourage non-virtual team building activities for staff based in the same country. Whether it’s a sponsored company holiday for the team or a pub quiz night, real life interaction between employees does wonders for boosting productivity and keeping workers satisfied.