As a budding business, you might be ready to build a remote office (if you haven’t already). Thanks to the rise of telecommuting and other technological advances of 2016, limitations of a physical workplace are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Working remotely provides a ton of benefits for today’s startup by allowing your company to grow without the expensive overhead costs of renting an office space and supplying that space with necessities (ie. wifi, electricity, coffee…need we continue?). Although you’re establishing a remote team, it should be anything but isolating for them or you. Here are our tips for running a remote office while still encouraging a positive culture with high productivity:
Step One: Build a Remote Team
If you’re ready to take the plunge and build your remote team, start with the most important factor: the people. When hiring employees to work remotely, look for the doers and the go-getters. These self-motivated individuals are capable of getting work done, no matter their geographic location. With a little bit of guidance from you, they’re producing quality work daily without needing a nudge.
Another tip? Hire remote employees that are not only effective communicators and writers, but can also express personality through digital channels. With most, if not all, of your daily business tasks taking place over phone or email, having people on your team who can effectively express themselves and your brand with charisma is key.
Step Two: Establish (and Maintain) Company Culture
If you’re a solo-preneur in the process of expanding, make a list of the things that you want your company to encompass as you start adding employees. On this list make sure you outline things like expected office hours, weekly or biweekly conference calls, and how day to day tasks will be communicated (Asana tasks or Slack giphys?). Determine company goals, both long-term and short-term, and how you want to get there. Establishing your expectations up front will make for smooth transitions as you add more members to your team.
Step Three: Provide Tools for your Team
Plan to provide your new team with tools that ensure their success. Tools are important because they keep your business and employees organized and help everyone work towards the same goals. Want to know a few of our favorites?
A cloud-based home for photos, files, and videos, Dropbox conveniently allows document sharing without the hassle of attachments.
Occasionally, remote team members will need to sign something. As opposed to having them print a document, sign their name, scan it, and send it off, use a tool like DocuSign. DocuSign creates an electronic signature on anything from PDFs to Word documents.
Trello is a virtual and fluid to-do list that can be updated at any time. Create different boards for employees to check things off of the list in a visual, collaborative way.
Quickbooks happens to be one of our favorite bookkeeping tools (we’ve shared that once or twice), and we would be remiss not to share it with you again.
This tool has become so integral to our business communication. Slack gives you complete access to your team 24/7 whether they are at their desktop or on the go via mobile. Share thoughts, ideas, documents, etc… from person to person or among teams. Slack has revolutionized our ability to stay-in touch easily (and of course share /giphy high fives)
Cautions for Remote Teams:
Before we let you go, we had to point out the obvious: there are always cautions to consider when running a remote office. Even though you’ve hired the best communicators out there (as we discussed in step one), communication can be hard in a remote environment. The convenience of walking over to someone’s desk or office isn’t available, and when you need an answer soon, impatience can get the best of you. Establish ways to troubleshoot emergency situations from the get-go. Another possible snag? Despite your best efforts, company culture can waver. Consider company training in your city or a company retreat that pulls each remote employee together once a year. While an expense, the outcome of a stronger, more productive team is priceless.
Finally, remember that as a small business owner, you can’t do it all yourself. Find employees, strategic partners, and tools that can not only help you grow, but scale with your business as it blossoms. AcuityComplete can work with you to handle your small business accounting from today and beyond. If you’re ready to get started, or even just the slightest bit curious, talk to an expert.