The transition of businesses from traditional to remote companies is becoming more and more popular for several reasons. First of all, companies are able to save money by paying much less for office space and in utility bills.
Then there is also the benefit to the employees, they are able to save time (sometimes hours per day!) and money by not commuting to the office – something that has been proven to boost morale and productivity amongst the workforce.
There is also a much wider talent pool to pick from for remote companies that hire remote workers, since you are no longer bound to one location.
All that being said, despite the benefits, there is also an intimidating aspect to the process that bosses must consider.
It can be tricky to convert traditionally functioning business operations over into a style better suited to remote work, there is infrastructure to remodel, and employees might even require retraining.
However, by taking asking yourself some important questions before you even consider to start to transition to a remote work company, you can get a proper idea of whether it will actually work or not.
Could your business actually function like remote companies?
First of all, you need to work out if it is actually sensible to transition your company into a remote one. You will need to gather as much information as possible about your business’ needs, and also research how similar-sized companies working in the same sector have made the transition.
It’s worth remembering that not all companies are suited to working remotely. Take stock of the day to day processes in your office and consider if it would be possible to have your employees fulfill their day to day duties while working remotely.
How much (re)training will be required? Do you have the budget to outsource IT and accounting services? These are all things that must be properly considered before you make the switch to becoming a remote company.
Get with the times
Lots of companies still use paper. Paper costs a lot of money, takes up a lot of storage space, and for most businesses nowadays, is a wildly inefficient way of doing things.
If you are considering transitioning to remote work, you will need to make sure essential documents are scanned in and stored securely.
Are you going to be able to do this? This is a time consuming operation, but if it can be done, you are well on your way to facilitating remote work. Being able to quickly locate documents is the primary advantage of a paperless system.
Leading on from going paperless, could your business function properly using solely cloud-based technology? If you haven’t begun to take advantage of cloud-hosted platforms, then now is the time – even if you aren’t considering an imminent switch to a remote working model.
Your business can stand to save quite a large amount of money on no longer needing to pay for server space, remote access technology, etc.
If you are at the stage where you think you might like to trial how your business deals with working remotely, make sure you take your time with integrating such systems.
A gradual approach is best here, and quite often, staff will need to undergo some form of initial training to give them the best chance of hitting the ground running when the transition to remote work takes place.
Would you able to relinquish at least some control?
If you are sure that your company could transition to be fully remote, the next thing you need to ask yourself is if you, and your management team would be able to “let go” and trust your employees to get their work done efficiently from a remote location.
Control freaks and remote teams seldom mix well. You need to be able to trust your workers to formulate their own ways of getting things done, without direct supervision.
If you are unable to relinquish control, and think you will be constantly checking up on people, you will swiftly drive yourself mad – it will become a job in itself, and you already have your own work to get done.
This is a key point to consider in remote companies because not everyone is able to “let go”, they have to have their ears on the ground for every second of the working day.
Remote companies require their owners and management to take a step back for their remote workers to properly flourish in their remote work.
Does your vision for your remote company match that of your clients and employees?
If you’re sure that your company is capable of functioning remotely like other remote companies, and that you are able to take a little bit of a back seat, you now need to start thinking about your current employees and clients – would the former be happy working remotely, the latter with dealing with a remote company?
It’s critical that you provide your current employees with a forum to voice their concerns, and opinions about potentially making the decision to remodel the company into a remote one.
Your workers will have to be happy with their new roles, and fully in agreement with the new responsibilities that you lay out for them.
Some employees will require greater attention than others in terms of training, and also mentoring, make sure it’s clear that they know what to do in case things start to go awry.
Even though remote companies are becoming more and more common, some clients might be wary of working with one if they haven’t done so before.
From the outside looking in, it is easy to understand why some clients might fear things becoming more disorganised, leading to delays – it is up to you to allay these fears and help them properly understand your new processes for working remotely.
You have to leave some room for flexibility, because no matter how well you think you have everything planned out, something will always crop up to spoil even the best laid plans.
Have a trial run
So, once you have weighed up the above, and you are sure your company can be successful working remotely, you need to have a trial run. As just mentioned, even the best laid plans on paper can be swiftly ruined by things that can only arise when putting them into practice.
Depending on the size of your company, it would be wise to have separate departments, or employees, each take some period of time working remotely.
That way, as they take their turns, you will be able to quickly understand and come up with fixes for any issues that will inevitably arise. You could even consider hiring a remote worker on a trial basis, to give yourself a good idea of what it’s like to manage a new remote worker.
If the remote working trial run proves a success for the business, your team, and your clients, you are in a position where you can fully commence the transition from the traditional business model to a more modern remote model.
Remote companies can be an exciting, yet daunting prospect. If you can make a success of the transition to remote work, your business stands to save money on the standard expenses incurred by traditional office work.
There is also a high chance that your employees’ morale and overall productivity will receive a hearty boost.
Irrespective of whether or not you actually make the transition to become a remote company, considering the above points will hopefully provide you with some food for thought to help improve your current business, and improve the efficiency and profitability of your current processes.
Bonus tip for remote companies:
Background noise can have a drastic impact on productivity and concentration, whether you are working remotely from home, or in the office.
This nifty noise cancelling app filters out pesky background noise at both ends, leading to a significant boost in the quality of your calls. Try it for yourself, and let us know how you get on in the comments!
Do you have your own company? Would you like to share your experiences with making the transition from office to remote work? Did we miss anything that you had to go through? Let us know in the comments below…