6 Changes Remote Companies May Experience
All business organizations evolve as they grow. Remote companies, though, may experience particular changes that present challenges, and opportunities, that are specific to their virtual operations. The changes remote companies may experience can offer fantastic opportunities for even greater growth, while helping managers optimize efficiency.
Remote.co recently surveyed a number of remote companies about what changes they’ve seen since their organizations were launched.
In their responses to a question about what’s changed concerning how their remote team operates, a few powerful themes emerged that can serve as guideposts for leaders at other remote companies who want to be prepared for change.
We’ve compiled their answers in the list below, with the idea of providing compelling tips and strategic insight into how remote companies evolve.
Here are six changes remote companies may experience:
1. Waves of Technological Challenges That Affect Company Operation
As technology moves ever-forward, savvy managers at remote companies should be prepared to evolve technologically too, as the work demands. Responding to Remote.co’s survey about changes remote companies may experience, Origin Eight told us they’ve “gotten smarter” about the tools they use.
We received similar responses from DVMelite, who wrote that the company has “new technology that connects us instantly.” X-Team told us that while their core values remain the same, “tools and policies have evolved with the growth of the company.”
2. Making Internal, Structural Changes to Keep Operations Streamlined
Keeping track of workflow and responsibilities can be especially critical for virtual organizations, where face-to-face contact isn’t always the norm. At Automatic, leadership found it more efficient to break the workforce into smaller teams once the company exceeded 50 employees.
Same idea at WooThemes: “As the team has grown we’ve had to introduce a bit more structure,” including smaller teams, they told us. Managers at Codebusters moved to tighten up internal processes, noting: “You have to be extremely organized if you want to go remote.”
3. Mission-Critical Communications Challenges
Keeping employees connected is a central and ongoing goal for managers at remote companies. Embracing the communications platforms that best meet your company’s needs is key.
“As we’ve grown, we’ve had to focus more on how we communicate to ensure nothing falls through the cracks,” leaders at Collage.com wrote. As technology improves, managers at Goodway Group said, “We are constantly looking for new and better tools for sharing and communicating information.”
4. Changes to When, and How Often, to Meet with Remote Workers
Routine meetings at remote companies are almost always virtual. That said, don’t hesitate to tweak meeting schedules to accommodate the work, as well as the workers.
“We’ve significantly cut back on the amount of time we spend in company-wide meetings, and replaced them with smaller departmental meetings,” leaders at Edgar said.
At Working Solutions, “quarterly state-of-the-union type meetings” help keep remote workers in the loop. If possible, occasional real-life meet-ups also help strengthen connections; introducing monthly face-to-face meetings has helped at SotfwareMill.
5. Constant Scalability Tweaks to Keep Projects Flowing Smoothly
Often, remote companies may experience tremendous growth over a short period, and that can mean making scalability changes to keep up. That was the case at Melewi, who told us, “Since we scaled to double our size in a year, some of our processes have needed adjustment.”
At Appen, fast global growth has meant working to nimbly scale internal operations and maintain connections across multiple time zones. “We’ve grown at such a rapid pace that adapting and scaling has become second nature,” Appen managers said.
6. Morphing Roles and Responsibilities for Remote Workers
If you’re among the many remote companies that started with a really small staff (say, a dozen or fewer), expect that the roles of your most experienced workers will change and grow as the company expands. See that as a great opportunity for you, and for your staff.
“We have been slowly shifting from a company of generalists where everyone does a bit of everything” to greater specialization, leaders at AgileBits said. Part of the change at Ushahidi has involved putting systems in place to more stringently monitor productivity. “We implemented an OKR (Objectives and Key Results) to try and allow people to set their own goals, and then use that to measure our productivity,” Ushahidi managers wrote.
As a manager, do any of these comments resonate with you, about the range of changes remote companies may experience? Being prepared to meet the challenges that come with managing a remote team can help you weather the changes that are sure to come, and prosper.
By Adrianne Bibby | July 13, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management