It’s one thing to be a remote company and another to be a successful remote company. The difference is that companies that are successful follow best practices for remote companies and aren’t afraid to develop some of their own.
That’s right, there is a way to successfully build and manage a remote workforce, and as proof there are several virtual companies that work 100 percent remotely, with all of them making big waves. These companies haven’t stumbled upon any secrets but have developed tried and true practices that make working remotely more than just a perk.
To get you started on your way to being a successful distributed company, we’ve put together 10 of the best practices for remote companies. Check them out below!
Here are 11 best practices for remote companies to adopt.
1. Analyze operations.
A successful remote company doesn’t decide one day that everything is going to be remote. They analyze their operations and take note of where progress and changes need to be made. Rather than make quick decisions or simply say “yes” or “no,” they look for ways to make it work and work company-wide.
2. Make it formal and make it universal.
It’s difficult to go half in when it comes to business; you rarely see the return you were hoping for. The same goes for remote policies. Simply saying you are a remote company won’t do the trick; you have to create programs and policies that help to guide the flexible work environment. These policies are designed to help companies identify issues, set expectations, and maintain an environment that is universally flexible.
3. Foster the right environment.
A welcoming, flexible environment will foster teamwork, openness, and transparency. Just as you would have open door policies in the office, try to maintain similar practices in the virtual space. Additionally, for employees to be flexible and embrace the process, management professionals must embrace flexibility and set the example. It’s also important to make sure multiple communication tools are in place to keep teams connected.
4. Harness the power of technology.
Technology helps to streamline many processes including the ability for companies to successfully work remotely. Through technology such as online meeting spaces, instant messaging platforms, and document sharing, companies can keep employees connected and working together. In many cases, similar technology is used in the office, it simply needs to be adapted to work on a remote and more global scale.
5. Invest in the right resources.
Choosing the right resources is key. You wouldn’t try to weld with rope, so you wouldn’t invest in resources and tools that won’t support your remote environment. Do your research and evaluate different technological options; even try giving them a trial run to see how they work.
6. Face time.
Although you may never meet face to face, that doesn’t mean you can’t put in some face time through video chat. While it isn’t necessary to see the persons face in a remote environment, it helps to put a face with a voice. For many, visual cues are also a great way to learn how to interact with others on the team.
7. Adopt a useful meeting schedule.
In a remote environment, you may not know what everyone is doing every single second of the day. But, do you really know what everyone is doing all day in an office. Rather than focus on trying to keep tabs on the tiniest of details, create a meeting schedule that provides opportunities for questions to be asked and problems to be solved. For minor updates, consider a check-in schedule such as through a daily email or quick chat.
8. Offer variety.
More than working from home or remotely, employees desire freedom, trust, and respect. They want to be able to manage their lives, rather than have work manage it for them. Provide a variety of remote work options and consider other flexible options such as part-time and flexible schedules.
9. Set and evaluate goals and expectations.
Virtual environments can be harder to decipher expectations, and it can be easy to forget to provide feedback. Provide team members ample opportunities to evaluate goals and discuss expectations. This is often useful in a format that works both down the organizational chain as well as upwards.
10. Monitor metrics.
Thus far, it may seem like you should just throw caution to the wind and trust that remote work works. But, successful companies monitor metrics to ensure that operations are running smoothly, and goals are being made. Does this mean you need to monitor every mouse click of every employee? No. What it means is that companies should look at the big picture and monitor activities per team as well as organization wide. This way, you see the big picture and can monitor trends so in the event issues arise; you’ll know where to take a closer look. If you focus on the small details, you’ll miss out on the big picture.
11. Create team-building opportunities.
Most companies have some opportunities for employees to get together and know each other on a personal level. Team-building opportunities help to foster this in a virtual environment. Set-up occasional informal chats for different employees to get to know each other, offer virtual coffee breaks, or develop other interest programs that will help teams to connect both personally and professionally.
The best practices for remote companies revolve around much of the same ideas as brick and mortar companies. To be successful, you need to make sure you have the right type of business, you acquire the right tools, you hire the right people, and you implement the right policies.