Considering Going Remote? 7 Tips from Remote Companies
For traditional companies, the thought of transitioning to a remote company might seem rather daunting. Actually, the process is a lot simpler than it sounds. Just ask the seven remote companies below. If you’re one of the many companies considering remote work, these seven pieces of advice just might, well, work!
1. Take your time during the hiring process.
The last thing that you want is to spend the energy, time, and resources to hire what appears to be the perfect candidate, only to find out a few weeks later that he hates working from home and quits. That’s why Chuck Vadun, communications director at Fire Engine RED, suggests taking your time to hire the right candidate from the start. “Be sure you’re willing to put in the time and effort to hire people who are a fit for the remote culture,” says Vadun. He suggests asking yourself questions like, “Are they independent, self-starting, entrepreneurial, and disciplined?” That way, you’ll always hire the right remote employee for the position.
2. Ditch the office mentality.
One of the main reasons why remote companies fail is because they don’t set themselves up for remote success from the start. “Set up good systems for communicating with your team. There are tons of options for chat like Slack, Skype, and HipChat,” says Christelle Lachapelle, brand manager of PipelineDeals (formerly Batchbook). Putting systems in place that work in a remote work environment (Lachapelle suggests project management tools, especially when people are not all working during the same office hours) can make all the difference in the success—or failure—of your remote company.
3. Go all the way.
Here’s the thing about remote work. You can’t really do it halfway. Either you’re all in, or all out, says Jake Goldman, president and founder of 10up, Inc. “Go all in, if you’re going to make the leap,” advises Goldman. “In order to select and build the tools, systems, habits, and culture that really enable remote working, everyone has to feel both the pain and benefits—especially the company’s leadership.”
4. Envision what you want.
It’s always good to have a plan in mind when you’re about to make any sort of change to your company, and that definitely applies to implementing a flexible work program, too. But instead of only thinking about it in terms of how to start it and how it will work for the first few weeks or months, you should really think long-term, says Aha!’s co-founder and CEO, Brian de Haaff. “Always begin with the end in mind,” says de Haaff. “Starting with your strategy, ask yourself what you want your product and organization to achieve.” He stresses that if remote work matches your company’s goals, then it warrants further investigation, and eventually, implementation.
5. Just go for it!
As important as it is to have planning meetings and structure for your company, ultimately you’ll need to just jump in with both feet and go for it when it comes to flex work. That’s what Rhiannon Ruff, vice president at Beutler Ink, believes. “If you’re considering it, just try it out!” says Ruff. “The worst that can happen is that you find out it doesn’t work for your team, in which case, you can end the trial and go back to status quo.” And that’s true; if you find that remote work doesn’t work for your company for any number of reasons, then you can always revert back to an office environment (but once you see the many benefits of having a remote workplace, we doubt you will!)
6. Get everyone on board.
While there are some companies that have the occasional remote worker, many remote companies believe that the key to success is having everyone reap the rewards of flexible work, not just a few select employees. “The most critical thing to understand when it comes to remote working is it only works if you can commit. You can’t just nominate a single person or team to be a “remote guinea pig” for a month and expect it to be a raging success,” warns Coby Chapple, product designer at GitHub, Inc. “If the rest of the teams and departments don’t change their communication habits too, then your experiment is destined to fail.” As you’re strategizing your remote workforce, it’s crucial to remember to include everyone, and stress how each person plays an important role in the company’s overall success.
7. Keep the human connection.
Even for the most seasoned telecommuter, isolation can be a very real pitfall of working at home. It’s up to the remote company to ensure that its staff stays connected—no matter where they are on the globe. Ronnie Burt, product manager at Incsub, agrees: “Companies should encourage employees to participate in local activities, relevant meetups, co-working groups, and the like, to foster those face-to-face relationships.” So do your best to make sure that your remote workers stay connected to each other—and the company—by meeting up. Encourage colleagues who live close to each other to grab lunch or dinner—on the company’s dime. It can make all the difference and help your team stay strong, motivated, and happy.
For companies considering remote work, these seven great pieces of advice from seasoned remote companies might just convince you to take your brick and mortar business to the next remote level—and beyond.
By Jennifer Parris | Categories: Why Go Remote