Owning your own business is difficult under normal circumstances. Add in a once-in-a-generation global health crisis, and it becomes even more challenging. However, a silver lining to the current situation is the increase in remote work, which is incredibly beneficial for startups. By opting to go from home, you’ll eliminate the costs associated with a physical office, create a better work-life balance for you and your employees, and gain more flexibility when it comes to recruiting talent.
Of course, managing a remote workforce unearths unique challenges as well—from a lack of structure and social opportunities to scheduling meetings around different time zones. Fortunately, there are some useful tips and tricks to ensure your success in running a business entirely online.
Ensure your team has the tools for success
When your team is fully remote, it’s impossible to pop into someone’s office for a quick question. That’s why equipping your team with an array of communication tools is essential when working from home. Apps like Zoom and Slack allow for productive discourse in meetings while also providing a platform for informal social interactions.
A virtual office is another valuable tool for any remote startup. Using a company like iPostal1 gives you the benefits of a professional image and cuts down on internal staff’s administrative work. A virtual office handles various tasks, including managing your company’s voicemail and packages, allowing employees to focus solely on their duties and productivity.
Actively cultivate a company culture
Company culture starts with management, but in many ways, it flourishes organically when you and your team are together everyday. With a fully remote company, you’ll need to make a more concerted effort to secure a healthy, productive, and enjoyable workplace by allowing time for casual employee interaction and conversation. Scheduling virtual events or even establishing an annual company retreat—where everyone does get together in one location—helps with team bonding, promotes collaboration, and leads to happier employees.
Leave time for individual meetings
It’s essential to check in with every employee on an individual basis. Without everyone in an office, it can be challenging to pick up on conflicts, unhappiness, stress, and anxiety. Establishing regular open communication between you and your employees allows them to voice struggles or concerns and enables you to do the same.
Create a plan for onboarding new employees
Establish clear and structured guidelines for onboarding a new employee ahead of time. Arrange logistics like HR paperwork, train them on remote systems, show them who they’ll report to, and introduce them to their coworkers. A digital handbook that outlines all of these steps and questions can be a useful resource for new hires and ensures you’re all on the same page.
Recognize and celebrate success
When working separately, an individual’s successes may go unnoticed. As the remote team leader, be sure to recognize and share your employees’ milestones and accomplishments. Recognition fosters a positive atmosphere and makes employees feel appreciated. By cultivating your work environment, everyone will feel proud of their effort, focus on the goals ahead, and you’ll increase your employee retention rates.
Establish a clear mission and goals
Sometimes it’s difficult to remember what you’re working towards when operating in isolation. To prevent employees from feeling burnt out, establish a clear mission and goals for your startup. Remind your team why their contributions are essential. If you can, share real-life examples of the impacts their work has on others.
Although many employees and employers favor remote work, there are kinks to iron out, like the inability to garner company culture and difficulty maintaining structure. However, by establishing clear goals, checking in with individual employees, and implementing remote communication systems, your startup can thrive from home.