Remote work was more or less forced upon us. There were no best practices that we could learn from. Not anymore though. After two years, we know how both businesses and their employees can get the best out of remote working.
Every business has a code of conduct for office work. Everyone knows what to do, how to be productive and how to raise issues. But working from home is a whole new reality. To make it easy for small businesses and their remote staff, here are the most practical remote working tips.
The number one thing that business owners and managers should do is to tell employees how they can communicate. Every remote worker should know whether they can reach you through email, chat, phone call or video call. Importantly, lay down a structure for meetings. Pick a time for team meetings and stick to it every week.
Use any of the top collaboration tools to get all your employees on the same page. You can assign tasks, review the progress of team members and create specific channels for communication for teams and projects.
There are several ways to do this and by now you and your team members should be used to different platforms. But the key is to standardise the procedure. Whatever file-sharing software you use should be uniform. Whether it’s Google Drive or Dropbox, make it easy for everyone to access and share files of all types.
Meetings and chats can only reveal so much. Each employee might have a different set of challenges when working remotely. They may not easily share it in a group email or survey. Talk to them privately and understand their problems. This will significantly improve their morale.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can reveal the performance of your sales teams. Managing projects, assigning team members and reviewing their progress will be easy if you use any of the top project management apps. Expense tracking and accounting apps can enormously help you with financial management.
Things can get pretty lonely for remote working employees. This can affect productivity, work-life balance and the office culture. That’s why managers should encourage casual interactions across mediums. If you use collaboration software, have a casual channel. Let employees have their ‘water cooler’ moments without the boss around.
The most important thing is to develop a functional routine. Start your work and log off at the same time every day. Tell yourself that it’s a day in the office. If possible, wear your office clothes. Starting early will give you enough time to incorporate other activities. Track your performance and peak hours using any of the top productivity apps.
Schedule your time for deep (focused) work, transactional chores (emails and calls) and casual interactions. Make a to-do list for the day and week. Talk to your manager and colleagues and synchronise your schedule with those of others.
Where you work will decide how productive and focused you will be. Choose a space that has enough lighting. It should be away from the TV to minimise distractions. Ensure that your table or desk has enough space for your laptop and other accessories. Test the Wi-Fi strength for an uninterrupted internet connection.
When you develop a routine, make sure that you have enough breaks in it. Even a five-minute break to stretch or go for a short walk can do wonders to your mood. Don’t use your breaks for social media. Talk to your family members or friends instead.
A virtual number is an effective way to boost your remote team efficiency. But a virtual number designed for small businesses is a better idea. Chalkboard has everything you need to get the most out of remote working.
Since it’s a cloud-based number, you and your team members don’t need to buy additional devices. You can easily share your new number with customers and vendors and route their calls to your remote employees.
Download Chalkboard and start your 14-day free trial and improve the productivity and work-life balance of your remote employees.
A must-have checklist for entrepreneurs planning to start remote-based businesses in 2022
If you’ve got an idea, here’s how you can turn it into a successful business while working from home