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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Launch a Remote Business the Right Way

 

Believe it or not, having a remote business can do wonders for your company morale and bottom line. And if you plan on launching a company—especially one that’s service-based, like a graphic design company—there are many benefits to having an exclusively remote team. If you already have a company or don’t feel too comfortable being 100% remote, then you can also have a remote work program that offers employs some remote work instead.

 

Here are a benefits you should consider:

  • Many companies save money by offering remote work programs. For example, IBM was able to save $100 million after just one year of allowing employees to work remotely.
  • According to a State of Workplace Productivity Report, 65% of full-time employees surveyed believed remote work allows them to be more productive.
  • As a remote business owner, you have access to a wider pool of applicants, as many job seekers are looking for perks that align with a millennial lifestyle

 

Preparing and building your remote program the right way. By following these tips, you can ensure your remote business is off to a great start:

 

Train Your Team

When you have a remote team, you need to be sure that every is on the same page, all the time. Each time you bring a staff member on board, they need to be able to understand how to use your project management software, how to navigate your time-tracking platform, how to use the customer service portal, etc. Over time, you may find it easier to streamline this process by creating detailed training videos; this way, you can cut time down from time-consuming 1:1 training, as well as make it easy for your future employees to refer back to it as often as they’d like.

 

Set Program Rules

Your remote employees should have a written set of rules that document what you expect out of them. For example, you might remind them that during work hours they should always be online. They should also be well-versed (possibly by watching training videos) on your project management platform of choice. For example, you might prefer to use Basecamp to keep track of projects, or you might prefer the card-based style of Trello. Whatever the case may be, make sure your rules are clearly defined and that all employees understand their expectations.

 

Track Employee Time Properly

As a remote business, your time clock is very important. After all, this is how your employees will be paid, and a reliable time clock ensures that no employees are wasting your time and money. It can also better help you, as a business owner, better understand where your resources are going. For example, you might discover that your marketing newsletter is taking up more time than you thought. This is where you would be able to step back and ask yourself what needs to be done to streamline your marketing email, or to help your employee better understand the creation process.

 

Invest in Perks & Culture

Of course, remote work itself is a perk. However, remote workers don’t enjoy the same perks as traditional employees. For example, an office-based startup might make it easy for employees to have happy hour events, game nights, or trips to a local baseball game. Remote business owners need to go out of their way to make their employees feel just as involved and valued. In addition to the essentials like a competitive healthcare package, pay special attention to your company culture. After all, culture is what makes your company, and it’s important to cultivate a good culture.

 

Plenty of remote companies—like the aforementioned Basecamp—are able to successfully achieve this. For starters, try getting your team together for an annual retreat. A work retreat is not only a great perk via a vacation-meets-work setup, but gives your remote employees the chance to put faces to names and develop a more human connection with one another. You can also invest in perks that help make remote work easier—like access to shared working spaces and coworking memberships like Croissant.

 

Don’t Forget About Team-Building

Just because your team works around the world—and even possibly on different time zones—doesn’t mean team-building isn’t necessary. In fact, it’s probably even more important. With video conferencing, this is easier than ever. Set up fun exercises where employees can get to know one another outside of work.

 

For example, in this list of team building exercises for remote employees, one suggestion is to set up a “get to know me” conference where employees each present different facts about themselves. Another suggestion is for each team member to go to their favorite coffee shop, and host a meeting from there. This gives staff the opportunity to take a peek into the others’ world.

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