Working from home used to be an option limited to extreme circumstances. Only essential employees – restricted due to injury or exceptional situations – were allowed to work from home.
It makes sense when you consider how costly it once was to set up a workstation for an off-site employee. Doing so called for thousands of dollars of investment with little to no benefit besides the retention of the essential employee’s skills and expertise.
But times changed. Widespread access to high-speed internet, enhanced capabilities of cloud-based systems, and the exceptional computing power of the typical laptop add up to remote work being practical as well as possible.
In fact, many business leaders are coming to the realization that relying on remote workers is more cost-effective than forcing everyone to congregate in an office. With that said, a remote workforce represents the frontier of modern business management. In other words, you’re tasked with managing an organization in ways that are unprecedented.
Oftentimes, the result is skepticism from the perspective of leadership. Given the human tendency to reject what we don’t understand, it’s not surprising. But failing to seize on the benefits of a remote workforce today is certain to set your company back in the long run.
The solution is to learn how to run a company with remote workers. The following serves as a guide for making that happen:
Provide the Hardware
Imagine the typical desk of your typical worker. There’s a computer – probably a laptop connected to auxiliary devices like an external keyboard and second monitor. What about this setup suggests it’s exclusive to the office? It can be easily replicated in any home with the space to fit a desk. With this in mind, provide remote employees with the same high-end hardware you provide for those in the office. There’s no difference in cost from the company’s perspective while empowering employees with the tools they need to do their best work.
Use a Global Payroll Service
Granting permission for employees to work from home assumes they will still be close to the office. But it’s a slippery slope in terms of theoretical limits. What if one of your employees wants to relocate to Singapore because her husband has a work opportunity there? Will you say no, even though there’s not much of a difference besides time zones? Companies with workers scattered around the globe need safe and secure international payroll services to ensure there are no problems when paying employees their salaries or wages. Fortunately, global payroll services are affordable as well as reliable.
Maintain Physical Headquarters
It might sound unnecessary and wasteful, but maintaining a physical location for a business is essential, regardless of whether or not your workers are there during the day. The good news is, thanks to a reduced need for space, your business HQ can be much smaller than it’d otherwise be if workers commuted to the office. So there’s still the benefit of lowering overhead without compromising the integrity and credibility that a real brick-and-mortar business presence projects. We suggest a workspace where the top brass has their own offices connected to a conference room. Consider utilizing co-working space as a way to save even further. Doing so reminds employees of two things: they work for a real company, and there’s always the chance they may be asked to return to the office. Even if the latter is an empty suggestion, it gets the point across!
Utilize Video Conferencing
It’s one of the hallmarks of remote work: participating in meetings taking place online thanks to video conferencing. Of all the technology used in remote work situations, video conferencing is the most iconic and recognizable. It’s also the best way to retain one of the most significant aspects of centralized work environments: face-to-face encounters that provoke meaningful conversations and proactive discussion. Believe it or not, meetings serve a purpose (in theory), in that they help get everyone on the same page and provide a way for employees to voice concerns that may otherwise go unheard. The only way to achieve that in a remote work system is through video chats.
Find a rhythm
The second biggest concern of business leaders regarding remote workers is the tendency for everyone to “work on their own time.” It’s one of the biggest selling points of remote work from the employee perspective but can cause headaches from management’s point of view. If you decide to go with remote workers going forward, finding a rhythm amidst the different work schedules is essential. This will take time, but sooner or later, you will find a way to balance the workflow of scattered staff in order to account for the variance in the schedule.
Remote workers are a relatively new phenomenon, one that is gaining traction every day. As a business leader, you can fight the tide or take the initiative and incorporate remote work into your organization. The choice is yours. Just know this: one path leads to a stubborn reluctance to embrace the inevitable, while the other takes you to where you’ve headed anyways, whether you want to go there or not.