Business Startup Work

Remote work and hacking the workflow of employees

Remote employee

More than ever before we are seeing how internet and the possibility of working remotely across wide distances are changing the way we hire new people. In this day and age, you don’t have to search locally and hope to find the best people for the job. Your options are much wider now. With a few clicks you can search for, interview and hire anyone no matter where in the world he or she is. You can do it while waiting for your chicken salad and being done before the food arrive. Question is, will it work?

Before going any farther I want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of having a remote workers. Both of them are something you should consider and think about before reaching into the market for your new programmer, designer, assistant or whatever candidate you are looking for right now. Knowing these information you will help you prepare for events that can happen, but don’t have to. However, it is better be prepared than not.

Benefits of remote teams

Let’s discuss the benefits of remote works and whole teams first. The most obvious one is that you don’t need any physical office for your employees. This is a great thing not only for startups and small companies starting out, but any bigger company too. When a company rises, founders need to focus and handle many things with often very low budget. So not having any offices can be a huge gain at the beginning. Money you would pay for an office can be spent elsewhere on more profitable factors with remote employees.

Another benefit coming from the hack done by remote work are smaller costs when it comes to technology and administration. When you have remote employees, they probably have their own devices and connection providers. How could they got in touch with you otherwise? Another factor that can turn into great benefit for your startup. In short, the less you have to pay for additional equipment the more will you have to cover other cost and stabilize your business sooner.

Remote teams can also offer various insides through different cultures. Having your remote employees coming from foreign countries will bring more diversity into your company and help you understand broader audience and their needs faster. These people can be an opening gate for your company to undiscovered markets. Even though you did not plan going international before. What’s better than entering new market and reaching new customers while having people who live there on board?

As the saying goes, good news often comes with their bad siblings. Let’s focus on this part of family now.

Drawbacks of remote teams

If you are a control freak, remote employees can cause you a headache here and there. Since, in many cases, these people will not be anywhere near you (in driving distance) controlling their work can be harder. Unfortunately, it does not matter how many hacks will you use and how many measures will you make, you cannot get rid of the probability of this happening. It is better to get used to it and prepare some backup plan ahead.

Another drawback of remote work are various unforeseen circumstances. For example, lost of connection will be a serious problem and if it happens in make-it or break–it situation it can quickly become a challenge threatening stability of whole company. Imagine you have a design agency working on a project with a close deadline and your designer or developer (or even whole team) is not available. What will you do? What can you do?

The most of drawbacks of remote employees, unfortunately, are internal or personal factors. Simply said, some people are just lazy and lack good work ethic. This is something you can try to “fix” or fight, but it is only wasting of your time. Prevent getting these people on board by implementing proper job interview to filter certain types of personalities. If you don’t hire them at first, you will not have to solve these kinds of problems.

Hacks to make remote the work work

When you know about some of the biggest benefits and drawbacks of hiring remote help for your company, let’s discuss couple hacks and actions. These are what you can do to make your company work as smooth and stable as possible, no matter across how many countries it will spread. Some of the actions and hack below are free and effortless while other may not. Use and leverage them as you wish and need.

1) Regular contact

In term of remote work, the most important thing to do is keeping in touch with your employees and team on a regular basis. I don’t want to give you a specific time span or a frequency because this is individual factor and will change depending on options you and your employees have. However, the more often you will be in touch the better. One or two meetings per week are a must without exception. If you are in it for the long haul and you are serious about it, try to stick to daily contact.

Fortunately, the technology available for this is pretty cheap, if not free. For example, something as simple as a Skype call or Google hangouts can get you in touch with your remote employees in a second. Other ways to connect is obligatory mailbox or any chat client. What’s more services like Skype also offer an option to do a phone calls, so there should not be a problem.

2) Task management

When you have the contact “thing” covered, next is to create and sustain a workflow. There are several great tools on the market that will come in handy for this. Basecamp, Asana, Flow or Trello to name just a few of the bigger players in task management market. Costs of these services can vary and add additional load to your spreadsheet, but it is much better to set a stable working environment where your employees can communicate and cooperate.

3) Use cloud solutions

Andrew Groove said:”Only paranoid survive.” You should take this advice to your heart and implement some kinds of cloud service into your company’s processes. In other words, you remote employees, and on-site too, should be lead to make regular backups of their work on a daily basis. You should debate about if you want to be in a serious business. It is also a quick and easy way to avoid any potential problems of not having all assets for project in place when one member of your team is not available, like in example above.

Couple examples of services offering cloud storage for your files are Dropbox, Box, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive or services oriented more on sharing like Mega. For tech startups and companies and their code backups well-known solutions are GitHub, Bitbucket or GitLab.

4) Hire slow & fire fast

In the end let me mention the importance of hiring slow and keeping your team small and agile. You will need to make an effort, create a good job interview process  and search for specific type of people able to work on remote basis. Stick to hiring only the A-players, the unicorns. There is no other way to go around your hr and growing your team and company. Also, if someone is not showing on a regular basis and repeatedly not sticking to the plan, fire him. No bad feelings.

Conclusion

Having a remote employees or whole teams is now easier than ever before. The importance of establishing solid company infrastructure and processes is increasing as well. Use the actions or hack and other not mentioned you will find elsewhere to make sure your company can run smoothly while providing the best services to your customers. Strive to keep the relationships among your employees strong and tide and support their cooperation.

What hacks and actions would you recommend and suggest for business owners or future founders to take?

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