Tips for Startups Considering Remote Work

After 2020, chances are you'll have had firsthand experience with some of the benefits and drawbacks of working from home. Employers discovered that thanks to contemporary technology, remote work did not result in the predicted productivity losses, and it is a virtual guarantee that remote work will be here to stay in some form or another.

Early-stage businesses or startups, which are often strapped for funds and looking to provide flexibility to their initial employees, are among the organisations that stand to benefit the most from this trend. As a result, it wouldn't be shocking if, in the future, remote-only startups become the norm rather than the exception. However, there are some factors to consider before committing to a remote-only team.

What Is Remote Work

Remote work is a method of working that allows employees to work outside of a regular office setting. It is founded on the idea that work does not have to be completed in a certain location to succeed. A cultural paradigm change has occurred in what society considers to be an appropriate workplace, and remote employment has benefited from this greater independence.

Consider it this way: instead of going to an office every day to work from a certain desk, remote employees can complete tasks and meet their objectives wherever they want. People have the freedom to plan their days in such a way that both their professional and personal life can flourish while coexisting happily.

A cultural paradigm change has occurred in what society considers to be an appropriate workplace, and remote employment has benefited from this greater independence.

The video below will explain remote work and some of the benefits.

How To Effectively Perform Remote Work

It's critical to ensure that your team is set up to be productive whether they work remotely one day per week (or more) or full time. This involves having a designated workspace with the appropriate technology, strategies for dealing with children, dogs, and other possible distractions, and a timetable that allows for the social interaction and stimulation that comes with being in a shared workspace. Here are some methods and pointers to working remotely:

Offer A Variety Of Communication Technology Solutions.

Emailing alone isn't enough. Remote workers benefit from "richer" technology, such as video conferencing, which provides many of the visual signals that would be available if they were face-to-face. Video conferencing has a number of benefits, particularly for small groups: Visual signals help teams feel less isolated by increasing "shared knowledge" about one another. Other times, collaborating quickly may be more urgent than visual detail. Provide mobile-enabled individual messaging tools (like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and others) for these circumstances, which may be used for both easy, less formal talks and time-sensitive communication.

Plan for Social Interactions

Structure ways for employees to engage socially (that is, have informal talks about non-work subjects) when working remotely is one of the most important actions management can take. This is true for all remote workers, but it is especially true for those who have been thrown out of the office unexpectedly. Allowing some time at the start of team calls for non-work topics (e.g., "We're going to spend the first few minutes just catching up with each other") is the simplest method to develop some basic social contact. While these virtual gatherings may appear artificial or forced, experienced remote employees' supervisors (and the workers themselves) indicate that doing this can assist in minimising feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging.

Find Out What Your Employees Need

This piece of advice is applicable now and in the future, regardless of where your staff will complete their task. Perhaps it's time to update your perks and benefits to reflect the new normal, such as stipends for virtual fitness and wellness classes and meditation and sleep apps. Consider no-meeting days and develop clear parameters for digital availability company-wide if workers are dealing with the idea that they always need to be "on." The idea is to prevent burnout before it becomes a serious problem. And, as tough as it may be, don't just think of employees who are juggling little children and work. Words of gratitude for those who are willing to pick up the slack can go a long way. Emphasizing the need of taking time off to gain a fresh perspective is also a good idea.

Encourage Employees And Provide Emotional Support

It is critical for managers to recognise stress, listen to employees' anxieties and concerns, and empathise with their problems, especially in the context of a sudden move to remote work. Ask a recently remote employee how they're doing if they're visibly struggling but aren't expressing their tension or anxiety. Even a simple query like, “How is this remote work arrangement working out for you so far?” can elicit vital information that you might not have heard otherwise.

Employees look to their bosses for indications on how to react to rapid shifts or crisis circumstances, according to research on emotional intelligence and emotional contagion. Effective leaders use a two-pronged approach, acknowledging the stress and anxiety that their employees may be experiencing in difficult situations while also affirming their faith in their teams. Employees are more inclined to take on the challenge with a sense of purpose and focus if they have this backing.

Make Sure Your Tech Needs are In Order

Choose the tools that your staff enjoys using and that integrate well with your current workflows. Ascertain that everyone on the team has the appropriate logins and understands the purpose of each tool. Below are a few examples each remote management would need in their tech to be able to efficiently work remotely:

  • A method of observing your team (Zoom, BlueJeans)
  • A way to keep track of your team's meetings (SoapBox, Minute)
  • A means to communicate with your team about items that are essential or need to be done quickly (Slack, Google Chat)
  • Using a record, you can send longer, less urgent messages (Email, Trello)
  • A method for your team to handle work (Asana, Jira)
Remote Work Tech Stacks

Remote Work In The Pandemic

Governments around the world are closing stores and prohibiting people from visiting public places and offices because of the rapid spread of COVID-19. As a result, millions more people are opting to perform remote work. Many people were moving to remote work even before the outbreak for a variety of reasons. A flexible work agreement, according to employers, can reduce sick days, boost morale, and lower operational costs.

COVID-19's impact on many startups and businesses has been largely determined by one question: can I work from home or am I connected to my workplace? Quarantines, lockdowns, and self-imposed isolation have prompted tens of millions of people throughout the world to work from home, speeding up a workplace experiment that had been gaining pace before COVID-19.

Below are some statistics that are related to businesses that have performed remote work.

Startups and businesses have a wide range of concerns and obstacles as a result of remote employment. Companies are debating how to best conduct coaching remotely and how to structure workplaces to improve employee safety, among a slew of other difficult issues posed by COVID-19. Employees, for their part, are attempting to strike the optimum home-work balance and preparing themselves for remote working and collaboration.

Pros And Cons of Remote Work

Remote work, like any other type of job, has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to help you recognise the benefits while making the required arrangements to ensure that it does not negatively affect employee relationships and that employees do not abuse the privilege.

Advantages Disadvantages
Could result in a significant improvement in productivity for certain persons in specific occupations.Lacks human interaction and can get very lonely, especially if the employee is a social
Spend less time and money travelling to and from work and more time being productive.There is no proper communication among coworkers.
Employees can have more flexibility with their work hours.Difficult to stay motivated and fulfil goals.
When working from home, employees don't have to worry about getting ready for work, driving to work, and so on.Employees will be responsible for everything from their workstation to internet connection.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Work

To summarize the pros, being alone makes it easier for some individuals to create conditions conducive to an uninterrupted deep work session hence greater productivity. Also, by omitting travelling to work from their daily routine, employees can save a large amount of time which can be used to spend with their partner or children. As a result, they can save a significant amount of time that they may put towards maintaining and living healthy relationships and lifestyles.

There is also the option for flexible working hours, flexible hours are beneficial to goal-oriented personnel because the extra work hours can help them meet their objectives. Employees will be able to take care of their immediate responsibilities toward their families, which they cannot do while working from the office

To summarize the cons, to stay productive while working remotely, employees will need to understand and use a variety of technologies. It's also their obligation to keep themselves organised and make sure they have all they need to handle their work effectively. It may also become difficult to remain motivated as this happens because there is no active monitoring and no one working around them. Employees may find themselves with a laid-back attitude and a proclivity for procrastination.

Communication between departments is limited. Video conferencing may be a viable option but it will never be as effective as talking with someone who is physically present. The lack of effective team collaboration is likely to be hampered by a lack of good communication across remote teams.

Is Your Business Model Suitable For Remote Work?

Information technology, marketing, customer care, and mobile app development are all good candidates for remote work. Evidently, the remote work model isn't appropriate for every company. Remote work choices, for example, are severely constrained for geographically dependent organisations. There are, however, aspects of any firm that could profit from remote employment. For example:

  • Almost every company has at least one role that can be performed remotely. Even coffee shop owners may find it advantageous to conduct meetings and up-training sessions virtually rather than driving to each site.
  • You can save time, money, and resources by adapting certain aspects of your organisation to a remote work model. Using the coffee shop as an example, a geographically limited corporation could explore outsourcing digitally-oriented tasks to contractors or enterprises that operate remotely. Consider responsibilities such as social media management or payroll and accountancy. This also boosts coffee shop efficiency because baristas aren't distracted by administrative work and can focus on what they do best: create delicious coffee!
  • Having access to global talent might be extremely beneficial. It's extremely likely that the pool of people with specific experience in your field who are looking for work in a startup in your city is very small. Being able to hire people from other states or even continents might be a great assist in building a higher-quality staff. Furthermore, your salaries may be uncompetitive in your own country or city, but they may be incredibly competitive elsewhere, allowing you to attract more experienced workers.

Research done by McKinsey & Company in the United States identified the potential of industries that were most capable of performing remote work with ease.

Finance and insurance startups and businesses have the highest potential, with three-quarters of time spent on activities that can be done remotely without a loss of productivity. Management, business services, and information technology have the next highest potential, all with more than half of employee time spent on activities that could effectively be done remotely. These sectors are characterized by a high share of workers with college degrees or higher.

Conclusion

Remote employment isn't for everyone, and it won't be for 100 per cent of sectors. However, there are also substantial benefits for both employees and employers in the rising number of areas where remote work is a viable method of conducting business.

Working from home can keep a company running in the event of a pandemic, a weather disruption, or any other catastrophe that forces headquarters to close. It can also assist employees with other jobs, allowing them to be more productive. After the coronavirus pandemic has passed, remote work is likely to become a valuable employee benefit. It may be a success for everyone involved if employees know what you expect of them and have the proper resources.

References

How To Effectively Remote Work

Is Your Business Model Suitable For Remote Work?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Remote Work

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Written by Cherylle Phua

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