Remote working has been around for as long as people have been travelling for business. However, the concept of remote work has changed dramatically in the last number of years as more businesses take advantage of emerging technologies that allow easy communication and collaboration on projects, no matter where employees are based. With more companies embracing remote work in varying capacities, the questions remains, is remote working sustainable in the long-term?
Modern business tools make it easier than ever for business owners, managers and entrepreneurs to manage their remote team with ease. Project management tools allow for seamless collaboration, the range of communication tools allow for staff to communicate with video, in real-time and tools such as Deputy employee scheduling software makes scheduling staff based in locations easier than ever. Even with the advantages that these tools and others can provide, business owners need to take the time to assess if working with a remote team is the best decision for the business moving forward.
Let's take a closer look at a few key considerations you need to keep in mind when deciding how you manage your business going forward.
Understand The Challenges
While there has been a significant increase in the number of employees working from home over the last few years, it has not all been plain sailing. Despite the range of tools and technologies available to business owners, there are some unique challenges that come with managing a remote team. Taking the time to understand these challenges properly will help you to put systems and protocols in place to deal with them when they occur.
Appreciate The Benefits
Remote working offers businesses a myriad of benefits that they can take advantage of to move their business forward. In the ever-connected business landscape, you can hire the best people from your business from virtually anywhere in the world with a reliable internet connection. Having employees in different time zones means will allow your business to be more productive as when one half of your team is sleeping, the other half is working. Business owners can also lower their business costs as they can avoid having to pay high office rents, invest in expensive office fit-outs and all of the other expenses with operating a physical office space.
Consider these benefits in relation to your business and you will quickly learn whether the future of your business will be remote or not.
Consider The Needs Of Your Business
Every company has a unique set of requirements to be able to complete the day-to-day tasks of the business efficiently and effectively. For some businesses, a remote setup can be the perfect solution, while for other businesses, only some elements of the business can be operated remotely. How successful your business will be working in a remote capacity, is completely dependent on the needs of your business. If you require a brick and mortar store, for example, or your business relies on meeting face-to-face with clients, operating your business might not be the right fit. On the other hand, if most of your work is computer-based, you may be able to operate your entire business successfully in the online realm.
A combination of remote and in-house employees can often be a great compromise, depending on the day-to-day operations of your organisation.
Align With Your Targets
Revisit your business plan, analyse your business goals and assess whether or not a remote workforce is the best way for you to reach your targets. Working remotely needs to work with your goals for the future. Adopting this approach to work should bolster your business going forward, not hinder it. While the goalposts can certainly shift over time and your targets can change due to a number of different factors, your business needs to be set up to deal with these changes effectively. If your business will struggle to be flexible operating in a remote capacity then maybe making the move to running your operations remotely is not the best solution.
Remember to keep your targets in mind and ensure that your working environment can continue to provide you with a direct route to those goals, even if things change along the way.
Build For The Future
As technology and business tools continue to evolve and improve, the future looks promising for remote working. Even if your business is unable to operate in a complete remote capacity, you may be able to manage some processes remotely. Remote employees can be very effective for tasks such as accounting, web design, marketing, graphic design, SEO and many other computer-based tasks. Businesses who don't take advantage of the technologically advanced business world we are all operating in, run the risk of being left behind in the future.
The number of people working remotely has been increasing steadily in recent years and many companies have seen an increase in productivity and a reduction in overheads as a result. Embracing remote work now, even in some capacity, will help your business owners to build for the future with confidence.
Make The Right Choice For Your Business Moving Forward
Whether you are considering remote working for your entire business or just for part of it, you need to look at how this approach will serve your company going forward. While many businesses, in a range of industries, have had nothing but positive experiences with remote work, it has not been the best fit for others. The day-to-day operations of your business and the expectations of your clients will weigh heavily on your decision. However, working remotely is quickly becoming the new norm and employees may soon start to seek out remote working roles over more traditional in-house roles due to the flexibility it can offer them in their own lives.
The decision to move to a remote working set up is not one to be taken lightly. However, tech-savvy business owners will realise the benefits that this model can provide as they grow their operations. How sustainable remote working will be for your particular business will ultimately come down to how you can integrate a remote approach with your business processes and goals. One thing is for sure though, and that is that remote working is here to stay and it will likely continue to grow in popularity moving forward.