Tools for Running a Remote Office
With the world effectively “shrinking” with the rise of globalization and the ease of connection that the internet has given us. Many companies have capitalized on this phenomenon by hiring professionals across borders, servicing clients in different time zones and running international businesses operations without much hassle.
Having a team that works remotely from the main offices or even employees working from home or “the road” is becoming more and more popular as technology changes and lifestyles along with it. However, creating a successful “remote office” is not as easy as it sounds, that is unless you have the right set up.
- Good Quality Portable Devices
As use of a computer and good quality internet are key to running a smooth remote office, invest in good quality hardware in the form of laptop with a good microphone, webcam, and speakers. Other devices that you or your employee will most likely need access to at some point are a printer, scanner, copy machine etc. In some situations, it’s possible to use a personal machine, in others, the work can be sent to a 3rd party service. For certain business models, it might be worth investing in a small portable version that incorporates many of these functions into one. Some industries might also benefit from having an external hard drive to compensate for the lack of storage on a laptop but good cloud storage will suffice. Good quality mobile devices also make the workday less frustrating and smoother as it enables messaging and verification on the run, something especially important when working in different time zones.
- Cloud Data System
NetSuite, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system allows you to run your business from the cloud accessing your data any time. This is especially what you need in an organization where there are multiple people in different places working on the same project simultaneously. Having key documents accessible in real time to all the team members that need is the core of the ability to work remotely.
- Regular Meeting Times
Unless you are the only employee of your business, you are going to need to establish a good rapport with your whole team. Unless you are more of a report person, the best way to do this is with regular meetings in which key project members can update others on the status, roadblocks, wins, and next steps to getting it successful completed. Working remotely can be difficult for some as they lose concentration and focus without a fellow employee to keep him or her accountable. Giving them an opportunity to motivate themselves and produce results to report at the meeting can help boost productivity.
- Automated Actions
Working away from a traditional office where you can just walk over to a fellow employee to hand off work, it’s essential to automate prompts for tasks and actions. This will help avoid having work fall between the cracks and tasks being done efficiently and on time, despite the distance between workers. Automating some tasks might even cut out some man hours all together so invest some time making sure that your management system is working for you and taking care of any menial tasks that don’t need a human brain to operate.
- Responsible and Accountable Members
As mentioned before, remote work is not for everyone so being able to identify employees that have a disposition for working independently is essential. Some other traits to look for are accountability, good communication skills, and strong focus and attention to detail
When you take these five considerations into account, you have the tools you need to build a successful remote office for your business, whether that is in your employee’s living room, a co-working space in a different city, or a hotel lobby on the other side of the world.