How to Save Money, Attract Talent and Grow Your Business Like a Pro
As a savvy small business owner, you are always looking for new ways to gain a business advantage. One option you may be considering is moving to a fully remote workforce. For many businesses–large and small–this move makes a lot of sense.
As the labor market tightens, a fully remote workforce can make it easier for you to source high-quality candidates from across the country. Also, offering remote work leads to greater flexibility, which can mean greater productivity and increased retention. Finally, if your entire team is offsite, you can save money by cutting back on or eliminating office space.
Whether you dipped a toe into the remote office waters during the COVID-related closures or if it’s new to you, a few key strategies can make it easier for your business to thrive. Here are our top tips from the team at HireMyMom.
Build the Right Team
Many people–especially moms–love working from home. The right people make it easier for your to build a remote team that works.
Before moving to a remote work model, talk with your current employees and explain your plans. Outline the vision you have and give people a chance to share their thoughts.
If you need to add to your team or find new team members, your best bet is to search for those who are actively looking for jobs that can be done from home. Using a platform like HireMyMom is a great way to source qualified candidates specifically looking for remote work. You can find and hire a team member who’s located anywhere with good internet access–which can save you time and money.
If the prospect of a nationwide search daunts you, consider our concierge service to help reduce the amount of leg work you need to do. We created HireMyMom’s Concierge service for busy entrepreneurs and small business owners, like you, who need to hire help but don’t have the time or desire to go through the time-consuming process.
With our full-service Concierge service, our HR Specialists will do it all for you from start to finish and present you with the top candidate(s).
Let Communication Flow
Effective communication can be a challenge when your team moves from on-site to remote. The challenge is on two fronts–keep track of the work and maintain the critical relationships that connect staff members to you and each other and make it easier to work through issues, solve problems and innovate.
When you are accustomed to leaning over for a quick, impromptu chat, it can feel unnatural when you can’t do that. And, if you use email for all your conversations and requests, reading and responding to email can quickly take over your workday.
As teams move offsite, it’s easy for you and your team members to feel isolated from each other and miss the cues and camaraderie that comes with being together in the office. Trust is an essential element for remote teams, and relationships build trust.
Luckily, there are many ways to keep the lines of communication open and nourish the relationships among co-workers. Here are options we’ve seen work well to keep teams connected, talking, and growing:
- Host stand-up calls where everyone joins to share updates. Timing can vary, with most happening either daily or Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Weekly can work, too.
- Start these calls with some small talk to help grow personal relationships that ease overall interactions. When people know each other personally (even just a little), those connections make it easier to establish and maintain working relationships.
- These calls are also a great time to share feedback about the work process and highlight great work that an employee or team member is doing. It’s also fun to celebrate birthdays, talk about weekend plans, and briefly swap stories or pictures. For example, ask people to share pet pictures or back-to-school snaps. Closing the meeting with talk of schedules and near-term objectives is a great way to get everyone on the same page.
- Pick up the phone and call your team. Sometimes, a live, one-on-one chat is precisely what you need. Talking by phone provides an opportunity to check in, connect on a relationship level, and work through options. Depending on the size of your team, you may want to schedule regular one-on-one calls or have impromptu conversations as needed.
- As a leader, aim to make phone chats familiar enough that team members are comfortable talking with you and sharing in an open environment but not so common that people feel micromanaged.
Communication is also key to keeping track of the workflow. Here are some communication tools that we’ve seen help make workflow and tracking more productive.
- Use an online project management tool like Trello or Asana to track work and communicate with your team. These programs help all team members stay up-to-date with the workflow across the team and provide an online forum for questions, comments, and updates. These tools offer each team member a broader context and make it easier to know where things stand.
- Add instant messaging to your suite of work tools. It’s a great way to replicate the instant communication you may miss in the office. Also, sending short requests via chat helps to cut down on email.
- Set up a text group that makes it easy for people to share with co-workers and exchange information back and forth, even when away from their desks.
Establish Boundaries and Let it Go
One of the most challenging elements of switching to a remote team is learning to be more hands-off as a leader and a manager. A lot of the battle is mental–changing your expectations for control over the work. Here are four concrete steps to make that switch easier:
- Establish boundaries that increase your comfort level and share those boundaries with your team. For example, if it’s important to you that everyone maintains certain core hours, share that expectation and collaborate to find the core hours that make the most sense. Likewise, if you prefer to keep specific hours open, let your team know how and when to reach you best. Understanding expectations makes it easier for team members to manage their days avoid mixed signals that can lead to issues.
- Set expectations and share them. For example, consider how to approach time zone differences. Using the context of deadlines is an excellent way to consider this issue. Is a 5 p.m. deadline in New York a 2 p.m. deadline in California? Or, does the end of the day mean, end of that person’s day or before you log in the next day? Addressing these types of expectations upfront makes workflow more manageable.
- Adjust as needed. Remote work arrangements throw up gray areas. A process that works well now may not work as well next summer. Be open to making adjustments as needed. Tell your team that you expect things will change and that you are open to their feedback about tweaking the system.
- Let it go. The final (and possibly most difficult) step is to exhale and let the magic happen. You have a great business, a fantastic team, and all the building blocks for success in place. Time to relax and see what happens.
Share your Experience
Tell us about your experience building and maintaining remote teams that work. What steps did you find most valuable? What would you do differently?