HOW TO SHIFT YOUR BUSINESS TO REMOTE WORK With the atrocity that was 2020 behind us and hopefully a bit of normalcy coming in 2021, it could be back to business as usual for workplaces in just a matter of weeks. However, what was intended as an interim experiment has now become a trend carrying over into 2021, with many employees now preferring to work remotely by choice.
So, is working from home here to stay? It turns out that depending on the nature of the job, the flexibility, convenience and sense of comfort associated with remotely operated businesses could actually be doing you a world of good. Let’s look at the most effective ways to begin the transition. Clarify Expectations While developing a detailed plan must be your initial step, outlining employee expectations with consideration of the circumstances is imperative to maintaining that regular workplace momentum. Lay down some ground rules and implement a schedule for tasks to be completed. Impose or suggest productive working strategies like:
§ A feedback system – trial a particular work method and assess your team’s feedback. § Communication and priorities guidelines – when and how employees are expected to communicate and with who. § Implement a new metrics system – working remotely changes the way we measure and monitor operations. Create something that suits your parameters for success. § Collaboration – there are often ways to connect teams and accomplish tasks jointly. Allow the ultimate flexibility Ditch the 9-5 and provide your employees with the opportunity to work outside the normal regime. You’ll likely find that productivity increases when workers have the peace of mind knowing that a task can be completed at a more convenient time but still within the required timeframe. Alleviating some of the stress of having to deal with 2020’s curveballs means an overall happier remote workplace and serves as both a morale and productivity booster while working from the living room.
Set up designated ‘check-in’ times Although working remotely now allows you to flexibly juggle life, family obligations and careers, we as human beings still need to conform to some sort of structure and balance which is far easier to abide by when provided, rather than left to employees’ own discretion. You’ll still need to specify deadlines or check-in times for tasks to ensure your team stays their course. Procrastination can often be a problem derived from too much freedom regarding decision and schedule making. Assigning somewhat flexible agendas with personalised check-in times still provides employees a level of freedom that works for everyone without jeopardising your business model. Guide and provide It’s important for your business to have the capacity to provide employees with all the regular workplace equipment they’d normally have access to during a remote work set up. In addition, keeping everyone connected through technological means by installing cloud-based accounting software, password management tools and encouraging the use of other handy video conference apps helps maintain a proper work environment in your staff’s homes. Transitioning is exponentially easier for both you and your employees if they can apply 100% focus on their day-to-day removing the worry and hassle for them to self-supply. Communicate as normal Asking questions, scheduling meetings and delegating workloads as usual is all part of helping ensure jobs feel like jobs. Maintaining accountability, allowing your colleagues to feel heard and their challenges rectified provides much needed reassurance and stability during times where these new arrangements have taken over. Thankfully technology has a way to close the distance between us creating a number of innovative (and perhaps even more productive), ways to stay connected and on top of our game. Eliminate the 50/50 home-office work style With some stats showing that over 90% of employees ‘feel more productive’ at home than when they’re cooped up in cubicles, shifting to remote work could contribute to your competitive edge this year. Many workplaces are attempting a more casual approach to the remote work model which is proving more detrimental to productivity than amounting to anything positive. Insisting that employees work half of the time from home, then the remainder back at the office is potentially disastrous and may see productivity and motivation plummet. On the other hand, entirely transitioning employees’ offices to their homes will likely be associated with certain challenges including: § Ensuring employees are set up with a sufficient workspace that meets Health and Safety Guidelines § Ensuring flexible working hours outside the 9-5 is allowable under the award and you won’t have to pay over time rates § Possibly modifying insurance policies to cover employees working outside the office (from home) – i.e. Workcover Insurance and Public Liability Insurance § Strategising how you’ll supply, transport and monitor equipment use § Motivating your team as well as keeping track of productivity.
Try to put together a plan that can accommodate employees enough to manage everything from one place (home). Requesting a back-and-forth work style is a mass inconvenience and is counter-productive to what you’re wanting to achieve. Work on trust and reassurance Small businesses need to be willing to compromise amidst times such as what we’re currently experiencing. Reassuring employees that you have plans to keep jobs secure and maintain future development opportunities is of the utmost importance. Loss of faith and trust in leadership and management teams to steer the ship to safety is the shortest path to a downward spiral for your business. Provide motivation for your staff to continue their supportive work ethic as they would when at the office by: o Allowing them to make more decisions o Implementing autonomous work structures o Frequent communication o Acknowledging feedback and offering managerial support
Transparency is also essential to building healthy employee-employer relationships. A sense of trust needs to be sent and received in both directions for a successful remote work scheme to prevail. Update your teams on what’s happening, future plans or any changes management anticipate so everyone can organise their lives around your next moves. Browse some of our latest articles including Should I Hire an Employee or Contractor? What’s the Difference? for further information and resources regarding managing small business structures and other finance tips. Contact Ironbark Industries Bookkeeping for enquiries related to conducting a Profit First instant business assessment or to discuss all our other bookkeeping services.