A Startup Guide to Remote Work
The outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent quarantine periods forced companies working in offices to adopt a remote style of work. However, startups didn’t feel the pinch as they mostly had already opted for a remote-first culture.
Remote work, though, is much broader than the usual sense it’s portrayed in – leaving your office to work from the comforts of your home.
Remote work also entails moving all your physical processes and operations into digital or remote ones. Unfortunately, this may not only break a few workflows but also open up your business to financial leaks, lack of visibility and communication, and more such problems. Thus startup owners need to consider creating a bulletproof plan to approach remote work as a whole.
But where does one start? We’ve crafted this article to help you find new ways to approach and make remote work succeed for your startup. So, let’s get started!
How can your startup take a better approach to remote work?
1. Encourage managers and teams to conduct daily one-on-ones and standups
Ensure teams regularly update their work progress, deadlines, and roadblocks they might be facing.
Over-communication is necessary with remote work to ensure that everyone is clear about their responsibilities and objectives. It’s always better to remind employees more than once of what they already know rather than developing misunderstandings that lead to time wastage.
Word of caution, as you try to enforce this, let managers know that they must not go to the extent of distracting employees for these daily standups. Instead, let them stick to their daily standup or sync-up sessions to ensure employees are on track and focused on achieving their goals.
2. Leverage the benefits of video-conferencing
There’s no denying that every business has to use video conferencing tools to get around work today.
Encourage employees to always turn on their cameras during meetings as a rule of thumb. Having videos on will ensure you grasp all the non-verbal communication factors like facial movements, emotions, and other gestures. This will help you understand if they are on board with your plan, if they have any doubts or if they seem jittery about it. In addition, this will bring your teams closer to each other, giving them the look and feel of working from the office.
Recommend tools for video conferences:
3. Ensure everyone knows what needs to be done
Remote work is only effective when everyone in the team is aware of their specific responsibilities.
To facilitate this, ensure that your managers set key goals and milestones with their teams. If a goal seems too large to approach, break it down into smaller and more approachable targets – stepping stones that become the essential steps for the bigger plan.
Project management tools exist to help you set up these little milestones to achieve your goals.
Recommend project management tools:
4. Thoroughly document whatever work is done
While texting or emails would be a way of keeping all the team members informed about the latest developments in work, writing things down on a shared document can ensure everyone in the organization can get informed about progress. In addition, this builds up a culture of inclusion within your company.
Recommended tools for documentation:
5. Protect your financials by automating your expense management
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak can sink a great ship” – Benjamin Franklin.
It’s no surprise that an efficient Finance team is present at the heart of every successful startup. However, remote work has left startup finances in a vulnerable state by adding physical distances between employees, which led to broken processes. This has made Finance teams work endless hours to get the complete picture of business expenses.
Remote work breaks manual expense management and leaves your organization vulnerable to numerous financial leaks through broken records, expense fraud, and more. As a result, companies worldwide have slowly begun adopting an expense management software to ensure solid financials.
The expense reimbursement software effortlessly plugs all your financial leaks and frees up time for more time-sensitive tasks. It ensures only compliant expenses are submitted by automating pre-submission checks; thus, keeping fraud at bay. Additionally, an expense report software comes with OCR technology that automatically extracts data from receipts and auto-fills all essential columns of an expense report. This ensures no dependence on manual labor and prevents data entry errors while keeping your company finances safe.
6. Hire the right people
While hiring, look for signs that will let you know if the candidate will fit into your organization’s remote work culture. Ask questions such as “Have you worked remotely before?” or “Have you ever done freelance work?” People with such experiences usually have better discipline and are motivated to “do things” by nature.
At the same time, spend time understanding how you can equip your already existing employees for whom this shift might be new. Provide them with the right resources and tools to help them bridge the gap and make the best use of working remotely, workwise, and otherwise.
7. Trust your employees
Often easier said than done, managers have impending doubts about whether their team members are really working. So one rule of thumb here is that if you want remote work to succeed, trust needs to be a two-way street. Start first!
Micromanaging and excessive control do not go well in a remote environment. By giving people the freedom they need, you will notice that they start taking more ownership over their projects. Establish clear guidelines on the kind of performance that is expected and reporting mechanisms.
P.S – Something that would be seen as borderline dictatorship is asking your teams to record the screens as they work or take screenshots to report regularly. This destroys their morale in the long run.
8. Have virtual water cooler conversations
Create separate channels where your employees can socialize and take much-needed breaks from work. Employees can use these spaces to share personal interests and funny moments to just laugh with team members. Do not have too many of these channels, as they may clutter your workspace and act as a distraction.
Additionally, you can keep these channels on mute and dedicate a certain amount of time each day to check in on them when you require a distraction. In this way, they won’t interrupt your employees while trying to focus on work.
The tools and strategies mentioned here can help you efficiently switch to a 100% remote work mode by easing the process. With our returns to an office space looking further away, it’s just the right time to ensure that your startup is ready for the long haul.
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