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Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?
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7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team
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5 Minute Guide to Working Remotely
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5 Minute Guide to Working Remotely

Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team

Employees are the most crucial part of any business or enterprise. If you have a team with good employees, you will have an edge over your competitors due to increased productivity. Leading your employees through the daily business operations requires you to put in the extra effort. Leading a team of remote employees can have its own set of challenges.

The work environment today grants employees the freedom to work from anywhere in the world due to the presence of the internet and computers. They don’t have to be present at a physical location to work.  There are many benefits to having a virtual team of employees working remotely.

The most crucial advantage is that you can hire talented candidates from across the globe, which contributes to taking productivity to the next level for you. You can bring in innovative ideas by hiring virtual employees and save the cost of maintaining an expensive infrastructure. Although there are many benefits of hiring virtual employees, there is one area that can cause concern – leading a virtual team can be tough. This problem is not insurmountable and can be solved if you follow certain tips. Here are seven tips that will help you to manage and lead a virtual team of employees like a pro.

Hire with Care

When you hire a virtual employee, you have to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the job. You must remember that not everyone can tackle the task of working alone. Although you and other virtual employees may be in contact, there are certain times when individual decision-making might be required. There are people who tend to be inclined to seek help from coworkers or seniors when put in that position. Remote workplaces are generally less social than physical ones and it is difficult to be available to the employee all the time. That is why it is important that you choose candidates who fit all the criteria of the job.  

Set Expectations

When your employee is working via a remote location, it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what amount of work. There is always a fear that keeps you wondering whether your employees are working well or abusing the privilege of work from a remote location. Productivity is the most important factor to consider when hiring regular or virtual employees. To maintain the right levels of productivity you must set expectations that are clearly communicated in a remote workplace model.

You can draw the daily output requirements, the time within which the employee should be available to you and other employees and team goals. This will act as a guideline for employees and will also keep a check on their output. If you have hired the right set of people, setting expectations will give you a thriving team that enjoys the privilege of working from home, but does not misuse it.

Use Technology

Communication and connection are the key to maintaining a successful virtual team. There are many technological tools that help you to connect and communicate with your employees and allow the employees to be in touch with each other.  There are tools that allow you to manage tasks and projects.  You can use tools like calendar, time manager, time zone scheduler, file storage, human resource management, etc to increase productivity.  It’s important to take the initiative to encourage your employees to use these tools as well.

Promote Voice Calling

While text messages and emails are formal and good ways of communication, they are often not easily understood and lack tone. By using voice calling on a regular basis, it will be easier to ensure that the entire team is on the same platform.

Video Meetings

Video meetings will help the entire team to connect with each other. You should encourage video meetings not only with yourself but also among other employees in your absence. As everyone is in remote locations, video calling is a better way to promote a sense of togetherness.

Deeper Bonds

Virtual employees want the privilege of working from remote locations and they often want more warm and friendly bonding than the regular working setup. You must catch up on what is happening in the employee’s life. Try to keep a more relaxed relationship with your employees. This develops a deeper sense of job satisfaction. Virtual employees enjoy a good balance between work and life. You can help them achieve that by adopting policies that encourage work-life balance rather than focusing only on your own profit.

Respect and Flexibility

Your employees might belong to different countries, cultures, and mindsets. Make sure you respect them and have a flexible attitude towards them.

These are some of the tips that will help you lead a team of virtual employees and may even help resolve conflicts or problems before they even arise.

5 Minute Guide to Working Remotely

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Working as a remote hire, no doubt, has many advantages. More and more professionals are opting to work from home to avail of the many perks of working at their own pace, in their own comfort zone and at flexible working hours. However, to build a successful career as a freelancer, there are certain rules you must lay down for yourself. Without a set work pattern, you’ll soon face issues like lowered levels of productivity, miscommunication with teammates, and at some point, you could lose sight of your goals. To ensure that you stay clear of the typical pitfalls of freelancing, use this five-minute guide. It has a list of do’s and don’ts that you absolutely must follow.

Step into the Role

If you choose to work full time in an office, you’ll have fixed hours of waking up, dressing, having breakfast, and leaving the house. But, as a remote hire, chances are, you’ll give in to the temptation of oversleeping, having erratic mealtimes, and perhaps, lounging around the house in track pants. Avoid this pitfall and set up a routine for yourself. Follow it no matter what and you’ll soon find your productivity levels improving. Assign hours for work. Like say, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Then, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and, finally 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Unless you’re dealing with an emergency, don’t let any issue make you deviate from that routine. Allow yourself the weekends off. But, work if you need to make up for missed hours.

Create a Work Environment

As a freelancer, you have the option of choosing the working space that is conducive to your output levels, but one that matches your personality. If you’re a loner who needs a quiet place to concentrate, work from home. But, if you need the stimulation of interaction with like-minded professionals, choose a coworking space, cafeteria, cyber hub, or any such location. Many remote hires are single parents or caring for elderly relatives. Whatever may be your life situation, pick out your space accordingly.

Acquire the Necessary Equipment

Depending on the work you do, make sure you have all the necessary equipment in place. If you need to constantly communicate with your teammates, get the devices. If you find yourself switching between and monitoring multiple projects at a time, invest in multiple screens. Make sure you have a printer if you need hard copies for delivery. Having all the tools and gadgets you need, can ensure that you’re not stuck every time a work situation arises.

Regular Communication

Since you’re working out of home, you’ll need to frequently receive instructions from your employers and relay completed assignments and updates. You might also find that you’re working on projects for employers in different time zones. In that case, it becomes absolutely essential that you have not just the necessary apps for video conferencing and audio calls, but that you work out timings that are convenient to everyone. By following this rule, you’ll find that it becomes easy to coordinate your activities with those of your teammates and there are no delays in the projects because of lack of communication.

Take Regular Breaks

Yet another pitfall many remote hires face is working too hard and putting in unreasonable hours. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to forget to eat and exercise, and soon, you could be heading for a burnout. Make sure you avoid that. Some freelancers also find that boredom gets in the way of productivity levels. To deal with this situation, switch between tasks and take 10 minutes off for tea, coffee, and snack breaks and you’ll soon get the creative juices flowing. If you need it, take a power nap.

Using these strategies, you’re sure to make a success out of your career as a remote hire.

5 Minute Guide to Working Remotely

CN_BlogV2_28-06-16

Working as a remote hire, no doubt, has many advantages. More and more professionals are opting to work from home to avail of the many perks of working at their own pace, in their own comfort zone and at flexible working hours. However, to build a successful career as a freelancer, there are certain rules you must lay down for yourself. Without a set work pattern, you’ll soon face issues like lowered levels of productivity, miscommunication with teammates, and at some point, you could lose sight of your goals. To ensure that you stay clear of the typical pitfalls of freelancing, use this five-minute guide. It has a list of do’s and don’ts that you absolutely must follow.

Step into the Role

If you choose to work full time in an office, you’ll have fixed hours of waking up, dressing, having breakfast, and leaving the house. But, as a remote hire, chances are, you’ll give in to the temptation of oversleeping, having erratic mealtimes, and perhaps, lounging around the house in track pants. Avoid this pitfall and set up a routine for yourself. Follow it no matter what and you’ll soon find your productivity levels improving. Assign hours for work. Like say, 9:00am to 1:00pm. Then, 2:00pm to 6:00pm and, finally 7:00pm to 8:00pm. Unless you’re dealing with an emergency, don’t let any issue make you deviate from that routine. Allow yourself the weekends off. But, work if you need to make up for missed hours.

Create a Work Environment

As a freelancer, you have the option of choosing the working space that is conducive to your output levels, but one that matches your personality. If you’re a loner who needs a quiet place to concentrate, work from home. But, if you need the stimulation of interaction with like-minded professionals, choose a coworking space, cafeteria, cyber hub, or any such location. Many remote hires are single parents or caring for elderly relatives. Whatever may be your life situation, pick out your space accordingly.

Acquire the Necessary Equipment

Depending on the work you do, make sure you have all the necessary equipment in place. If you need to constantly communicate with your teammates, get the devices. If you find yourself switching between and monitoring multiple projects at a time, invest in multiple screens. Make sure you have a printer if you need hard copies for delivery. Having all the tools and gadgets you need, can ensure that you’re not stuck every time a work situation arises.

Regular Communication

Since you’re working out of home, you’ll need to frequently receive instructions from your employers and relay completed assignments and updates. You might also find that you’re working on projects for employers in different time zones. In that case, it becomes absolutely essential that you have not just the necessary apps for video conferencing and audio calls, but that you work out timings that are convenient to everyone. By following this rule, you’ll find that it becomes easy to coordinate your activities with those of your teammates and there are no delays in the projects because of lack of communication.

Take Regular Breaks

Yet another pitfall many remote hires face is working too hard and putting in unreasonable hours. When you’re working from home, it’s easy to forget to eat and exercise, and soon, you could be heading for a burnout. Make sure you avoid that. Some freelancers also find that  boredom gets in the way of productivity levels. To deal with this situation, switch between tasks and take 10 minutes off for tea, coffee, and snack breaks and you’ll soon get the creative juices flowing. If you need it, take a power nap.

Using these strategies, you’re sure to make a success out of your career as a remote hire.

 

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