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How to Survive Remote Work as a Small Business

Remote work, or the concept of putting in hours without being tied to a central location, is becoming increasingly popular in the 21st century. Some jobs are entirely remote, while others offer a flexible arrangement where employees can choose to work at the office or from home. Apart from increased flexibility, there are many benefits to remote work, such as keeping sick employees home, a smaller carbon footprint, increased employee productivity and access to a wider pool of applicants. As the request for remote work increases, more businesses are adopting new policies to meet the needs of their employees as well as the demands of modern business. That said, remote work does produce a unique set of challenges, particularly for smaller businesses that may not be as well equipped. Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in technology, remote work is now more achievable for small businesses than ever. Read on to see how organizations of any size can thrive in a remote work setting.

Keep in Contact With Your Employees

Having a sense of camaraderie is essential to positive company culture. However, when co-workers are not surrounded by each other every day, this can become difficult. For this reason, thinking outside the box for ways to maintain good communication between remote staff is especially important. Instant messaging services such as Slack or Discord provides employees the opportunity to communicate with each other in a casual environment, much like they would at an office. Annual company gatherings such as a company holiday party and yearly meetings provides a chance for all employees to gather in-person, no matter where they live.

It’s also important to check in with employees at least once every week, if not more. These meetings hold employees accountable, while giving them the opportunity to discuss challenges and victories in their daily routine. More informal check-ins in this sense are equally as valuable, as they contribute to employees feeling a sense of inclusion and comfortability with management. Forming strong relationships with your employees, as a business owner, can be the golden ticket to successful remote work as employee engagement plays a key role in employee production. Small businesses implementing remote work policies for the first time in particular, should encourage very regular communication as employees adjust to their new routines.

Automate What You Can

When it comes to remote work, it’s important to utilize technology as much as you can. Technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can perform repetitive, mundane tasks, instead of assigning them to a human employee. This can help improve employee productivity and retention, as it allows them to focus on more high-priority, critical thinking-centered tasks. Smaller businesses with limited personnel in particular, can benefit from RPA technology in a variety of useful ways. For example, RPA bots are capable of automating logistics data, bill processing, payment processing, updating inventory counts and more. While traditionally, RPA technology was reserved for only large corporations, advancements in modern solutions have provided access to this technology for businesses of all sizes.

Have a Strong Online Presence

For any business to be successful, it’s critically important that customers have easy access to you and your product. Thankfully, online commerce is hugely popular today, and is set to become even more popular in the future.

It’s wise to make sure your company website is optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) purposes. Being on the first page of a Google search will bring in a lot more traffic and revenue -which impacts your bottom line. An employee can spend part of their day ensuring the company site is indexed by Google, using the proper keywords, and is easy for customers to navigate. Also, make sure employees are regularly engaging with customers through the company website and social media. Thankfully, these are all tasks that can easily be managed by a remote workforce.
Last but not least, make sure you are reaching out to locals- these are the people most likely to patronize your business, and word of mouth is an invaluable resource.

Keep Company Data Secure

Cybersecurity is important to everyone, but especially to remote workers. You are trusting in your employees to not only protect their data and your data, but the data of every customer you serve. The most important thing you can do to keep your company safe, is educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices. Another possible solution is to provide your employees with company devices, and make sure quality antivirus software is installed on them. Instating a company policy that employees only complete work on company devices can help in further ensuring data security.
Lastly, make sure all your company data is backed up in a safe location.This is important because if your network is ever attacked, you won’t have to worry about losing important company information. You could back up your data using a cloud-based service, or store physical copies in a separate location.

With the rapid expansion of remote work arrangements, small businesses can feel left behind. Although there are some industries where working remotely is impossible, technology is enabling more and more small businesses to expand their capabilities and create at least marginal opportunities for remote work. With the proper technologies and policy implementations, small businesses can also benefit from remote work arrangements formerly reserved for larger corporations.

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