Whether you’re pivoting your existing business to going remote, or start with having a virtual workplace right of the bat: there’s quite a lot to take care of. The benefits of going remote often outweigh the extensive list of to-do’s to check off.
You can attract top talent for anywhere, provide a better work-life balance, and have less overhead. Remote companies are easier to scale up. Something you might need to do thanks to the increased productivity. Your employees’ daily dreadful commute makes places for morning rituals that make them happy and set them up for a great day.
But how can you build a remote workspace that enables your employees to thrive? From hiring the right people to getting the right resources and a clear culture: here’s what you need to get in place when creating a virtual workplace that runs like clockwork.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
To confidently convert to a fully virtual workplace, you will need several foundational elements. There’s a wealth of tools and applications to choose from when it comes to project and file management, messaging services, videoconferences, and all other things you need on a daily basis.
How many employees will be working with the tool-and how easy is it to get them started? Does it save time in the long run, or will it clog up your processes somewhere down the line? The first step is all about meeting functional requirements.
You’ll have to consider security, reliability, and efficiency. Choosing applications and tools starts with evaluating the needs of your workforce. Then compare this to the list of features apps offer. The right tools will keep your team members connected, projects manageable, and information accessible.
Keep it simple
Having an abundance of tools at your disposal might seem like a joy, but when push comes to shove, you just want to be in the right app in one click. The same goes for extra features that aren't really useful to your employees—it will only clog up their dashboards.
While the choices around software and applications are tightly-knit to the specific circumstances of your company, like budget and number of employees, there are other aspects to keep in mind if you want things to run smoothly.Photo by Ola Dapo from Pexels
From powerful tools to a well-oiled machine
A well-oiled machine doesn't just rely on technology-it’s the people operating it that ultimately make it work. And company culture is the glue that keeps all the tools and team members together.
Building a successful virtual workplace is more than having the latest software. Here are some elements your remote office environment needs, that will help your remote employees thrive, wherever they are.
A warm welcome for remote hiring and onboarding
Let’s start at the beginning: your hiring process. If you want possible candidates to get a good feel of what working remotely for you will be like, you’ll have to communicate it—and for that, have it clear for yourself-too.
Simultaneously, you will want to create a hiring process that screens if candidates are up for the task, without face-to-face supervision.
Take your time to ask the right questions and don’t only focus on the job that needs to be done, but also on the way your team has adapted. Yes, even at a distance, a mismatch can create a big imbalance in the way your employees are working together.
When you’re both ready to commit, you’ll want to have an onboarding experience in place that shows your company’s values and gets your new talent excited and confident enough to get started.
You can include a digital employee handbook, or even assign them a remote work buddy for the first two weeks. This will not just help them to learn the ropes, but will also build a better bond between all your team members. It also gives employees a chance to understand different teams and, who knows, even learn new skills from one another.
Establish remote work policies, expectations, and guidelines
Even though culture is sometimes hard to put into words—it’s a lot of feelings—we encourage you to give it some thought. Especially for remote companies, it’s good to have a place to go if employees have questions about how things work around here. Even from the comfort of their own home.
Employ a human resources survey to not only get an idea of how your company culture and the systems are perceived but also which questions team members still have about it. Fill in the gaps and create a guide that is easily accessible at all times. Here are some elements worth including.Photo by Monica Silvestre from Pexels
Without spending 8 hours a day between the same four walls, some people struggle with planning their time to work. Make sure employees know whether they are expected to work fixed hours or if it will be flexible, as long as the job gets done. And when others are online to collaborate and tackle issues together.
Remote work comes with a lot of freedom, but to some, that’s an open invitation to overcompensate. Help your team members develop a healthy work-life balance by encouraging them to set boundaries. If someone’s status shows they are busy, make it the rule to respect this.
Communication and collaboration
It’s not just about knowing what tools to use, but also how often and when you are expected to use them. Take the time to explain to your employees how they can make the most of the applications that are being used, and ensure everyone is doing things in the same way. More roads lead to Rome, yes, but you’ll want to arrive there at the same time.
As for communication, try to avoid long email threads. If time zones—or sleep schedules, for that matter—allow it, check in face to face with video conferencing tools when a question pops up. Getting to know the friendly face behind that screen name also helps in bonding, which is ultimately necessary for your team to perform at a high level.
Help employees establish growth and development plans
Remote or not, nobody wants to stay where they are too much. A clear career path should not be overlooked, even when you never get to meet your employees in person. Ultimately, matching their own goals to those of your company could help you both succeed.
It is easier to spot chances for career growth in a traditional office, where you can actually see the desk you hope to be sitting on one day. Incorporate training programs and regular chats with HR into your virtual office days to keep track of what your employees want to achieve and how you can play a part in that.
Ready to go remote?
If you’re a remote running business operating in different time zones, scheduling can be tricky. We’d love to show you how our solutions can get your team up and running in no-time: request a free and tailored demo.
About the author
Vicky Frissen is a freelance writer with an itch for giving brands more human voices, online. She’s a writer for Typeform and can’t stop blogging about digital marketing and digital nomad life