Being able to work from home is a huge perk for many employees. If your small business doesn’t already allow remote work, consider starting—employees will not only be grateful, but chances are, they’ll also be more productive without the distractions of the office.
Before starting a remote work program, however, there are some important steps to take. Follow these tips to make the most of your offsite employees.
Communicate regularly. When you can’t pop your head into someone’s office to see how their work is coming along, you need to be in frequent communication. Use VoIP tools to keep the team in contact, whether they’re in the office or out. Holding regular conference calls is a good way to ensure everyone’s on track and up-to-date with what the others on the team are doing.
Put in face-time. Even if you have employees who work from home full-time, it’s important for them to feel a sense of community with the rest of your team. Plan regular events such as after-hours get-togethers or monthly or quarterly team meetings where offsite and on-site employees can mingle and bond.
Play it safe. Make sure your remote employees’ computer systems are compatible with what’s in your business and that they are using appropriate security precautions to protect against computer viruses, malware or security breaches. If employees use laptops on the road, make sure they are careful to never leave the machine unattended in the car or in a coffee shop. Many data thefts occur when laptops are stolen.
Get cloud-savvy. Use cloud storage services and backup systems so your employees can store and access files from wherever they happen to be. You’ll also benefit from some type of project management and collaboration tool to enable easy scheduling, sharing and time-tracking among all your employees, both those working remotely and those in the office.
With a few simple steps in place, working remotely can benefit both your employees and your business.
Do you have a favorite tool (offsite storage, or backup system or project management). Share it with us.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.