How to move a business to remote work
Moving a business to work remotely involves many questions, so we decided to provide answers in the form of step-by-step guidance. This solution will not only reduce the cost of renting offices and transport for managers but also improve the efficiency of the work process, therefore, to see more revenue.
Short Action Plan
To achieve the goal, you need to break it down into several simple tasks that will remain to be solved by yourself or delegated to assistants.
The procedure of transferring the business to a remote work setup is carried out in just 3 steps:
- Work with human resources/HR-department.
Each of the steps has its own pitfalls that inhibit the process. Identifying these, in theory, will help to avoid or minimize them in practice. Let us deal with it.
Step 1: Preparation stage.
The first stage is rightly considered preparatory, as it consists of understanding the reality of transferring the business to a remote work format. For this purpose, it is necessary to:
- Determine the groups of employees who are able to continue working without losing productivity;
- Carry out an analysis of the compliance of the jobs with the required norms/characteristics;
- Notify the IT department of intent;
- Ensure that the previously developed system runs smoothly.
The main difficulties at this stage are: employees' unpreparedness to work remotely, "hardware" inadequacy, working system unreliability.
Identification of employees for remote work
Owners of production plants need to understand that a complete conversion to a remote work format is impossible. In this case, representatives of certain professions can be transferred to remote work: marketers, managers, accountants, lawyers, management personnel, etc.
Devices for work
Employees will have to work on personal devices. They will need to be checked for key parameters (power, graphics card characteristics, operating system, etc.). In addition, it is better to appoint a person responsible for consulting on software installation and access, so as not to be distracted by routine matters.
Considering tasks, functions, and specifics of staff work, it is necessary to form a software package not constraining the labor activity of employees. There can be:
- Software for personnel management (allows forming, distributing tasks among employees, and monitoring the timing of their implementation). For example, Asana, Bitrix24.
- Applications for video conferencing (suitable for training, meetings with clients, etc.). For example, GoToMeeting, Zoom.
- Chats for communication between staff (for data clarification, helping each other, etc.). For example, Telegram, Slack.
- Services for exchange and storage of documents/databases (a single database with access for all employees will simplify the workflow). For example, Dropbox, Mega.nz.
It is important to understand that you can do with just a few services that combine a wide range of features: from simple chat to video conferencing.
Step 2: HR-department and lawyers' work
At this stage, management needs to prepare HR professionals and human resources staff for the transfer of designated personnel to another form of labor activity.
They will have to:
- revise their employment contracts;
- draw up an additional agreement;
- obtain approval from employees, because not all of them will agree to work remotely.
If the employee agrees, he or she will have to submit an application and enter into a contract with the company, accepting the rights, obligations, and new working principles set out there. In the case of anticipating gaps in workplaces, it is necessary to stir up to action HR specialists. Recruitment should be made taking into account the transfer of the business to remote work. Re-registration of documentation in the relevant authorities, taking into account the specifics of the business and the requirements of regulatory bodies, also becomes an important stage.
Automation of a part of working processes will become a significant advantage. For example, it is possible to transfer accounting online, to introduce electronic paperwork, etc. These solutions will not only save time, nerves but also finances for business owners.
Step 3: Implementation
Having been granted the right to conduct remote activities, it remains to prepare employees for the transition to the new work format. For this purpose, it is necessary to:
- Conduct preliminary training - talk about new services and applications - their purpose, functions;
- Explain the principles of task setting and peculiarities of their distribution, acceptance, and completion;
- Create accounts for employees.
Employees will have many questions at first. In order to make it easier for those responsible for consultations to work, a separate chat "Technical Support" can be created, so as not to clog the workflow. This is worth worrying about in advance - at the preparatory stage.
Clear rules of cooperation
With the transition to remote work, it is necessary to explain clearly the new principles and rules of a motivated company to employees:
- Remote work is a job that is identical to the work performed earlier, only carried out from home.
- Software - is the main tool of the company, which places current issues, sets plans for the month, week, and day. It is necessary to monitor it, as well as to make reports on the work done.
- To solve complex situations, there is a format of videoconferences. If offline, this situation would require a meeting with the management, then why should the situation be different at the remote work? Online meetings are a great help for both management and staff.
- All agreements must be recorded in writing. If you have called and discussed something, it is important to write a follow-up letter with the main agreed points after the call.
Finally yet importantly, a simple tip: don't "leave your employees to their own devices", hold five-minute briefings in the morning or thirty minute online meetings at the end of the week, to sum up, and make new plans. Maintaining the team spirit, and therefore the realization of the company's goals is the manager's main task.