Working from home is the new normal. However, employees working remotely has been on the rise as companies expand geographically and as telecommuting becomes more common, work groups are not just limited to offices or shared workspaces.
With this advancement comes its advantages such that, employees can manage work and personal lives in a flexible manner, companies can use the best and lowest-cost global talent and significantly reduce their real estate costs. More so, it also means reduced overhead costs, increased retention rates, greater availability of talent, fewer interruptions from colleagues, minimal office politics and reduced stress from commuting.
Suffice it to say that in order to manage your business virtually in an excellent manner the following must come to play:
Find the right people to work with and maintain productivity by having the right systems and tools in place. Note that not everybody is suited for remote work and resources must be made available.
Establish multiple communication tools
Seamless communication is the key to managing a virtual business. Invest in the right tools and whatever platforms you use, be sure to organize the communications space clearly so that team members know where to find one another and can reach each other at the right moment and in a reliable way. Schedule regular meetings, create a professional work environment, choose video calls over chatting and emails. Examples of these tools are Skype, Zoom, Duo e.t.c
Be clear about your expectations
You don’t want to micromanage but at the same time, you don’t want staff misusing the privilege of working remotely, either. It is best to find balance by providing detailed descriptions of tasks along with examples of how the final result should look. Have clear and detailed deliverables and work plan.
While its vital to give your team the freedom to execute their duties with fewer instructions, it is also important that tasks are carried out precisely the way they ought to, which would avoid potential misunderstandings. Let your team members know what you expect in terms of reachability and accessibility to the rest of the team and clients within the standard working hours. Stating shared and measurable objectives with all employees eliminates the temptation to micromanage out of fear that they are slacking.
Establish Standard procedures and rules for employees
Create a list of standard procedures, define work systems and rules that all employees must follow. This ensures consistency in all areas across your business, while improving communication amongst your team. It also has the potential to dramatically increase your virtual team’s motivation and efficiency, which encourages high quality output, as well as supports them to be more self-sufficient, resourceful and asks fewer questions.
Request Feedback from Clients and handle complaints immediately and skillfully
Recognize employees for their work
To keep employees engaged, reward them for a job well done. Have employees set goals and earn points as they reach milestones. This would help them feel less isolated and more motivated.
Engage in informal conversations
To help build trust between members, encourage your team to share their feelings and chat informally, whenever they can. Organize fun events virtually and give your employees a chance to interact with each other beyond work. This would help strengthen bond and lead to greater productivity and efficiency.
Many organizations would change the way they operate for the foreseeable future. As governments and businesses deal with this practice, it is important for businesses to understand the best way to virtually manage a business.
Author: Blessing Eruotor
Associate Member of the Institute
of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
Information Source: The Blue Circle