With the rise of cutting-edge technology, it is becoming more common than ever for businesses to have individual workers or teams working remotely across numerous different locations. Here at BoltNagi, we have attorneys based in the U.S. mainland and working from home in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are certainly some challenges associated with these setups, especially in terms of communication and organization, but with strong practices and accountability, organizations can continue to thrive, even when they are decentralized.
The following are a few tips to help provide some structure and organization to your business when some or all of your employees work remotely:
Make sure you have the technology you need
This is important both in terms of communication and fulfillment. All workers should have reliable Internet and telephone access. Videoconferencing software may also be of great use, depending on how you prefer intra-office communication amongst employees.
On the fulfillment side, you should not solely rely on email in 2016. Having a project management tool like Basecamp can help your entire staff better coordinate work, while the use of cloud software such as Google Drive or Google Docs allows for simple collaboration across multiple locations.
Make an effort to meet face-to-face when possible
Even the best technology will not create the types of relationships and working environment that a centralized location can. Thus, make it a point to get everyone together once a month, once every few months or once a year—depending on how spread apart you are and what works best for your business. Having that time to bond in person is valuable to the health of your organization and its people.
Understand that not everyone is capable of working remotely
It takes a lot of self-control and a very specific temperament to be successful in a remote working environment. Even someone who is extremely qualified for the position might not necessarily be at his or her best when not working in an office setting. Look for people who are excited about their work and who demonstrate a clear ability to make progress and do great things without a significant amount of managerial oversight.
Leaders need to adjust their styles for remote workers
Business leaders need to regularly check in with remote staff members, even more often than they do when their staff is just down the hall. Make sure that these check-in calls offer employees a chance to give their feedback, as well.
Realize people will question your model
Even though remote workplaces and online businesses are becoming more common than ever before, they are still not the norm. There will be plenty of people who don’t understand how a business of your model could actually succeed. Don’t shy away from your model—embrace it, and make sure potential clients understand that you are capable of doing excellent work no matter where you and your employees are located.
For more information on potential legal issues related to remote business models, consult a knowledgeable labor and employment attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands today.
Ravinder S. Nagi is Chair of the BoltNagi Labor & Employment Practice Group. BoltNagi is a widely respected and well-established labor and employment firm proudly representing management clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.