Are you switching your start-up venture to work remotely?
Or planning to start a remote start-up?
That’s a good decision considering the current state of affairs. With the global spread of the pandemic and the risks associated with it, it is not just a good idea to operate remotely but also safe for the health and wellness of everyone.
But adapting to a remote working set-up can prove to be quite challenging if not handled well. Yeah I agree, there are several benefits of working remotely, but you might also be aware that things might not operate as smoothly than when all the staff were working under one roof.
Fortunately, this is not a very uncommon situation with the start-up founders. So we are good here.
According to the State of the American Workplace report, it was suggested in Gallup that 37% employees would consider switching their jobs if they were given the choice to work remotely.
In this post, I will share different factors that you need to consider before switching your start-up business to work remotely. Until you decide whether remote working is feasible for your start-up or not, you might still want to carefully consider these factors before taking the plunge.
1 – Hire folks who you can trust to work remotely
According to Flexjobs, 76% of employees are willing to stay with their current employer if given a choice to work from home.
But here is the real challenge. As per Harvard Business Review, about 40% of 215 managers and supervisors have expressed their doubts and find it difficult to trust their employees who work remotely.
If you cannot trust your team to work remotely, then you should first rethink your decision whether you made the right hire. The first question that comes to my mind when I hire someone is “can I trust this person with a remote work set-up?”.
It doesn’t matter whether you work online or offline, trust is the most crucial factor when it comes to setting up a remote start-up and if that trust is missing then it does no good to both you and your employee. Make sure you hire staff who can work remotely without much supervision and still be able to deliver.
2 – Ensure there is constant communication and collaboration
Communication and collaboration are the two most non-negotiable parts of any remote startup. You need to ensure that every member in the team needs to understand the significance of team communication and collaboration and how it will help them to achieve a better work-life balance. Make sure to keep the communication channels open and the buzz alive which you would have otherwise done if you were in an open office. The other good thing about communicating with colleagues is an opportunity to learn from what they are doing and that could well turn out to be helpful in your growth.
3 – Make sure your people have the right tools to do their work
As a start-up owner, you need to enable your teams to do their work. At the same time, consider the fact how much the company is able to support the employees in being productive? Wondering how you will do that? By providing them the right set of tools. There are different internal or external tools available in the market. Some of them are, Slack for Communication, Zoom for video calls, Teamwork for creating project outline, and so on.
Tools are not only limited to external software that make you work fast. They could also be useful resources that can guide you to do your work more efficiently. For example, for a design professional, the User experience guide by Maze can be a wonderful resource to pick up some ideas and implement in their projects.
4 – Get to know your team members beyond the virtual world
Virtual work is the new reality. But it is as important to know who works behind the screens.
a. Have a daily stand-up to ensure nobody is working in silos
If you ask me, one of the biggest risks that I see in a remote start-up is where everyone works in silos and does not really interact with the other person. Daily interactions and meetings are very important for start-ups and big organizations alike for exchanging ideas and thoughts, and more so when you are working remotely.
To deal with this problem, you can organize a daily stand-up. Make that stand-up not just about project updates but a meeting where everyone will be equally involved. To do this, you can organize a mix of learning and fun activities. Allow the team to communicate with each other on follow-up questions or ideas from the stand-up.
b. Celebrate the success of your team members
According to Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, “Individuals don’t win, teams do!”
As much as we talk about success, we should make sure to celebrate the smallest of achievements of a team member. It need not be anything very elaborate always but just a simple congratulatory message on the Slack channel using plenty of smileys and emoticons that speaks about a ‘job well-done’.
5 – Lead the charge and take responsibility
I’m sure you will agree with me that nothing is more detestable than a hypocrite leader. And it is true that hypocrisy fosters mistrust, resentment, and doubt.
As the founder of a start-up, I have been able to see what wonders it does when you have a people-first mentality.
Here a few tips for you to take charge and lead by example:
- If as a founder, you are willing to get your hands dirty and do things that others do not enjoy doing, nobody will get a chance to complain. In fact they will happily indulge and involve themselves in the most basic jobs even if that’s not a part of their job role.
- If you leave by the phrase, ‘failure is not an option’, you are most certainly setting up your team for failure. Instead celebrate failures as much as you acknowledge and appreciate achievements.
- As a start-up owner, you should invest in attracting the best talent. While the needs of every start-up can be different, you should create a positive environment for the current employees, and they in turn will help you attract quality candidates for the different job roles.
- Take responsibility. It is often said that it is very lonely at the top and blames often roll uphill. It doesn’t matter if your team member has messed it up, just own it up and take the responsibility of fixing it.
- As much as your team is important, at no given point of time, you should ignore your physical health and fitness. Always remember, in order to help others, you must help yourself.
- Security is another important factor that you need to take care of as a start-up owner. Enough arrangements should be made to ensure that the confidentiality of your client’s documents is never compromised. Make sure to check the privacy laws, GDPR vs. CCPA to ensure there is no breach of data.
Offering an opportunity to work remotely is of extremely high value for any start-up. It is not only good for the organization but also helps to build a great employee-friendly work culture among many other benefits. If you are still wondering whether you should switch your start-up to work remotely, then carefully consider these factors and I am sure you will be able to make a decision real soon.
Good luck with your start-up!