It’s a new kind of world, literally. A couple of years ago, open workspaces were the latest trend in office concepts. Now, it’s working from home—who would’ve guessed? Like many others, I started a new job during COVID-19 and let me tell you, it has not been easy. From meeting my colleagues virtually for the first time to working eight hours a day in a (pretty small) one-bedroom apartment that I share with my husband and dog, I had to adapt to a lot of changes very quickly—I’m not the only one.
COVID-19 has affected companies around the world, along with every aspect of its employees’ daily functions: from team and client meetings to remote hirings and virtual onboarding, this pandemic has completely changed how everyone works.
Organizations worldwide have veered to remote work and many have continued to carry out most of their operations by jumping on the digital bandwagon. Platforms like Slack, Zoom, Google Suites, and Microsoft Teams have seen a rapid increase in usage. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have asked employees to work from home at least until 2021, whereas Twitter has just completely changed the way it works, asking employees to work from home forever.
“We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.” says Jennifer Christie, Vice President, People at Twitter.
It’s obvious that companies like Twitter, with strong digital infrastructure and well-defined processes, seem to succeed working remotely when compared to smaller businesses, which are struggling with the work-from-home shift because of lack of resources, infrastructure or unaffordability. Are you a start-up, small business owner, or entrepreneur who’s still figuring out whether your company can work well remotely? Well, here are a few tips to help you succeed:
Review your processes. It’s a lot easier to deal with remote work when the entire company has effective, streamlined and well-practiced processes and technological infrastructure.
Cloud is your best friend. This is not just in terms of remote work, but in general, it’s wise to back your files up on a cloud so it’s easily accessible if you need it. Cloud computing offers a virtual workspace for employees located anywhere in the world. Your team can share ideas, track progress, and work on a single file simultaneously together. It provides a secure and accessible platform for your data, allowing a smoother and reliable workflow.
Respect boundaries. With physical distance in the way, it’s important to keep in mind that too many meetings can quickly become overwhelming. Respect your employees’ personal breaks and optimize meeting agendas for maximum efficiency as with remote work, many work boundaries have been eliminated—this will directly impact your employees’ productivity.
Go completely digital. This pandemic has made one thing obvious: companies are in different stages of their own digital journey. Paper documents are still common in many organizations and if you haven’t already, it’ll take a firm decision to digitize to operate effectively in a remote environment.
Tone matters. Gone are the days when you can convey a “friendly” message with nonverbal cues like a smile. As most communication now takes place via email and chat, it’s important to pay attention to the words and tone of your messages.
Many companies are rethinking the way they work, collaborate, and interact. While large corporations already have systems in place to hire talent and enable remote work, the needs and financial limitations of start-ups and SMBs are quite different. Now’s the time to consider transitioning to a 100% virtual company.
Do you feel like you've taken a hit because of the pandemic and you’ve had to let go of most of your team, only to realize that you can’t do everything on your own or completely shut down your operations? Now, you‘re probably wishing you could hire your team back, but maybe that is financially not realistic at this point for you.
If hiring a full-service team is out of your budget, there’s always another option. Look into companies like Evolve Business Advisory that provide business cultivation services to start-ups through virtual teams: highly skilled and trained talent to support your business needs, from administrative, marketing, technical, and finance to graphic design. This way, you can get complete back-end business support for your company no matter where you are located, at a fraction of the cost—you have the flexibility to select which resources you want to use based on your budget.
Alternatively, as the world opens up post-COVID-19, if you don’t want to be 100% remote, then consider a flexible workspace, such as using shared office spaces where you’re not committing to real estate or investing in assets. It gives you and your employees the option to come into the office as needed, while continuing to reap the benefits of working remotely. Evolve also offers shared offices in Toronto, Canada as part of its business cultivation services.
As a small/medium business owner, it’s in your best interest to work with a boutique company that understands your unique needs. Set your business up for success—contact Evolve today.