To reduce expenses, boost productivity and increase employee retention, consider taking your team fully remote.
Because of COVID-19, the percentage of remote workers jumped from 31% to 62% in a matter of a few weeks. If the coronavirus outbreak caused your business to experiment with remote work, you might be considering transitioning to a fully remote office.
Partial or fully remote work isn't for everyone and every company. If you're debating whether to take your team fully remote for good, ask yourself the following questions:
How will going fully remote benefit my business?
Before you decide to jump on the fully remote bandwagon, ask yourself how your business can truly benefit from a 100% remote workplace. Remote work has a plethora of perks. Here are a few of them:
- Increased flexibility
- Reduced expenses
- Potential for increased productivity and performance
- Increased employee retention
- Decreased absenteeism
- Increased employee satisfaction
While I cannot speak for every business, my company, Patriot Software, is killing it with our remote work experiment. By going fully remote (for the time being) due to the coronavirus, our team is more productive now than ever. In fact, we decided to extend our work-from-home experiment a little longer because of how well it's working for the company.
As we decide what our next steps will be moving forward with remote work after the coronavirus is gone for good, we are analyzing how remote work has benefited our business over the last few months and how it can continue to help us in the future.
What are the cons of having a fully remote office?
Just like you want to think about the pros of a fully remote office, consider the cons, too. Some disadvantages of having a fully remote office can include:
- Technological issues (e.g., losing power, no connection, etc.)
- Possible distractions
- Reduced employee connections
- Increased security risks
- Challenges with work-life balance (e.g., employees working longer hours vs. what they would work in the office)
As a business owner, you will likely run into a few bumps. But those bumps shouldn't discourage you from going 100% remote. You can overcome cons if you're willing to work through them and find the right solution.
What will happen to my business's productivity levels?
If you've pivoted to a work-from-home arrangement during the coronavirus, perhaps you've noticed that your productivity levels are soaring. Or that some of your employees aren't quite as productive as they typically are in the office.
Before you opt to go all-in on a remote office, consider how productive your workers will be in their home environments.
If your employees already work from home temporarily due to the pandemic or were partially working from home pre-coronavirus, take a look at your business's metrics to see if productivity levels have increased, decreased or remained the same. If you notice a boost in levels, fully remote work may be a good route for your company.
Can your company maintain it in the long term?
You can't switch to a full work-from-home model if you can't maintain it in the long run. Before you decide to have your employees work from home 100% of the time, ask yourself this: Can we maintain the model over a longer period of time or indefinitely?
To have your team work from home in the long term, you must have a dedicated team as well as the right technology and tools (e.g., video conferencing software) to get the job done.
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If you don't have your ducks in a row when it comes to remote work, you'll struggle to maintain it long term. To thrive as a fully remote business, think about what you and your employees need to do to be successful for years to come.
Will my employees be OK with the switch?
According to one study, 98% of workers would like to work remotely permanently. Although you can assume that most of your team would fall into the 98% statistic cited above, would your workers really be OK making a full commitment to remote work?
To ensure your employees are all on board with switching to 100% remote work, ask them for their feedback on how remote work has been for them so far.
Consider asking the following questions:
- On a scale from 1-10, how much do you like working from home?
- Are you more productive, as productive or less productive while working remotely?
- What challenges have you faced with remote work?
- Is there anything you don't like about working from home?
- What do you like about remote work?
- If given the opportunity, would you fully work from home?
What will my customers think about it?
Without your customers, you wouldn't be the business you are today. When weighing whether to go fully remote, keep your customers at the forefront of your mind and consider what they would think about it.
Chances are, your customers won't care if you go fully remote, as long as you continue to provide them with the same service as you have when you were in the office. You need to ensure your customers are getting the same treatment as before, if not better.
The last thing you want is your customers being unsatisfied when you transition to being fully remote. Consider all aspects to ensure your customers are pleased and get the service they deserve.
Which tools will my team need to succeed remotely?
Last but not least, before you decide to transition, ask what tools your team will need to succeed (or exceed) in their positions while they are remote.
If you haven't already, make sure your team has all of the tools and technology they need for a remote work environment. Some tools you may need include:
- A communication platforms for chats
- A video conferencing application
- Project management software
- Employee recognition software
- A cloud storage service (e.g., Google Drive)
- A time management tool
There are plenty of business tools out there to help transition to a fully remote office, so be sure to take advantage of them. These tools will not only help your employees thrive remotely, but can also help strengthen your team and business as a whole.