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Running a Successful Remote Small Business
Remote small business work has seen a huge influx over the last few years. It was already on the rise, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to change the way they operate. Now, as we enter a post-pandemic society, many companies are sticking with remote environments. They offer more flexibility, are typically cheaper to run, and have a global talent pool.
Running a remote small business can also help to improve employee morale. About 77% of remote workers say they are happier and more productive working from home rather than coming into an office space with distractions.
However, running a small business in person is often difficult enough. Then, you combine managing the ins and outs of your company from a remote location with keeping track of employees from different locations. You’re likely to have some speed bumps along the way, but the results are worth the effort.
Let’s cover some of the best tips you can implement to run your remote business successfully.
Starting With the Right Space for your Remote Small Business
If you’re running a business, you have to make your remote working space a priority. Having a home office has many benefits. You can be flexible with your time, you’re likely to be more comfortable, and you can decorate in a way that works for you.
Having a designated space for yourself is essential when it comes to running a business. Your office design needs to be practical and functional so you can stay productive without feeling burnt out.
When you have a separate office space, you’re more likely to strike a healthy work-life balance. This can help both your business and your overall well-being. Once you have an office space in your home, the next step is to build a healthy working routine around it, including things like:
- Starting work at the same time each day;
- Taking frequent breaks;
- Making a to-do list for the most important tasks;
- Letting family members who live with you know your working hours;
- Stopping at a certain point every day.
You’re in a leadership position, and you should take that into consideration every time you sit down to work each day. Encourage your employees to have dedicated office spaces of their own or places they can go to work effectively and efficiently without distractions.
By setting an example with your own home office — especially if you frequently hold virtual meetings or video chats — those who work for you are more likely to follow suit. If you want to take things one step further, implement policies that naturally encourage productivity and stress reduction. Encourage employees to take breaks. Discourage working after hours. The more you embrace the flexibility and potential productivity of a remote lifestyle, the better.
Protecting Your Information in Your Remote Small Business
One of the reasons why remote work is becoming a permanent fixture is due to the ever-changing advancements in technology. Without these advancements, it wouldn’t be possible to keep your employees connected and ensure everyone stays on the same page.
However, there are some potential risks and drawbacks that come with that kind of technology. For starters, cyber attacks are on the rise and can pose a huge threat to small businesses. You might not have the budget for a highly-advanced cybersecurity system. There are still things you can do to keep yourself, your employees, and your business’ data safe.
The most important thing is to educate yourself and your staff. The more you understand cyber threats and how attacks work, the more vigilant you can be. Provide training for your employees and create a cybersecurity plan that allows everyone to take precautions and know exactly how to protect their information. Your plan should include:
- Creating strong passwords;
- Securing your Wi-Fi network;
- Using a firewall;
- Investing in antivirus software;
- Backing up data;
- Using cloud-based security.
It’s also worthwhile to hire an IT professional that can help your business if a data breach or cyber attack does occur. Nowadays, many IT pros work in the gig economy. You can hire a trusted professional as needed rather than keeping someone on the payroll.
Even though most of your work is done online, it’s just as important to protect hard copies of data that you might be storing in your home office. Keep those sensitive documents safe by utilizing a local shredding service. Leave no trace of important data anywhere, so you can ensure it never ends up in the wrong hands.
Keeping Your Employees Connected and Content
There are many mental health benefits to working remotely. Studies have shown it can help reduce stress and improve concentration and focus. However, the potential drawback is a lack of interaction and support.
When everyone is working in an office setting, there’s regular conversation and communication throughout the day. It’s easy to tell your employees they’re doing a good job or recognize them for their hard work. That isn’t always the case when everyone is working remotely.
As a leader, make sure you’re staying connected with your employees on a regular basis. Doing so will help them thrive in a remote environment and boost their motivation and productivity. Make sure you’re checking in frequently to ensure they have everything they need, and consider asking for feedback on what your business could be doing to create a more positive work environment.
You can also keep your employees connected to each other by encouraging group work and projects. Even if they can’t come together in person, there are plenty of ways they can work together on something through various digital platforms. Things like email, video conferencing, cloud-based storage, and instant messaging are all great ways to help your employees form strong working bonds. These bonds can help combat the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can sometimes come from working remotely.
It’s not just big businesses that will benefit from switching to remote environments. Your small business can run successfully with employees all over the world. Keep these suggestions in mind as you work to grow your endeavors, and you’ll keep your employees content while boosting your success.