Successfully Run Your Business Remotely with These Tips

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We’re so lucky to be young and alive in a time where technology is sufficiently advanced that we all have the power to start our own online companies and run our lives from anywhere in the world that we desire if we so desire to do so.

Working remotely is the dream of many a millennial because it gives us greater freedom to explore the world around us, absorb new cultures and keep expanding our horizons. Of course, setting up and running a successful remote business is not as simple as many would lead us to believe, and although it is possible, it takes lots of hard work, dedication and a few wise decisions to set things up and have them running smoothly. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you get started on your journey as a remote-working intrapreneur:

Make Full Use of the Cloud

It should be pretty obvious that if you want to be a remote working intrapreneur, you’re going to have to use the cloud. If you store all of your data and run all of your applications from a single location, then you will be tied to it and that is the exact opposite of what you want to happen. So, make full use of cloud-ready platform solutions, like the ones available at http://www.zycomtec.com if you want to get off on the right footing. It’ll be so much easier to control things wherever you are if you do, and it’ll be a lot easier to add employees from anywhere in the world to your company when you’re working on the cloud also.

Make Contacts Wherever You Go

Working remotely with an internet business to a certain extent means that you can get away with not having lots of contacts in the local business world. That being said, it never hurts to know people wherever you are so, should you want to translate your website into a new language, or if you have trouble with your local infrastructure, there are people who you can call on. Much more importantly, it will mean there are like-minded individuals who you can hang out with from time to time – it can get lonely being a remote worker sometimes.

Spend Lots of Time on Social Media

If you want your remote business to be successful, social media is an excellent tool that will help you stay in touch with your target audience, market your goods and services to a wide range of people and keep you connected with what’s going on in your sector, all at the touch of a button. You could literally be doing your marketing on the beach!

Stay with One Time Zone

If you have the freedom to do so, chances are you’ll be moving around and entering different time zones quite regularly. For business purposes, it’s vital that you maintain the same time zone for your working hours, at least if you’re running the business solo. Why> Because customers need to know when they can get in touch with you, and it makes it a whole lot easier for you to design your schedule wherever you are too.

Do you run a business remotely? Do you have any tips to ensure it’s a success?

How To Make Working From Home Easier

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So many people have this preconceived idea that working from home is easy. For some reason, they assume that because you’re not leaving the house and driving yourself from A to B, that it isn’t a real job. But if you currently do remote work, be it running a business or something else, you will know that it isn’t easy – it can be extremely challenging, even more so than a regular job because you’re having to try and focus in a place that originally wasn’t made for work, it was made for comfort and security. It’s a balancing act that a lot of people will never understand until they’re in your shoes, and that’s okay.

But if you knew that there were things that you could do in order to make your life a lot simpler, you’d do them.

So here’s just a few examples of what can be done.

Remove any distractions

Distraction is every worker’s biggest issue, especially when you’re working from home. You will be surrounded by things that you’ll want to do, and part of your job is to block out all of those things so that you can get tasks done and meet all the deadlines and targets that you have been given. If you don’t live alone, then you are going to have to make sure that you are able to work when and if they’re home. It may be worth having a talk with them and explain that when you’re working – you’re working, and you can’t afford to break the concentration you have, otherwise it will be extremely hard to get it back again.

Update the software

If you’re stuck behind the times, then your business will be too. Technology is constantly improving and becoming more advanced, and that means that the software is as well. We all know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to find something on your device, be it a contact or a document, only to have to sieve through so many other files and data that cause you to waste valuable time that could be put to better use. And you don’t want that when you’re trying to do business. Symfact offers you software to be able to take full control over your contracts like vital business transactions, so you can keep everything else looking organized and tidy.

Create the space

Regardless of how big or small your house is, you need to ensure you have enough space to work in. So if, for example, you have a spare room that is full of storage, then it would be a very good idea to clean this out and turn it into a suitable office space for you to work in and call your own. Or maybe you can even look at small cabins that can be put in the garden. You will find things extremely difficult if you’re trying to work in bed, or in the living room where you usually hang out, because that is the place you go for downtime, and using that for work will mess up the structure of everything.

3 Pieces Of Tech Every Remote Worker Needs

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Remote working is fast taking over the business world with more and more companies ditching the traditional office space. There are so many great benefits to remote working; you’re not limited to people in the local area when you’re hiring, you can hire the best people from literally anywhere in the world which means you don’t have to make any sacrifices on talent. Employees are also generally happier because they’ve got more flexibility and they can set their own hours. If you get it right, it’s a lot more productive than traditional working practices, but if you get it wrong then it can be a lot less productive. Luckily, there are some great new innovations that can help you and your employees find success when working remotely. These are the best pieces of tech for working remotely.

Group Chat Apps

Communication is at the centre of remote working success. If you don’t stay in touch and keep everybody updated on projects etc. you won’t be very efficient. Email is fine but when you’re trying to have a longer discussion about things, it’s a bit of a pain to find the thread and read through it all. Video calling is fine, but it’s prone to problems and it can get a bit messy if there are a lot of you on a single call. The best thing to use is group chat apps. There are plenty of them out there, Whatsapp is the one that you’re probably most familiar with. That’s ok but it’s not optimized for business purposes. You’d be better off with something like Slack. It’s designed for business so you can set up space where you can upload documents etc. and look at them together while you chat. It works across all of your devices so you can keep up with developments on your phone or tablet when you’re out of the house and you can customize the notifications so you’re only getting the messages that are relevant to you.

Remote Tech Support

One of the main things that is missing when you’re working remotely is an in-house tech support team. If anything goes wrong with your computer, you’re on your own. Unless of course, you’ve got a virtual expert to help you out. There are some great companies out there that offer remote tech support so they can fix the problem over video without you having to wait ages for somebody to come out to you and you can get back to work as quick as possible.

VPN’s

When you’re working in an office, you’ll have a cyber security system to protect all of the company data, but at home, you won’t have that. It’s still just as important that you’re protecting that data and ensuring that your remote workers are operating safely. One of the biggest dangers is public wi-fi; if your employees are logging into networks outside the house that aren’t secure, they’re putting the company at risk. You can get around this by using a virtual private network that makes it more difficult for people to get into their computers.

Use these 3 pieces of tech and your remote working operation will run a lot smoother.

5 Ways To Make Sure Your Remote Workers Are Being Safe

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Working remotely is fast becoming the best way that people choose to work. With businesses everywhere around the globe catching up with technology, more and more employers are seeing the benefits – both cost and time – in allowing their employees to work outside the office. Working from home is a massive perk for most people, but there is often a question of security.

When you have multiple staff accessing the server at work from home computers or public Wi-Fi, you are risking being hacked. As an employer, you need to ensure that your remote staff are acting in a safe manner to prevent your business being on the receiving end of a security breach that you didn’t anticipate. The challenge is very real for employers and other than contacting companies like https://jumio.com/trusted-identity/netverify to implement the highest security measures, employers need to ensure that their staff are being safe. There are a lot of ways out there that your staff can be save while working away from the office, and here are five of those ways:

Public Wi-Fi. When you decide to take your work day to Starbucks or another public area, you get the chance to log into Wi-Fi hotspots. They’re tempting and available and you should be teaching your staff that they aren’t always safe. These hot spots aren’t always completely secure when logging into the workplace network. Avoiding public Wi-Fi spots when working and instead using a mobile secure connection is a better idea.

Home Network. When your employees are working from home, they should have the most secure network. You should have your staff enable encryption and password protect their home connection to the internet.

VPN. Mobile networks can be insecure when logging in outside the home. It can be worth your staff installing a VPN to the mobile. It’s a good way to ensure that your workplace systems stay safe.

Passwords. Passwords are often the best way that you can protect your remote staff and ensuring that they are case sensitive and changed regularly is important. It’s vital that people don’t use default passwords, and instead have the IT team scramble codes together that will change on a regular basis.

Work Tech. It can be a security risk for your staff to log into work systems from their private devices. Corporate data, where possible, shouldn’t be transferred onto personal equipment and vice versa. The last thing that your staff need is to mix up their business and personal data on their personal technology. Instead, you can invest in the best phones and tablets for your staff, with the highest security measures installed.

Your security is vital for your business to continue to run while your staff is outside the office. You need to continue to train your remote staff in the best security measures, while still allowing people to work outside the office. Get your IT team involved and ensure that every employee in and out of the office is working securely.

Can You Use Flexible Working Arrangements to Benefit Your Business?

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For many people, life changes as we get older and so so our needs when it comes to our work life. Yet in many instances, jobs aren’t changing or adapting to the changes that we need in our lives. A lot of it can be down to employer attitudes and the need for a mass shift in the traditional way of working. Being able to get a better work and life balance is going to the thing that helps you to hold onto the employees that you have, as well as an increased work morale and an allowance for more creativity in the workplace.

For a long time, working flexibility has been seen as a perk of the job, not the standard. A lucky thing that moms can do once a week, while the rest of the week they need to be in the office. But the question is, can flexible working benefit everyone in the workplace? Parent or not, most employees are going to welcome flexible working if it means a better work and life balance, surely?

Many employers are still somewhat ‘on the fence’ when it comes to flexible working. With campaigners calling for it more and more, is it just a fad that will shortly die out? When you break it down, it can’t really be a fad. Is it a fad for people to want to have a better quality of life? So if you’re currently on the fence, then it is time to hop off and get on board with flexible working. Where it is possible in job roles, it will be sticking around for a while to come.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of flexible working:

For one thing, it can reduce costs. Studies from companies that have already adopted the stance that work is a resource, rather than a place, have already shown the same, if not more profit than what they have had previously. Office spaces can be downsized, as well as bills be reduced. It means less sick days and people can setup virtual mail with mailbox forwarding when they are on vacation or sick, for example. So things don’t get missed, and people can work when they are abroad, without having to take time out off the business.

It can mean increased productivity as you don’t have to cater for people’s lunch breaks, sick time, or having the morning off for an appointment. If they needed that but are at home, they can get up earlier to do work before their appointment. That doesn’t work the same when it comes to going back and forth from an office. Plus, as a rule, employee satisfaction and happiness is going to be much higher when they have a better work and life balance, so they are likely to work harder, and get more done. And at the end of the day, that will have a positive impact on the business’s bottom line.

Has your business embraced flexible working yet? Be interested to hear what you think.

Where’s The Remote? Does The Remote Working System Really Work?!

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It seems to be one of the key aspects of growing a business now, especially because it’s viewed as a very cheap way of growing your empire, remote working is proving extremely popular from both perspectives, from the employer, as well as the employee. We’ve all thought at some point how we would like to work from home, neither because there are certain strains in our life that we could do without, such as the dreaded daily commute, but does the remote work model actually benefit anybody? Let’s have a look at it from both sides.

The Employer

The main issue that employers have with remote working staff, once you take into account the reduction in cost, is the communication aspect can be very trying. Depending on your business, such as if you’ve got people working for you all over the world, this can add another layer of frustration to the issue. Time zones, not replying to emails as soon as possible, as well as trying to liaise even once a month with an employee, can be a bit like pulling teeth. Another frustration to add on top of this is all dependent on if you are working with very specific programs. Lots of companies communicate with their workers via commonly used tools, such as Hangouts, or use Google Docs for sharing documents and so forth. But if your company is niche, and requires the use of a specific program, or you need to develop software, it is vital that you have the adequate protection in place. There are business resources, such as Network Solutions, that you can utilize, to protect your servers, or to implement a sophisticated server that you would use for remote workers, but also you need to think about the impact of the amount of devices that are being used for this work. One small virus on a smartphone that uses the software, and potentially your data will be stolen, and your business will crumble soon after. Remote working has a lot of benefits, but communication, as well as computer usage, are the two problems that need addressing at the outset.

The Employee

There have been various debates on the work from home setup from the perspective of an employee. And while it is down to the person themselves to set up a productive working pattern, every person who works from home, regardless of their stance within a company, whether they are at the bottom of the pecking order, or they are running the company, can benefit from some strict measures to ensure they work productively. Anybody working from home needs to set a specific working pattern, and although the draw of sitting at home in their pajamas on the couch does sound very appealing at the outset, it soon loses its charm. From the perspective of an employer, you should instigate a two-way system of communication, one where they are able to check in on you first thing in the morning, or they are contactable throughout the day. This is one issue that will not only help the employer keep tabs, but it helps the employee to remain productive.

The idea of remote working is very popular, and it can work, but you do need to think hard about if it’s a structure that, firstly, lends itself well to your style of business, but also if it lends itself well to you as the employer. Would you rather people work in this disparate fashion or do you want a team of people that gel and work together?

3 Ways Managing Remotely Made Me A Better Leader

Managing people is hard enough, but try doing it remotely.

On a weekly basis I spend the bulk of my hours at work meeting 30 individuals via Zoom for 30 minute check-ins. During that time we cover a myriad of different metrics that rate their performance, but I choose to focus on 3 things solely:

1. Connecting – technology has widened the talent pool, but also breeds disconnection. Instead of being concerned about physical location as a barrier, I try to immerse myself in a session as if we were in the same room. Human connection is a powerful thing no matter where you are. Relationships are formed over time through trust regardless of distance. Working remotely can present challenges yet with empathy, active listening and genuine care the virtual gap can be closed. Think of having a conversation with a friend over coffee. The same principles of building a friendship apply here. Connection is the foundation for any working relationship to thrive.

2. Community – working from home sounds glorious until you look around and realize you’re alone. If employees can feel isolated in an office full of co-workers imagine how remote employees feel. The concept of a “virtual water cooler” has been talked about, but how do you make it happen? As a suggestion, Slack is a great place to start. The platform you choose isn’t as important as it’s function. In this case it’s to organically build relationships during personal time. Instead of gathering at the lunch table or local bar, it’s responding to someone’s question, comment, photo or video. It’s not something that can be forced, nor in some cases facilitated. It takes several people in the group to take initiative and put in the effort to communicate. In fact the best interactions are when the manager isn’t involved. The voluntary part of it makes it real.

3. Cultivate – the uniqueness of each member of the team makes the whole together special. Most managers try to control employees working remotely because they have trust issues. The problem is the more policies and procedures you enforce, the more anarchy is created. Trust is built via connecting so everything grows out of that. Don’t try to mold everyone to be the same, celebrate their differences. When each person brings their unique talents and strengths to the table, why would a manager quell them? A manager’s role is to bring out the best in each person by leveraging personal strengths. If you’re not developing people as a manager you’re crushing their spirit. It’s not enough to have the right people on the bus. Each person has to be on the right seat in order to reach the promise land. My job is to allow my team to shine by getting out of their way.

As a leader managing people remotely is challenging, but a true test of your abilities. Similar to organizing volunteers, when you are stripped of power, money and resources all you have is your relationships. My belief is if you can lead others remotely, you can lead any team anywhere. If you want to test your leadership capabilities manage people from a distance. You’ll be forced to give up control, ego and certainty…and that’s not a bad thing at all.

What You Shouldn’t Offer Millennials As A Perk

working-home-alone

Remote work.

What? Flex time, yes. Working full-time from home, no.

Believe it or not Millennials desire to connect relationally more than any other generation. They tend to prefer virtually, but putting a Millennial at home takes him/her out of any opportunities for interacting face-to-face.

If Millennials are perceived as poor communicators, why would you want to make it worse by eliminating social situations?

Take it from an entrepreneur himself, working from home can get lonely. Instead of complaining about other co-workers not getting their work done, you can only vent alone (occasionally talk to yourself…at least I’ve heard). Lifestyle entrepreneurs desire solidarity and freedom, but it’s not for everyone. Traveling for vacation is much different than waking up at work.

Workplace culture has overtaken following your passion. Without a shared physical location it’s nearly impossible to create culture (unless you’re a 100% remote company). Millennials love to collaborate, therefore working in close proximity breeds socialization.

There’s a downturn in entrepreneurship of Millennials for the simple fact: it’s lonely (risky too). Millennials love to consume and that’s where the steady paycheck comes in. Companies offering career development programs shouldn’t worry about Millennials leaving. Your 20’s are a time of career exploration and companies can address this by providing long-term on-boarding programs (structured like an internship) comprised of: mentoring, cross-departmental training & soft-skills workshops. Do that and retention rates will skyrocket.

Stereotypes of any grouping are a place to start, but never the place to finish. Millennials get a bad rap on many issues (some deserving), but if you really understand their values and motivations you can focus on their potential and strengths.

Perks are meant to improve engagement which results in increased productivity. Don’t make the mistake of offering working from home to Millennials or else you’ll become a former employer soon.

 

The Death Of The 40 Hour Work Week

workaholic

Have you ever wondered when the 40-hour work week became the norm?

Traditions don’t always stand the test of time (just ask the church) when purpose is lost.

Just because you work 9-5 doesn’t make you productive. This is what matters: getting stuff done. If you can accomplish the same amount of work in 30 hours vs. 40 hours shouldn’t that be rewarded?

People should be judged on the outcome, not the process. Companies who crack down on their employees by banning social media at work are ridiculous. I’m not condoning “online chatting” on the job, but who cares as long as they get their work done?

Think back to the last time you worked for a micromanaging boss. Did your performance thrive of suffer? How about company loyalty? Morale? You get the point…

Today, we have choices. Finding a job isn’t easy, but more people quit now because they’re not “happy” or “fulfilled” than at any other time in history. Companies recruit talent with perks more than salary now because lifestyle matters.

Yes, paying the bills is important, but being miserable at work literally sucks the life out of you. That’s why flex-time, remote working and paid vacation time are at the top of the list for most wanted rewards.

Your paycheck supports your way of life (not the other way around). Companies need to figure that out or suffer the consequences of high turnover. That doesn’t mean you offer free food (although that doesn’t hurt) and enable entitlement, it just means focus on: outcome & culture.

What if the mandate was a 4-day work week with an optional 5th day if you don’t finish your work? My bet would be most people would work a lot harder to have a 3-day weekend.

Salaried jobs have become ridiculous, some demanding 60+ hours weekly. There aren’t any badges handed out for working the most hours. In fact, if you need to work that long maybe you’re set up to fail.

Too many hours spent at work is playing with fire. It’s risking burn-out and disgruntled workers. Culture has as much to do with employee health, as core values and mission statements.

Maybe the problem is we’re measuring the wrong things. Are you more concerned about being busy or productive? The answer to that question affects your bottom line greatly.

How Remote Working Can Enhance Leadership

remote-workers

The fear of hiring remote workers is if left unsupervised people won’t finish their work. But at the heart of that argument is a lack of trust.

As a leader with your subordinate nearby, you still shouldn’t micromanage him/her. Often we don’t manage the way we would like to be managed.

Here is how remote workers can enhance your leadership.

As a manager, focus on the outcome, not the process. Translation: be concerned about people getting their work done, not how they complete it.

Working remotely relies on trust. Leaders trust their workers to get the work done and until they don’t, they’ve earned autonomy.

Remote working is teaching us that location shouldn’t determine practice. If we limit ourselves to talent nearby, we miss out on the global resources accessible by technology. In order to harness the best talent around, managing remote workers is a necessity.

The concept of working remotely isn’t a pipe dream for workers anymore. Once technology bridged the gap between locations, it opened the portal for virtual connections.

Leaders sometimes forget how it feels to be managed. The golden rule applies here: lead others the way you want to be led.

Today’s leader is a coach. You coach by leveraging individual strengths to help optimize the team. Motivating, guiding and supporting are the leadership skills needed to manage from afar. The beauty of managing remotely is that it is built on the foundation of trust.

Trust means respect and what makes us all feel “safe” at work. That’s what we all want from our leaders.