As vaccinations are rolled out and the world starts to open up again, it might seem like the right time to stop remote working and head back into the office full time. However, as many people have proved that they can work just as well from their homes as they would in an office, some businesses are considering whether it’s actually worthwhile going back to how things were before.
In this article, we take a look at whether your startup should stick to remote work post-COVID.
Remote working takes some adjustments for businesses and employees alike, but once you’ve ironed out some of the technical and organizational issues there are a huge number of benefits, especially as a startup.
One of the biggest positives about remote working is the flexibility it offers. Your team can work from anywhere at pretty much any time of the day. This allows people to work when they’re able to be most productive, fitting in their other commitments around work, so that they’re fully focused on the job.
While you’ll probably still need some core hours when everyone can catch up, without the need to be in an office between certain times and commuting twice a day, your team will have a lot more freedom with their hours.
The flexibility of remote working also means that you can hire people to join your startup from anywhere in the world. This can significantly increase the pool of candidates to choose from, and if you’re looking for someone with very specific skills or experience to suit your startup then you’re more likely to find them.
As your startup grows, working remotely means that you can hire a team to expand internationally without having to set up dedicated offices.
Hiring office space can be very expensive, but if your team is working remotely then you can cut those costs out each month. You also don’t have to commit to long-term contracts for an office, which can be sometimes difficult for startups that are growing and changing rapidly. By saving money on rent, you can invest in better equipment for your teams’ home offices and support them to do their jobs better.
There are a few downsides to remote working, but there are plenty of ways to overcome or work around these issues.
Communication and collaboration can sometimes suffer when your startup is working remotely. It can be harder to make sure everyone's on the same page about what they should be doing and when. And collaborating on projects or coming up with new ideas can sometimes be more difficult if you're not in the same place to bounce ideas off each other.
However, there are a number of tools that can help. For example, make sure you're using a reliable project management tool like monday.com to keep all your projects running smoothly and ensure you're meeting deadlines. And if you're missing collaborative sessions, a spatial video chat tool like Topia is an alternative to in-person events as you can use it to have more natural conversations online and even include presentations and virtual whiteboards.
Review your current processes and establish clear guidelines on communication between your team. For example, use different channels for your instant messaging so it's easy to keep things organised. Use email for client communications to keep it separate, and ensure that any video meetings are recorded or someone's taking notes so you always have a record.
The other downside of remote working is employees feeling stressed out or isolated when they're at home on their own. Schedule regular meetings with your startup team and some informal social calls to check in with them. Provide them with resources that can help them manage their stress levels. And consider organizing some in-person meet-ups or training sessions so that you can spend some time as a team.
Remote working is a much more flexible way of working that suits startups that need to operate within a tight budget but also have plans to expand as they become more established. With the right processes and tools in place, your startup should consider continuing to work remotely post-COVID.