The Pitfalls of Running a Remote Business and How to Overcome Them

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With the world in the middle of a pandemic that shows no signs of abating, a lot of businesses are working remotely. Remote working has a lot of advantages, but there are a few pitfalls you need to be aware of. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are running a remote business.

1) Ensuring effective communication

Ensuring effective communication in an office environment is more straightforward in comparison to a remote setting. You can rely on face to face conversation, body language, and verbal cues. Being able to coordinate different objectives, strategies, and milestones in a remote environment can be daunting. Remote team members may feel isolated, which can lead to low morale. It would help if you integrated proper communication tools that facilitate video conferencing. You should be highly responsive to your remote team members. It is critical to respond to problems, queries, grievances, thoughts, and ideas of your remote team promptly.

2) Tracking productivity

Work done by a remote team is not easy to track. It is not a simple matter to know whether your team members are snowed under work or are whiling their time away. Just having time tracker software is not sufficient as there are ways to get around such tools. You should set up KPI metrics to help evaluate how productive your remote team members are. One way of achieving this is to assess your team member’s performance depending upon the outcome of the task rather than the time spent to do it. Have 1:1 video meetings with your team members and share your feedback on how they can enhance their productivity levels.

3) Getting regular updates from team members

Working in a remote environment makes it difficult to get regular updates from team members as compared to an office environment. One way of achieving this with remote workers is to have video meetings. With the advent of multiple video conferencing tools, you can easily schedule video meetings with your team members. However, group video meetings may be frustrating to set up if some team members work in different time zones. Also, in some cases, you may not even need all team members to be present in all the video meetings. One way to get around this is to have standup meetings for remote teams in Slack. Doing so will help ensure that you get regular updates from your team members in an asynchronous manner.

4) Defining roles and responsibilities

When team members do not work together physically, their roles and responsibilities can become unclear. Your team may not have complete visibility as to who should do which task and who is their go-to person for clarifications. You must create a well-defined structure of who reports to whom and which team member is responsible for which task. Monitor them regularly and send out reminders in case you see any areas that can be improved.

5) Reducing the chances of burnout

Remote work can seem like heaven to a lot of people. Getting work done from home, a coffee shop, or a hotel means a lot of flexibility. However, team members may still end up facing burnout. Working physically in an office has a significant psychological effect on individuals. Working and living in the same place may end up in boundaries being breached. Remote workers often end up working longer hours than they would typically do in an office. Overwork can lead to burnout, and you should set clear deadlines for your team to ensure they do not end up working more than they need to.

In Summary

There are many advantages to working remotely; check out some of the top statistics here. At the same time, there are potential pitfalls as well. Keeping these in mind will help you enable your team to achieve higher levels of productivity and work more efficiently.

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John is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.