When my Boston-based business was ready to grow back in 2011, I knew the perfect person for the job—the challenge was that she lived halfway across the country in Kansas. I went ahead with the hire anyway.
When it was time to recruit the next team member, again the ideal candidate lived outside the company’s geographical area (in Nebraska). And the best candidate for the next opening lived three time zones away in California.
I made these hires too.
I’m happy to say they were good decisions. And over time I did more of the same, successfully building a fully remote team for my business—one with no shared headquarters. Instead, all our team members now work effectively from wherever they happen to be.
In years past, going “fully remote” seemed to be a scary prospect for employers. But now, as employees everywhere express a clear preference for flexible work and many well-known corporations are establishing permanent remote work arrangements, you may be grappling with the question of whether it’s time to make your own company fully remote. Maybe you’ve already lost valued employees to fully remote competitors yet are hesitant to make the switch because you fear losing control or productivity.
Full disclosure: I didn’t necessarily get everything right the first time. But through trial and error, my company has found what works for us. You’ll ultimately need to find the best way forward for your own company. However, there are some things you can—and should—think about before you implement a remote work policy. Based on my experience, below are some of the critical questions to consider in advance.
First, what does “fully remote” mean?
I define a fully remote company as one without shared office space, with each manager and team member free to work flexible hours from anywhere they choose. Other companies have created flexible work arrangements to fit their specific needs, but this article will focus on fully remote work as defined above.
5 Questions For Employers To Consider Before Deciding To Go Fully Remote
1. Is my business compatible with fully remote work?
Because of the diverse needs of different departments, large businesses are often better served by using a hybrid work arrangement rather than fully remote. Hybrid work most commonly means a mix of remote and in-person work, with all employees doing some of both arrangements. It could also mean that certain employees work from the office every day while others are 100% remote.
If your business requires frequent creative collaboration or a physical presence to serve customers, fully remote work may not suit your company. A fully remote team is most viable when employees are engaged in independent, results-driven, focused work, and don’t require the resources of a shared office to do their jobs efficiently.
2. Can my managers and team successfully adapt to remote work?
In fully remote companies, outcomes matter more than the number of hours worked. This means managers will need to loosen their control and change their thinking about how to best motivate employees. Can your managers make this adjustment?
Think it through by considering these two points:
- Does your team communicate effectively with one another?
- Can your managers and employees operate from a position of mutual trust?
If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, your company may not be ready for fully remote work.
Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your team. A talented and conscientious team will rise to the occasion when given autonomy and trust, while an inexperienced or less motivated team might struggle.
3. Can I preserve company culture without a shared workspace?
If you currently have a strong company culture, look for ways to adapt its most significant elements to remote work.
For example, do you meet regularly in the office to set goals, share progress, or celebrate wins? Does your team occasionally meet for lunch? Do employees get together for happy hour or other activities after work? To the extent that you can, maintain these touchpoints through video meetings to keep your team feeling connected.
4. Can I maintain professionalism and my company’s brand identity?
Just because your employees work remotely doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your brand image. Look for opportunities to reinforce your brand as you transition from shared headquarters to individual remote workspaces.
For example, video calls play a significant role in the remote work experience. Will the image your clients see on those calls inspire confidence? Since your team members will work from a variety of locations, it’s essential to set consistent standards for the visuals they use on calls. You can achieve consistency by equipping each employee with a branded backdrop for video calls. This way, you ensure that your clients always see a professional image—whether an employee is working from an impeccable dedicated workspace, a cluttered room, or even the road.
5. How can I facilitate communication and collaboration among my team?
Odds are that your team is familiar with tools like Microsoft 360, Google Suite, Slack, and Trello or Asana. If not, consider the software you’ll need to implement for effective remote work and how you’ll train employees to use it.
Establish communication guidelines to promote smooth communication, such as using the appropriate channels (e.g., Slack for interoffice messaging, Zoom for video calls) and expected response times.
Finally, to help your team shift effectively to fully remote work, ensure that you’ve clearly defined the job description, responsibilities, and goals for every position.
The Advantages Of Being A Fully Remote Company
By now, enough people have been working at home that the advantages for companies are well-documented. If you’ve decided it’s time for your company to go remote, you’ll benefit by:
Many fully remote companies reveal that work/life equilibrium is the most meaningful benefit. Fully remote work offers the flexibility to seamlessly blend work into your life—decreasing the stress of balancing conflicting priorities while increasing happiness and well-being.
Reinforce Your Remote Company’s Brand Identity With Anyvoo
As your company moves from shared office space to fully remote work, Anyvoo’s branded video backdrops can reinforce your brand and present a polished image to your clients. Designed specifically for remote workers, they’re portable, easy to assemble, and easy to transport. Our customers have called them a game-changer, saying it’s easier than ever to look professional on video calls—no matter where they happen to be.