Paper Trails

Remote Work Tips for Small Businesses

For many different reasons over the last few years, many small businesses have had to adapt to new ways of working, including remote work. Business owners and HR professionals feeling overwhelmed by this shift are not alone. Everyone is working to figure out how to make remote work effective for their particular business and teams.  That is why we put together some remote work tips for small businesses.

At Paper Trails, we understand the challenges of managing payroll, HR, and overall business operations.  Adding the complexities of remote work to this mix only makes it more difficult. In this article, we will provide practical remote work tips to help your small business thrive in this new environment.  By the time you finish reading, you should feel more comfortable managing your remote employees. Let’s get started.

Why remote work?

Remote work has become a significant part of the modern work landscape. It offers a lot of flexibility for employees, reduces commuting time, and can even save money on office space.  Here are some statistics related to remote work:

  • As of August 2023, 12.2% of U.S. workers are fully remote.
  • 65% of workers want to be remote all the time, while 32% prefer a hybrid work schedule.
  • About 32.6 million Americans are estimated to be working remotely by 2025

But making remote work successful requires careful planning and execution. That is why we are sharing some remote work tips to help you navigate this new way of working.

Remote work tips

#1. Embrace flexibility

One of the biggest advantages of remote work is the flexibility it offers. This can significantly help your employees’ work-life balance. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different businesses and employees have different needs. When it comes to flexibility:

  • Understand Your Team’s Needs: Some employees may thrive working from home full-time, while others may prefer a hybrid model. Maybe some employees do not prefer to work at home at all.  Ask your team what works best for them and try to accommodate their preferences.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, including work hours, deadlines, and availability for meetings. It is key to have a remote work policy in your employee handbook and have your remote employees sign off acknowledging that they understand and agree to it. Regularly review and update this policy to address any new challenges or changes in your business environment.

#2. Build trust

Trust is crucial for a successful remote work environment. Without trust, managing a remote team can become a nightmare.  Managers may not know how productive their teams are when working remotely and not having that trust. Some tips to help build and maintain trust are:

  • Empower Your Employees: Trust your team to manage their time and tasks. Micromanaging can lead to frustration and even decreased productivity. Allow them to structure their workday in a way that suits their lifestyle while still meeting deadlines and delivering quality work. Show them you believe in their abilities.
  • Focus on Results: Instead of tracking hours worked, focus on the results your team delivers. This shift in mindset can boost morale and productivity. By emphasizing outcomes over hours, you create an environment where employees feel valued for their contributions, not just their time spent online. Celebrate achievements and milestones to reinforce this results-oriented approach.

#3. Effectively communicate

Clear communication is the key for any successful business practice. Without it, misunderstandings, errors and confusion can arise. Here are some remote work tips to enhance communication within your team:

  • Use the Right Tools: Leverage technology, like zoom meetings or employee communication tools, to keep everyone connected. These help facilitate real-time collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress, address concerns, and maintain a sense of team unity. Consistent check-ins help identify issues early and foster a supportive environment where team members feel heard and valued.

#4. Invest in professional development

Remote work offers a great opportunity for employees to develop new skills. Here are some tips for fostering professional growth:

  • Offer Training Opportunities: Provide access to online courses, webinars, and other learning resources. Encourage employees to take advantage of these opportunities to enhance their skills and stay updated with industry trends.
  • Encourage Skill Sharing: Create opportunities for team members to share their knowledge and skills with each other. Organize virtual or in-person sessions where employees can present on topics they are passionate about.

#5. Promote inclusivity

Some employees may have feelings of isolation if working from home. Here is how to build a sense of community:

  • Virtual Team-Building Activities: Organize regular virtual events to help team members connect on a personal level. These can include online games or virtual coffee breaks to create a fun and engaging atmosphere.
  • Cross-Functional Projects: Encourage collaboration across different departments. By working on joint projects, employees can learn from each other, share different perspectives, and build stronger relationships with their coworkers.
  • Informal Communication Channels: Set up casual chat groups or virtual break rooms where employees can interact freely, share hobbies, or discuss non-work-related topics. This helps recreate the social interactions of a physical office and supports emotional well-being.

#6. Cybersecurity measures

With remote work, protecting your business’s data is more important than ever. Here are some remote work tips for cybersecurity:

  • Educate Your Team: Ensure that your employees understand the importance of cybersecurity and follow best practices. Regular training sessions can help them recognize potential threats like phishing emails and malware, teaching them to act responsibly online.
  • Use Secure Connections: Encourage the use of VPNs and secure Wi-Fi connections to protect sensitive information. Additionally, enforce strong password policies and two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security. Regularly update software and systems to protect against vulnerabilities.

Conclusion on remote work tips

Adapting to remote work can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can also be incredibly rewarding. By embracing flexibility, building trust, and maintaining clear communication, your small business can thrive in this new landscape. At Paper Trails, we’re here to support you with payroll, HR, and small business management, helping you navigate the complexities of remote work. Implement these remote work tips to create a productive, happy, and successful remote work environment for your team.  Contact our team today to learn more on how we can help with your HR processes!