Top 5 Challenges of Putting Up a Remote Business

While remote work seemed like an exception before the COVID-19 pandemic, now working from home remains the only option to keep businesses running successfully. With worldwide social distancing guidelines in place, putting up remote companies became a better opportunity for entrepreneurs. Remote businesses may offer flexibility and alleviation, but they also present a series of challenges for employers.

In the past decade, remote workers have proved to feel more productive, healthier, and enjoy a more positive work-life balance. They take fewer days off sick, stay motivated, and stay in their jobs for more extended periods. But you can’t expect to put up a remote company and wait for all these to happen. There’ll be several challenges you should learn to overcome before putting up a remote business. 

What Challenges Do Remote Businesses Face?

1.   Communication and Collaboration

In remote working environments, good communication can encourage teamwork and lead to mutual collaboration between colleagues. Maintaining effective communication can ensure that management of, and the team below it are on the same page. But unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t happen in many workplaces.

According to the State of Remote Work 2020 study, 20% of respondents reported that their biggest challenge working remotely is collaboration and communication. Flexible schedules and different time zones create workflow problems. When team members are in the same physical space – like an office – they can interact and discuss ideas and projects without limitation. But, how can employers manage collaboration and effective communication when all employees live across the world?

Remote businesses may be limited and challenging, even when it comes to single project management. However, 32% of those surveyed said the ability to have a flexible schedule is the most significant benefit of working remotely. And this is because some employers strived to provide leadership and structure to coordinate communication and collaboration among staff members.

There are countless collaboration tools -like Slack or Skype – designed for all kinds of tasks and teams that will help you cope with remote business barriers. These are only as effective as the people using them. So employers should look closely at how team members communicate and take the time to analyze all document workflows. Ask your staff for feedback and try to accommodate them according to their preferences.

2.   Unplugging After Work

Technology keeps us more connected to the office than ever. And eliminating the daily commute to the office eliminates the barrier between home and work. A Jobvite survey revealed that 45% of Americans check their work email after regular business hours.

When the home is the workplace, and the workplace is home, people expect you’re always available, and it becomes a challenge for remote employers to disconnect once it’s time to switch off devices. They are often through calls, emails, chats, and other notifications. And these don’t necessarily stop at the end of the workday.

After the pandemic, unplugging after work became the major problem remote businesses had to face. It’s necessary to know how and when to disconnect from work for the sake of your mental health. Create your version of commute, acquire new habits and practices to help step away from your desk and have your time to relax. And encourage your team to do the same.

Try to develop a policy regarding paid time off, like you would in a traditional working environment. Many remote workers don’t take vacation or days off because they can’t make up for missed work on their own time. So as a remote employer, avoid assumptions. Your remote team shouldn’t have to make up time off they’ve earned just because they can do their work at any time.

3.   Productivity and Consistency

Productivity can become challenging. It’ll determine how much your remote business can get done, describing the performance of individual workers, teams, or even your entire company. At the same time, these would have to stay consistent -or better – at different times.

Productivity and consistency are essential to any remote business and necessary to hit big targets, and they have nothing to do with where your staff locates. You’ll have to keep track of all tasks that are getting completed promptly, and sometimes flowing multiple projects and signs of progress can be a daunting prospect.

Start with building consistency. It’s all about how you welcome new team members, how you develop your company’s culture, and how you connect each team member’s role to its goal. They must understand your mission, goals, and brand to become the walking advertisement for your remote business.

Create a strong onboarding program for employees to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows how to represent the company. Involve everyone in discussions about the company’s goals to understand where their job fits in and contribute to the strategy. Productivity will come with all of these, but you can keep updated on some platforms (like Basecamp).

4.   Building and Maintaining Trust

Trust issues can always arise in remote business environments when you can’t physically see your staff. In some cases, team members may have never met each other face-to-face, and this has all kinds of subconscious effects on trust between them. But your task would be to help them avoid this.

Freedom and flexibility may seem enough to retain remote teams, but it can become a challenge for many employers. People who work remotely are likely to feel isolated, leading to a disconnection between colleagues. And the less remote workers communicate with each other, the higher distrust they build within the team.

To avoid abrupt turnovers between your staff, take steps to ensure your team can maintain a healthy remote work routine. Keep them connected and encourage bonding activities through virtual conferences, virtual breaks, non-work calls, or online games. The more you can make your remote workers feel appreciated, respected, and included, the more they’ll trust you and the rest of the team. 

Plus, building and maintaining trust also increases employee retention. .

5.   Technology and Security

Employers give employees computer and software subscriptions and any other necessary tool to do their job in the office. But this is often not the case for remote businesses – at least for beginners –  who might ask employees to use their own devices. 

Asking your remote staff to use their electronic devices has its disadvantages when building a remote business. . It can create inconsistencies, problems when transferring information, or even slow down production. For this reason, it’s best (if you can) to provide employees with everything they need to do their jobs.

Keeping information secure throughout your remote business can also become a challenge. No matter where your remote workers do their work, your team is responsible for keeping their personal and company information safe at all times. As an employer, you need to ensure that your company’s sensitive information remains confidential.

Education and training will help you with this. Create security policies to set requirements for creating passwords, clicking links and emails, uploading and downloading files, and anti-malware software. Help your remote team understand the risks and do their best to reduce them daily.

Ready To Put Up A Remote Business?

If there’s something good to highlight from the pandemic is that it enabled many businesses to thrive with the remote work model. . Employees could focus and increase their work-life balance through flexible working routines and organized schedules according to their preferences. There’s no doubt remote businesses are growing more than ever before in history.

Jobs always involve challenges you’ll find hard to overcome. But it’s up to your organization and management of responsibilities you’ll achieve great results. Corroborate everyone in your company communicates and collaborates equally in projects. Provide them the necessary tools for your aims and encourage employees to use them.

Trust is essential in remote business environments. Focus on its achievement, make your employees feel comfortable with you and between them. Explain everything they need to understand about your company. That will help them feel secure, protected, and members of the whole “family” you’ll build. The rest will come along!

And remember, if you were uncertain about entering the remote entrepreneurial environment, now is the time to do it!

Authors BIO:

Abril Lombardi is a writer and content editor for Think Remote. Based on her studies on communications and her passion for real-life stories, she became a journalist and an expert on experienced-based reports. As a brand-new remote worker, she focuses on online work guides and digital nomad´s lifestyles.