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Transitioning to working remotely is a big decision for both you and your business. Your first step is to decide if it’s right for you to make the transition. If you haven’t already done so, weigh the pros and cons. By considering the effect this transition will have on your business, you’ll know if it’s right for you.
Saves you money, since you don’t need office space. Unless you’re stuck in a long lease, moving to remote work will save you money by allowing you to no longer renew your rent. If you need to meet in person with someone, you can do so selectively, at a coworking space, at a coffee shop, over dinner, or at a conference.
Expands your hiring pool. Going fully remote means you can now hire anyone in the world. Working with someone one thousand miles away or one mile away is now exactly the same experience.
“That’s not something you’ve ever experienced before,” explains Mike Chen, CEO of Magic.
“You probably haven’t even experienced hiring talent outside of your zip code. There’s billions more people accessible to you right now in a very real way. And they’re going to have different skills and abilities, different levels of experience, and widely different salary levels.”
“The labor market is just much bigger than you’re used to, and it’s to your advantage. You’ll find people with the same level of talent and experience at a much lower cost or a much stronger candidate at the same cost.”
Makes your business less fragile to crises. COVID-19 introduced an unprecedented global crisis, forcing most of the world to stay at home. Unfortunately, a virus is not the only possible threat. Remote work makes your business less fragile to any kind of crisis or natural disaster and allows you to have resources around the world.
People love it. Working from home is one of the most desired employee benefits. A study conducted by Staples found that employees who worked from home experienced 25 percent less stress. Remote work allows your team members the ability to stay at home with children, relocate, travel, or move to any location they choose. Remote work also means no commute or dress code and can often mean flexible hours.
Collaboration can be more difficult. Working with a teammate over Zoom and Slack can feel less fluid and productive than the two of you being in person together. Coworkers in person can look over at your screen, bounce ideas off of you at any time, and draw on a whiteboard with you while brainstorming. Working remotely, you need to do these things together over software. It may not be ideal, but you and your team will adapt and become proficient at working together online.
Security. Remote work adds an additional challenge of data security, especially for strictly regulated industries such as the healthcare industry. Expect to dedicate additional resources to data security.
Not realistic for all aspects of all businesses. If your business relies on being on site (for example, the hospitality industry), it may not be realistic to go fully remote. You may want to consider a hybrid approach, where you have some teams in office and some remote based on the type of work they’re doing. For example, you can have a remote employee help you with lead generation, while your sales team closing those leads is local and working on the ground.
*or at the very least, check out and see if they’re helpful!
The best way to work remotely is to dive in! You likely already have a workflow working remotely and know what software to use. That being said, after trying dozens of apps and services, here are the tools we use and can recommend:
We use Slack for almost everything. It has fully replaced email as our tool for internal communications. Some people don’t like Slack due to the large amount of messages they’re receiving. It’s important that you filter the messages you’re receiving so that you only get high-priority notifications relevant to you. Mute all channels that aren’t crucial to your daily work.
We use Discord for internal voice chat. Discord built their system to be reliable for gamers, it’s easy to use, and it’s free.
Miro provides a “digital whiteboard” and a host of other tools for collaboration. It’s been helpful for brainstorming and outlining projects.
Trello gives you a Kanban-style outline of your team’s tasks. We like Trello because it’s easy to use and easy to track and assign tasks to the members of your team.
Zoom is now the ubiquitous choice for professional video calls. You’re likely already using it.
Calendly automates the process of scheduling a call over email and works seamlessly with Zoom and Google Meet.
For an all-around software suite for small businesses and startups, G Suite is our pick over Microsoft Teams. Google’s offerings are excellent, especially Google Drive. Collaboration inside a Google Document is incredibly seamless and intuitive.
You probably have your favorite CRM already loaded with leads, but if you’re looking for one, we like Streak, because it’s simple and integrated into Gmail.
If you’re paying remote contractors, we recommend Deel. Deel is great because it works internationally. It doesn’t matter where they’re located, you’ll use the same payroll software.
HelloSign is a digital signature service similar to DocuSign but with lower fees (as of writing this guide)