While the flexibility of working outside a strict corporate structure isn’t exactly new, remote work—which allows professionals to work beyond the borders set by the traditional office—has hit the mainstream. Thanks to technology and connectivity, it has become possible for people to pursue careers or grow their own business from any location.
Many start-ups and small businesses recognize the benefits of having team members who work remotely. Working with remote employees not only gives these businesses the opportunity to attract diverse talent and create a dynamic, collaborative work environment; it also enables them to widen their reach into new markets—sans the exorbitant costs often associated with expansion.
To run a business remotely, one has to be mindful of the unique challenges of managing an off-site team. Here are some tips to start with:
Establish strong channels of communication
Maintaining strong, constant communication is important in any organization, and even more crucial when you’re managing a remote workforce. This is especially true for remote teams working across different time zones.
Before she became a strategist at Traxion Tech, Louie Oviedo managed the Philippine arm of a tech company headquartered in Spain. Setting a fixed schedule for weekly virtual meetings was one of the things that worked for her team.
“The Philippines and Europe have two different time zones so it was vital we agreed on a meeting time convenient for everyone on board. We’ve also had to adjust our video calls and conferencing during off-peak Internet hours,” says Oviedo.
Take advantage of co-working spaces
Having the flexibility of time and location may be the best thing about remote work, but working in isolation can prove to be disadvantageous in some cases. This is why some remote workers turn to coworking spaces. Highly conducive for work, these hubs of productivity not only foster a sense of community among remote workers; they also offer great network connectivity, free coffee, and the opportunity to meet potential clients.
Paula Abjelina-Dela Cuesta, who works remotely as the Country Sales Director for AdColony PH, says her membership in a coworking space helped nip some challenges in the bud: a lack of structure and the daily dilemma of finding a place that's conducive to work.
“The truth is, varying your workplace also introduces distraction. Whether it’s a café or a coworking space, make the location part of your routine,” she says.
Use collaborative software
One of the best things about the digital revolution is the availability of open-source software. You can easily find them online and download them for free. Start-ups can now take advantage of these collaborative tools to enhance productivity and improve communication channels.
Celeste Panganiban, who manages her personalized accessories brand Hello Amber remotely, uses collaborative, list-making apps for team-related tasks.
“Whether it’s for fulfilling orders, or preparing for events, I use Trello, which enables me to categorize and assign tasks. It allows my team to update the status on each task so we’re all aware of where everyone is at,” she shares.
When selecting project management software for your team, take into account the size and the kind of work that needs to be done. Abjelina-Dela Cuesta, who liaises with executives and clients abroad, says her team uses Skype for video conference calls, Slack to communicate and share files real-time, and an open Google calendar to keep track of deadlines and deliverables.
“If possible, separate work communication tools like Slack and Skype from personal tools like Viber or WhatsApp. This will also help keep a strict separation of your personal and work life,” says Abjelina-Dela Cuesta.
Set clear expectations
Remote team members need to be made aware from the very beginning that they have to be willing to answer calls, texts, e-mails, or direct messages regularly—even during hours considered off the clock.
As a remote worker or entrepreneur, it helps to arm oneself with tools to ensure you remain accessible while going through your daily routine. This is where wearable tech accessories come in handy.
A smartwatch that provides notifications on messages, phone calls, alarms, or reminders while keeping track of your vitals whether you're engaged in physical activities or resting can be very useful to remote workers.
Invest in high-performance equipment
Whether you're running a small startup or managing local operations for principals overseas, agility is the name of the game in a remote business environment. With clients requiring start-ups and remote workers to always be available and quick when it comes to deliverables, using high-performance equipment is vital.
As remote teams are often location-agnostic and always on the go, a lightweight laptop that packs in all the tools needed to collaborate is ideal. A stunner of a laptop, Huawei’s MateBook 13 elevates ultra-thin laptop performance as it delivers on the categories that matter: power, portability, design, build quality, and battery life.
It has a one-touch power button that makes it easy for you to start your workday; an 8th generation Intel Core i7 Processor that can handle your tasks all throughout; and a 42 Wh (TYP) battery that charges quickly with multi-functional connectors and allows you to play up to 10 hours of 1080p video. The Shark Fin 2.0 fan design uses dual fans to easily dissipate heat and with the enhanced airflow, it'll be easy for the Huawei MateBook 13 to cool down even if you're running multiple programs.
Artists and video editors won't have a problem performing their tasks; the NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 (with 2 GB GDDR5 memory) video card promises performance that's four times better than integrated graphics. If you're going to use the MateBook 13 to stream content, the Dolby Atmos Immersive Audio will make you feel as if you're part of the action.
Fusing fast performance with design and portability, the MateBook 13 features a 3:2 FullView Display with a high screen-to-body ratio of nearly 90 percent, offering the enhanced viewing experience once exclusive to conventional high-end PCs. This enables remote teams to clearly communicate via video conferences and allows them to seamlessly present, edit, and share as much content as possible, without delay.
One of the MateBook 13’s most innovative features is the Huawei Share 3.0, which allows sharing of documents across different devices via OneHop, as well as upload 500 photos in one minute and 1 GB of video in 35 seconds— perfect for presenting one’s portfolio to a potential client you’ve met while on the go.