Why Some Businesses are Thriving in a Remote Setting While Others Aren't
At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, businesses across the country were forced to go remote. For some, a remote setting was nothing new. Perhaps they had existing remote employees or offered a work-from-home day once a week. For others, this was a massive change. Coworkers who once sat in the same room were now working from their couches in homes around the city.
Whether or not they had experience with it, businesses had no choice but to conform to a remote setup. As a result, some businesses have found great success with this new way of work, while others have struggled to survive. It’s left business owners around the country scratching their heads and wondering, “Why isn’t my business doing as well as theirs?”
If you’ve found yourself asking this very question, it’s time to take a critical look at thriving businesses, and discover what you can learn from their success.
They’ve Helped With Office Setup
Just like business owners, most employees never imagined their workplaces would go full-time remote. As such, their lives weren’t previously set up to work from home. They have no designated office spaces, no computer monitor, and maybe not even a table from which to work. These employees have been forced to get creative with their office spaces and work from couches, kitchens, and even from bed.
As you can imagine, these work setups aren’t very conducive to productivity. Humans are creatures of habit; they’re used to sleeping in bed or watching TV on the couch. It’s hard to suddenly turn an after work relaxation spot into a full-time workplace.
Of course, you may feel it’s on your employees to create a space that works for them. The reality is, however, that most people simply don’t have the funds to furnish a home office space. 58% of people have experienced loss of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and your employees certainly aren’t an exception.
Successful business owners have recognized that, as the business owner, it’s their responsibility to ensure employees have the tools they need to be successful at work. That includes workspace, too. Here are a few ways that thriving businesses have helped with office setup:
- Provide employees a stipend for home office setup to cover a functional desk, chair, and any other necessities
- Allow employees to visit the office and take home office chairs and small desks
- Work with a furniture rental company to provide home office furniture rentals until employees are able to come back to the office
They’ve Introduce Flexible Working Hours
Prior to the pandemic, parents and other caretaking full-time employees relied on a combination of daycare, school, carpools, and after school programs to manage caretaking and working. At the onset of the coronavirus, most of these programs were brought to a screeching halt. Daycares closed their doors, adult daytime care facilities were forced to place programs on paused, and schools went virtual. That meant caretakers were forced to balance work with providing care for their loved ones.
Businesses reacted to this change in all sorts of different ways. Some were stringent with their rules and continued to require employees in these situations to be online and available between 9 am and 5 pm. Others worked with employees on a case by case business to find schedules that worked for both parties. Can you guess which are now thriving?
Flexibility with working hours in a remote setting isn’t just good for your employees; it’s good for your business, too. Employees who must work while caretaking will inevitably lose productivity. They’ll be distracted in meetings, have a difficult time completing projects, and may even miss appointments. They’ll be forced to choose between their job and their child, and a young toddler simply can’t take care of themselves. Their job will always come out on the bottom. That means lost money for your business.
They Use Tools for Communication
Just like a long distance relationship, when it comes to working remotely, communication is everything. In an office setting, coworkers can visit each others’ desks to ask questions, grab a colleague for an impromptu meeting, or keep track of projects on communal whiteboards. In a remote setting, these options are no longer available.
Thriving businesses have recognized this challenge, and have responded by upping their arsenal of tools that assist with inter-office communication. Those include:
- A chat software for coworkers to ask questions and exchange information without having to set up a lengthy meeting
- A file sharing system, so that all employees can easily and conveniently access the same documents
- An online word processor that allows employees to update documents in real time from many different locations
- A project management system that allows employees to track their progress on projects, see others’ progress, and stay on the same page
They’ve Adapted Their Goals
For many businesses, this new world is no longer conducive to their original goals for the year. Perhaps they were focused on foot traffic and in person events, or maybe they wanted to build out a department of their business that required increased face-to-face contact. Whatever the goal, thriving businesses have learned to adapt.
If you’re finding your business’s goals are near impossible to complete in the current world, it’s time to reassess. Instead of clinging on to those goals and clawing your way towards a haphazard accomplishment, consider whether the effort is currently worth it. You’ll likely find that you have many other goals that will be much easier to achieve, and make just as much of an impact on your business. Remember that you’re not throwing your original goals in the garbage; you’re simply putting them aside for the time being to focus on others.
If you want your business to thrive in a remote setting, it’s time to start making changes to allow it to do so. By following the example of thriving businesses, your business can have the opportunity to thrive, too. All you need to do is to be open to change.
Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling and music.