Building and Sustaining a Successful Remote Company (Business)

Working remotely is increasingly becoming desirable by many companies now more than ever. Some describe it as the “remote work revolution”. This year, more companies around the world are embracing remote work as a better option in times of crisis.

Owl Labs reports that 56% of companies around the world allow remote work. Despite the growing interest in remote work, only a handful of companies operate fully remote. Instead, a higher percentage of companies allow their employees to work remotely a few times in the week while other companies have dedicated remote teams.

To understand how they operate, it is important to know that remote companies, also dubbed virtual companies or teleworks have their employees distributed around the world. These companies have “no physical offices” as such, they manage employees and projects virtually. As described by Glassdoor, in remote work, the location of the employee is irrelevant — instead, their skills, experience and knowledge are what count.

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How to build a remote company

Like any business, starting a remote company isn’t always an easy thing to do. While some think running a remote company is a way to cut down on operating cost, others view it as “an investment to find the best talents for your company”. For a company like American Express, managing their remote department: World Service, for almost a decade has allowed them to reach prospective employees who live far and cannot commute to their office.

Similarly, some start-ups also swear by how remote work has improved the way they work. Planio, a Dev start-up company shares their story on how working remotely has been an absolute banger for their company’s growth.

On the other hand, there are companies who have failed in their attempt to work remotely. StatusPage.io in their blog post shares why they failed as a remote start-up and had to transition to an office-based company.

Contrary to what some believe, remote work is not all glorious and idealistic. It can be a daunting journey. For whatever reasons you start a remote company, it is important to find ways to sustain your remote business. At QodeHub, though we are still at the stage of experimenting with remote work as a start-up, we have read widely and have studied how some successful remote start-ups made it over the years and we are here to share with you.

Invest in the right team

The reliability and efficiency of remote workers has been questioned time and time again. One of the top qualities that remote companies look out for in their talents is entrepreneurial skills. Working remotely provides autonomy and independence to employees. This means it takes a self-driven employee to achieve results in your remote company. In their article, 5 Things for Finding and Hiring Awesome Remote Workers, Business.com details the process they have used over the years in recruiting their remote staff.

Leverage Technology

Almost all of our previous articles on remote work have emphasized the importance of communication in remote teams. Having distributed teams can affect how employees access information. To break this barrier, most remote companies use communication tools that centralize communication in one place and can easily be tracked by all team members. This is very important, especially for teams that have employees in different time zones.

Again, the absence of face-to-face interactions in remote teams can undermine effective team communications. Using video communication tools allows companies to hold virtual team meetings. Groove has compiled a list of essential tools that can enhance internal communications for remote companies. We have outlined our favourite communication tools at QodeHub, in our previous article.

Building a successful remote company requires creating avenues for easy collaborations among team members. Most remote companies have succeeded in optimising employee productivity with apps and tools. Using digital tools enable easy collaborations among remote teammates when fostering a remote workforce. For instance, applications that allow real-time collaborations such as Google Docs and Google Sheets can be very useful. There are also project management tools such as Basecamp, Asana and Trello that are used to expedite collaborations.

Build a Strong Remote Culture

Deliberately building a strong culture across space is very important to sustain remote companies. Companies have seen the need to organize occasional retreats for employees to add some fun, boost the morale of employees while creating avenues for bonding.

Hotjar, a fully remote company believes that “nothing can replace real-life human interactions to build rapport”, therefore twice every year, they drop technology and get together to promote good relationships among employees.

With a good plan, digital tools, the right people and a strong culture, your remote business can flourish. The benefits of running a remote company are enormous. Here are a few;

Pros of running a Remote Company

Running or starting a remote company has some advantages, though it is not the perfect route. Big brands have tried it, start-ups have been successful with it, and it is possible for your business too. If you are at the crossroads of your decision-making, here are some perks you can enjoy as a remote company.

  1. Reduce Overhead Expenses; Office spaces and utility bills are not cheap. Furniture is equally expensive if not more. It’s possible to run remotely on a minimal budget as compared to having an office space. As a remote company, you can invest this money into acquiring tools that will enhance the performance of employees and increase productivity.
  2. Reduce the Hassle in Hiring Talents; Remote companies are borderless. As such, there’s no limit to reaching potential employees. One advantage of running a remote company is the ability to hire talents from anywhere in the world. However, hiring the right remote workers can be a challenge sometimes.
  3. Flexibility; Remote workers are not restricted to the four corners of a building. Allowing people the opportunity to work from anywhere they like and not having to commute to work can uplift workers’ moods and make them happy at work. A happy and sound employee can mean more productivity for your company.

On the flip side of the coin, remote work can be challenging.

Cons of running a Remote Company

  1. Communication can get difficult; It's hard to communicate in remote environments. Messages can get misinterpreted and work can delay because of delayed feedback. One feature of remote companies is that they leverage digital tools for communication and collaborations. However, as with technology, there are days when some tools or applications will fail. Having a communication plan that addresses what employees should do on days like these is important.
  2. Difficult to Maintain a Strong Culture; It can be easy for remote companies to overlook the importance of employees having a sense of belonging. Because remote companies are borderless, there’s a high chance of having a diversified team. Not only does this pose a cultural barrier among employees, but it can also cause team members to feel disconnected.

With the positivity surrounding remote work around the world, the future of remote work looks bright. Transitioning to or building a remote team from scratch can be discouraging. However, with the right technology, strong team culture and the right employees, the process can be impeccable.

By: Emmanuella Kwamee (Content Writer, QodeHub)

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