Remote working is by no means a new concept. Even before the pandemic forced many of us to work from home, the traditional office working structure was starting to evolve.
Even now, as offices are reopened, many businesses are facing the question of altering their work structure on a more permanent basis. In fact, 85% of employees have said they want to use a "hybrid" approach of both home and office working in future.
This means businesses can look further afield for new talent and explore new markets without necessarily having to create a traditional office.
So, if you’re a business facing the prospect of building a remote working team, then this checklist will ensure you have everything you need.
- Formalise a structure
- Find the right talent
- Establish a communication strategy
- Source the right equipment
- Think about online safety
- Choose the right tools
- Go cloud-based for your phone system
1. Formalise a structure
‘Remote working’ can mean different things from one business to the next. You’ll need to determine exactly how your new team will function. Will employees be fully remote or is there a central site that can be used for physical meetings?
Hybrid working allows employees to split their time between home and the office. However, if you plan to recruit from the widest possible talent pool, then this isn’t feasible and might impact how you plan to work.
2. Find the right talent
Whether you’re hiring new individuals or creating a team from your existing employees, you need the right people to give your team the best chance for success. When choosing remote employees, look for characteristics like discipline, reliability and great communication to ensure your team is made up of the right people.
Where possible, give employees the freedom to decide their own work schedule and structure, around your existing core hours. You’ll find staff are more satisfied and productive when they can determine their own workspace and choose when in the day it suits them to work.
3. Establish a communication strategy
With staff working remotely, you’ll of course need to consider how everyone is going to keep in touch with one another. In a normal office environment, it’s easy to just grab someone for a quick chat or get everyone together for a group update.
When working remote, it’s important to have a clear strategy in place for comms. Think about what should be emailed, what warrants a phone call and if you’ll use an instant messaging tool for quick questions.
4. Source the right equipment
If staff aren’t using suitable hardware, then their productivity and job satisfaction will decrease. Just because someone isn’t working in an office, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to all the same equipment that they’d be used to.
Find laptops, headsets, keyboards, office chairs and anything else remote employees might need to turn their spare room into a fully functioning home office.
5. Think about online safety
Remote working brings a whole host of security risks that you’ll need to consider. Thieves are always looking for weak links in your security chain so it’s vital you take the appropriate precautions to ensure that your sensitive data is always kept safe.
Here are a few tips that your remote employees should follow:
- Keep work and personal devices separate.
- Encrypt any device that will contain important information.
- Ensure that all software is kept up to date.
- Use effective anti-virus software.
- Enable two-factor authentication.
6. Choose the right tools
You’ve already sourced the right hardware, now it’s just as crucial to consider the software and tools that your team will rely on each day. From your CMS to project management software, find and implement tools that will make staff’s life easier.
Ensure these tools integrate with one another for maximum efficiency and then don’t be afraid to tweak your tech stack if something isn’t working. Collate feedback from staff that use the tools and see how they feel. If a tool is overly complicated or underused, then it’s an unnecessary cost that you can better spend elsewhere.
7. Go cloud-based for your phone system
Ahead of the Switch Off in 2025, we recommend that businesses invest in cloud-based VoIP phone systems. They provide flexible and reliable communications for both internal and external calls. With staff working in different locations, you need a phone system that you can trust.
CircleLoop, for example, is packed with useful features that staff will find easy to use and it’s designed to work anywhere and at any time. For a closer look at CircleLoop and how it can provide the foundation your business needs for future growth, sign up for a free trial now using the link below.