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Manage your business from home

Business · 4 mins

How to run your business from home

Shifting to a remote business set-up? Our guide will help ensure everything flows smoothly.

Running a business remotely poses a unique set of challenges – especially when that business has traditionally been run from an office. However, in today’s connected world, it’s eminently possible, so here’s our guide to how you can make remote management a success for you and your company.

This article will cover:

Setting yourself up, establishing a routine, staying flexible, keeping your people together, communication, managing supply chains, insurance.

Set yourself up

First things first, you need to make sure everyone can reach each other, and anything they may need to access from your company’s server. Use a secure remote VPN (Virtual Private Network) if you’re handling important data, large files, and want a smooth transition from office to home office. TechRadar gave their rundown on the best options for your business, which you can find here.

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Establish a routine

Just as with office life, managing remote employees needs structure in order to be successful. Set up regular catch-ups with your team, and have a to-do list on the go to make sure you know what needs to be done. While running your business from home offers more flexibility, it’s important to keep to a schedule when necessary – although embracing asynchronistic working techniques can allow your team to tackle different tasks over a longer period, should that be necessary with suppliers/customers in different time zones.

But embrace flexibility

Taking the time it takes to commute out of the day can free up several hours, in some instances. And, if you can use that time productively, whether it’s early morning or early evening, do it – and claim the time back later in the day. While that might mean answering emails or making calls, it can also be a time to practice some mindfulness, do some exercise, or ensure your work environment it set up to allow you to perform your job to your maximum potential.

Keep your team together

Remote communication between employees is essential. While a few words over WhatsApp might work for you, companies such as Slack or Discourse are popular options that can keep everyone as one – both in and out of the office. If people are used to collaborating in person, they’ll need to be able to collaborate if they’re out of the office, too.

  • Google’s G Suiteof apps (Slides, Sheets, Docs, etc.) mean multiple people can access the same files, with varying levels of accessibility and editing permissions
  • Dropbox2 lets you share files seamlessly
  • WeTransfer3 makes it easy to send presentations, etc.

 

That meeting could have been an email…

Undoubtedly, that phrase has been uttered before – and now it’s time to put that theory to the test. When getting people in the same place becomes more of a challenge, running a business from home means communicating clearly over email becomes more important than ever.

But if it needs a face-to-face…

Video conferencing has become much easier, and mean you can get everyone into the (virtual) room. As with any meeting, it’s important to have an agenda, and ensure that every attendee who needs to be there has connected before you begin. To ensure order, make sure someone is running the meeting, and gives everyone the chance to speak in turn – as video calls can be tough to control.

  • Skype4 is free, easy to use and offers HD group video calls
  • Zoom5 offers professional remote conferencing, with a Basic plan that includes 40 minutes for free
  • Google Hangouts6 lets you get up to 100 people in one place

Supply and product chain

If you’re working away from where you usually would, you may have to work with your suppliers to ensure you can still get prototypes, samples and products into hands before they’re ready to go. If you’re also having to deal with returns, making sure they’re going to the right place for them to be dealt with. You may need to update your customers if your logistics are changing, and be sure to notify them of any shipping issues that could be faced, it's all part of maintaining consumer trust.

Ensure you’re insured

If you’ve got stock, technical equipment, or money at your home, make sure your insurance policy covers you. And, if anyone’s going to be visiting you, make sure they’re covered as well – in case of any accidents, you’ll need a public liability policy.

 

References:
Google G Suite
Dropbox
WeTransfer
Skype
Zoom
6 Google Hangouts

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