Skip to main content
kid standing near sofa while mother working with laptop
5 min read

Could I run my business remotely in the long run?

Remote working has grown in popularity in recent years. With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating this trend, many businesses are now seeing remote-working as a long-term solution. So, could this be a good option for your business?

The benefits of remote working

For a long time, our homes and workplaces have been two very separate things. Wake up at 6am, commute to the office, work the 9-5, get back home for 6pm.

Many of us have chosen where we live in order to best facilitate this routine. If we’re lucky, it’s a non-too-strenuous routine: a quick car journey, a short cycle ride or walk. For many, though, the process of getting to work is stressful and expensive – but, a necessary evil in order to be where we need to be to do our jobs.

Whilst there are undoubted perks to being in an office, advocates of remote working point to the following benefits:

  • Less time and expense commuting
  • Flexible work hours
  • Better work-life balance
  • Not having to lease or buy expensive office space
  • Less distractions

What are the logistics of remote working?

With technological advances, remote working is now a logistical possibility – and many businesses have adapted to working this way in response to Covid-19.

Long-term, it has been suggested that some businesses will reduce their office space or abandon their corporate space entirely and switch to full-time remote working. If you are looking to make this switch, what are the logistical considerations?

Staff

If you’re a one-person operation, remote working should be uncomplicated. If you do have staff, you should consider the following:

  • What is their home environment like?
    If staff live with family or housemates, working from home might lead to more distractions and disruption than in an office environment. 
  • What is their home set-up like?
    You’ll need to ensure your staff are set up with the necessary equipment to fulfil their job roles.
  • What support do they need?
    Some job roles will require more supervision and support than others and this may be more difficult to facilitate remotely. Onboarding new members of staff remotely can be especially challenging.

The more staff you have the greater the range of circumstances and potential set up costs. However, weigh this up against the cost of leasing office space and your business needs – i.e. how necessary is it that you work closely together?

Software and systems

One of the saving graces of the Covid-19 lockdown has been the way technology has helped us to stay in touch and collaborate.

Going forward, if you’re looking to go remote full-time, you’ll need a comprehensive range of software solutions and systems to enable efficient home working.

If you’re a remote-working business owner and haven’t done so already, open a free business bank account to monitor finances quickly and easily. That way you can focus on making your remote company a success. 

  • Video conferencing software

    There are plenty of free solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and GoToMeeting. Functionality may be limited for free users so it’s quite likely you’ll want to upgrade to the paid versions.

  • Phone systems

    If you want to make outbound or receive inbound calls, you’ll need to have a phone system set up. The likes of Microsoft Teams, Oooma, and RingCentral are some of systems you can use. If you only have a small team, you might decide it’s easier and cheaper to use mobile phones.

  • Remote working software

    Do you need to work from a central server where all your apps, documents, and data are stored and accessible? If so, you’ll need software solutions such as Citrix and Cisco. Google Drive could be a basic and free option for you.

  • Project management software

    Instead of relying on emails to collaborate, project management software can help to bring tasks to life in a much more visual and engaging way. The likes of Trello, Slack and Monday are good places to start.

  • Young businessman multitasking using laptop.working concepts
    Finance software

    Using cloud accounting software is a good idea as you can easily collaborate with your finance team or accountant and keep an eye on your financial position in real-time. Save time and money by using a free business bank account – many apps include functionality to automate admin tasks like invoicing and expense categorisation.

  • Marketing software

    If you want to promote your business in a sophisticated and efficient way, you’ll need marketing solutions – be it email marketing software or CRM software.

Morale and mental health

We’ve sung the virtues of remote-working but a very real downside is the lack of close interaction with your team. Whilst some people can cope with this better than others, you need to ensure you do everything to support your team from a mental health perspective. Equally, you’ll want to ensure your business retains strong values, culture and identity even if you are spread apart.

How can you maintain a happy workforce?

Regular team catch ups

It’s easy to feel isolated and miss the social side of being in an office with your colleagues.

Find out more

Make sure you’re checking in on a regular basis with your staff, even if it’s just to chat about your weekend plans. You could schedule in a daily 11am coffee and chat catch up.

Close

Company-wide updates

For larger organisations, communicating important updates or just general updates can feel a bit cold and uninspired if dropped in an email.

Find out more

Think creatively about how you can relay information and build a sense of community. Could you do live Q&A panels with different teams and staff members? Workplace by Facebook is a work version of the popular social network and could be a good solution for collaboration and sharing.  

Close

Meeting in-person

For all the marvels of technology, nothing can compare to a real-life meet-up. Unfortunately, with Covid-19 this presents difficulties.

Find out more

However, there may still be ways you can meet up in small numbers within the government guidelines. Is there a mutually convenient meeting location you can agree?

Close

Boundaries

One trap of working remotely, is the boundaries between work and homelife are blurred. This isn’t always good for mental health.

Find out more

Make sure your team are having enough time off work and not checking in on emails 24/7. Encourage them to take regular screen breaks and get outside and exercise as much possible.

Close

The verdict: Yes, I can run my business remotely in the long run

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly shown that remote working is possible on a mass scale. This might not have been the case a decade ago. The crucial enabling factors are faster internet speeds and the wide range of cost-effective software solutions.

Of course, it does depend on the nature of your business. Those providing digital or advisory services such as accountants, marketers and web developers should be well-placed to work remotely. Less so if you’re providing a physical service.

Away from the technical logistics, the harder part is ensuring your workforce stays motivated and the business keeps its identity/culture. The larger your workforce, the harder this will be. You will have to weigh the costs of these risks against the financial saving to be made by remote-working.

 

 

Working from home effectively: 50 tips, tricks and tools

There's no reason you can't be just as effective working from home. First, though, you need to get the right systems and tools in place. 

Read more
Female hands working on new laptop on bright yellow background Top view, flat lay.
End of Article
Share this content

Register with Informi today:

  • Join over 20,000 like-minded business professionals
  • Create your own personalised account with curated reading lists and checklists
  • Access exclusive resources including business plans, templates, and tax calculators
  • Receive the latest business advice and insights from Informi
  • Join in the discussion through the comments section

or

I’ve been working through the how to start a business in 20 days ebook and so many of the things I’d done are now nicely tied together and some gaps now filled. I love the simplicity. Thank you.

Sarah Gosling – Gosling Charity Consulting

I love receiving my Informi emails. They’re always well written and engaging.

Jennifer Hobson – JEH Bookkeeping

Coronavirus (Covid-19)The latest business guidance and support