How to get the Most out of Hybrid and Remote Working at Your Small Business

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Moving to remote or hybrid working has plenty of benefits; not just for your business, but also for everyone that works for you. They have less of a daily commute to get into the office, save money and gain back their commute time, and you can save on overheads by not needing to heat a big space – or even downsizing to save money. This also has a positive knock-on effect on the environment, as your employees save on transport costs and are also cutting down their emissions to a fraction of what they may have been otherwise.

This is still a big move to undertake though, and as you may have found out through enforced working conditions during the recent pandemic, there is plenty that needs to be put in place to keep everything running smoothly. You may have already had some sort of ad-hoc arrangement in place, but a dedicated move to hybrid or remote working requires some investment in key areas of your business.

#1 Move to the Cloud

With so many people logging in from all over the place, including in some cases Wi-Fi in libraries or coffee shops (though of course, you should advise them not to do this), you will need to grant access to people to log into their files and complete their work. As you may have already found out through bitter experience, people circulating work via e-mail attachments does not allow people to work effectively. In addition, many important updates can get missed as there are several versions of the same document in circulation among your team.

One way around this is to move to the Cloud where you can grant permissions for people to log in and access their files while they are working. This, of course, does come with some security concerns, and if you are working using Microsoft Azure, you will find some guidance on who is responsible for which areas by checking out this Azure responsibility matrix. What this means in very general terms is that Azure will take care of keeping the Cloud itself as secure as possible, and you and your team will be responsible for the permissions within it. This is an important area you should not take lightly, so finding out as much as possible is very important

#2 Find the right HR software

Having a remote or hybrid working arrangement means that some team members are bound to feel disconnected from the working process. This will be especially true of any support networks that the workplace usually provides. Communication can go a long way to help here (more on that later) but you will also need to back any informal arrangements you have regarding HR with something a little more formal. Ideally, this will be something that people can log into to find out more about their employee benefits, or simply to report a simple issue that they are experiencing themselves.

This takes a lot of the weight off your shoulders, as simple issues like payroll, holiday entitlement or any sickness benefits can be looked up without you having to answer the phone or open up the same spreadsheet for the twelfth time that day. This allows you to concentrate on the more serious HR issues and delegate the parts that can be sorted out by the employees themselves.

#3 Communication and project management software

As well as ensuring your employees are getting HR support, you will also need to make sure that there are larger channels of communication open. This is very important now they can’t just wander into somebody else’s office (or over to their booth) and have a chat and bounce ideas off colleagues

To achieve this, you will probably need communication software on which you can include everybody pertinent to each project. Everybody can see what others are saying, and it should also include a direct messaging facility. This could possibly be covered (depending on the size of your team) by a WhatsApp group, but you will have to check out the possibilities of something a bit more intricate by using the various free trials and like versions of the software involved.

The same goes for project management software where everybody can see at a glance what needs to be done, by when, and who is supposed to be doing it. This allows them to raise any red flags if they can see deadlines being missed, and you can reallocate resources accordingly without any last-minute panics or rush.

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