11 Remote Work Best Practices For Business Success


The novel coronavirus had taken the world by storm for the last two years, and unfortunately, it disrupted the balance and peace of everyone's daily lives. For businesses, one method to reclaim your productive working environment is to learn and implement remote work best practices.

The adoption of remote work isn't something new to the business world. In fact, there were already 4.7 million remote workers in the U.S. alone, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. But it only became a mainstream business model as soon as it spread out. Although, two years after the pandemic and the remote work decree hit, many businesses are still struggling to return to pre-pandemic productivity. 

Like with any other business aspect, the right skills and knowledge are crucial in managing a remote work environment. Here are the best practices you can implement to ensure your managers and team members will never fall short.

11 Remote Work Best Practices

If you’re new to remote work or run out of creative ideas, here are the remote work best practices you can implement to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Best Practices #1: Invest in the essential technical and IT infrastructure

A reliable and secure remote work infrastructure is imperative to the success of the transition. Most businesses, particularly startups and small businesses, initially chose the DIY approach to meet their business needs. This usually consists of the following:

  • Basic hardware (desktop set or laptop with webcam and microphone)
  • Internet router for stable internet connectivity
  • Simple phone system

Though DIY IT infrastructure works, it isn't flexible enough to support your business as it grows. Here are a few of the technical components you must consider investing in:

I. Network capacity

Most businesses require their remote team members to have at least 10 Mbps download speed, and 1 Mbps upload speed. But some require a higher internet bandwidth. That's why it's essential to invest in a sufficient network capacity to ensure your business can support all your employee's online work-related activities.

If you don't know the exact bandwidth you need, you can determine it by understanding how many apps your team uses and the type of work they do. For example, if your team uses the apps mostly to write reports, send emails, and communicate (instant messaging), then a low bandwidth is enough.

Higher bandwidth is often required for teams that make collaborative meetings via video conferencing, uploading/downloading large files daily, and more.

II. Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

VPNs provide your remote employees a secure way to connect and access your business' network. It uses a layer of advanced encryption protocols and matches with secure tunneling techniques to all remote connections and online data transfers. It's an excellent combination to prevent hackers from exploiting stolen credentials.

There are several types of remote VPN, but the most recommended is the device-based VPN (also called VPN Client). As the name implies, your employees need to download and install an application to their devices (mobile or desktop). Some VPN Client works automatically in the background after installation, but some are designed with a front-end interface for manual configuration.

III. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is another layer of security you can add to strengthen your IT infrastructure. Its primary purpose is to protect all your company's sensitive data and critical systems from unauthorized users. It authenticates the user's identity by requiring them to present two or more credentials.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is the basic MFA method you can use. It requires the user to submit a password and present the code the system generated for them. Some modern 2FA also allows users to use a fingerprint swipe to authenticate their identity.

2FA Sample

If you prefer to authenticate the user's identity based on the context of their logins, then contextual authentication is your best option. It uses a combination of a password and a set of predefined security policies.

Once the user enters the password, the system will automatically assess their location (geographic and IP address) and time of day. If it matches your company's predefined security policies, the login is successful.

Best Practices #2: Use Cloud integration for a seamless remote work experience

Accessibility is one of the most significant perks of Cloud integration. It allows your remote employees to access your company's private data, public applications, and other centralized tools from any device and location. Of course, with the condition of having a stable internet connection.

The best part of it, everything is secured.

Cloud technology is consistently evolving to provide more safety measures. Most of them focus on the following solutions:

  • Data security
  • Data retention (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning
  • Governance (policies on threat detection, mitigation, and prevention)
  • Identity and access management (IAM)
  • Legal compliance

On top of that, it provides you with tons of safety options to further strengthen the protection of your cloud storage and resources. The most common options are setting up user permissions and access control.

Best Practices #3: Get the best software for remote workers

Modern technologies indeed revolutionized the way companies conduct their business. Now that every business is forced to embrace a remote work business model, technology plays a vital role in making everything work - from transitioning to improving employee productivity.

One effective method to improve employee productivity is getting the right business software and tools. All business software is function-centric. Therefore, no matter what type of job your employees do, it has the perfect solution for it.

Here is a few remote software you can get:

A. Project management and collaboration tools

Project management and collaboration tools are the top choices to streamline workflows and balance workloads for optimal time management. These tools allow your managers to create shared channels for each department and project for effective collaboration in real-time.

Shared Channels Sample

B. Conference management software

Companies may throw great events for various reasons but the outcomes are the same - impress the customers, employees and visitors to build long-term relationships. Everything is possible using conference management software.

Conference management software

Conference organizers can create a virtual or in-person event in a few simple clicks. Most software feature a dashboard that displays an overview of your whole conference, such as:

  • Attendee's management
  • Payment collection
  • Collected content
  • Video chats history

C. Design software for website creation

A website is the best platform you can use to broaden your customer. Complete it with outstanding web design, product photos, and great content for maximum engagement. You can use a web design software, also called a website builder, to create a responsive website.

Let's take the Sola Wood Flowers retail website, for example. Its website may have a simple design, but its product photos and content are on-point and highly relevant.

Sola Wood Flowers sample website

Since most people respond far better to visual content compared to plain text, it's a wise move to add more striking and relevant visuals. You can use photo editing software to get the right look for your photos.

Best Practices #4: Good communication in the remote workplace

The power of good communication in the workplace has been proven many times in securing both employee and organizational success. Unfortunately, remote working environments lessen employees' face-to-face interactions and overall communication. This is mainly because each employee has flexible work hours or lives in different time zones.

But there's nothing to worry about because you can reshape your workplace communication using online communication tools. Here are a few of your options:

1. Messaging applications

Messaging apps for business like Slack are perfect for remote teams who want a unified platform for sharing files, private and group messaging, and brainstorming. You can create channels to bring clarity and order to work.

2. Video conferencing software

Video conferencing software like Zoom and Skype is the recommended choice if you want to conduct a virtual meeting via video calls, record webinars, video/audio conferencing, and more. You can also create a virtual version of the water cooler environment that usually occurs in the traditional office space.

3. Social networking

Social media channels' chat messaging (single and group) are ideal for informal interactions between co-workers.

Best Practices #5: Build and maintain a sustainable remote work culture

Workplace culture is often perceived to define the company's identity (internal and external) and core values only. But the truth is, it's all about your business, employees, and customers' combined attitudes, behaviors, and values. In short, it's the heart and soul of your entire operation.

It's important to build and reinforce it from the start to enjoy its full benefits. In a remote work environment, culture improves employee retention.

With different working schedules, it becomes a challenge for remote employees to stay connected with their colleagues. As a result, they lose their sense of belonging, feel demotivated, and find it challenging to build trust.

Here's how you can build a sustainable remote work culture that surely boosts their (employees and leaders) morale and productivity:

i. Conduct regular check-ins

Actively talk and listen to your employees and leaders about their needs. When you talk, ensure to convey a friendly and calm tone to make them feel comfortable. Also, always give them plenty of time to raise questions to clarify any confusion.

And when you listen, make sure to take note of the facts and their feelings. This is an excellent method to foster trust and address concerns correctly.

ii. Promote transparency

Misunderstandings and confusion can lead employees to frustration and burnout. Ensure to provide complete transparency (company information, job responsibilities, and interactions) to improve collaboration.

iii. Address mental health issues

Not all business leaders understand the importance of mental health issues. But what they didn't know is that mental health is as important as physical health. Suffering from isolation, stress, or anxiety can negatively impact the employee's performance.

Coaching, assessment, appreciation, and celebrating milestones are just a few effective ways to care for your employees' well-being. You can also initiate virtual team building or physical activities like gym or yoga subscriptions.

Best Practices #6: Establish healthy boundaries for remote workers

It's true that doing work you love is rewarding and energizing. However, everyone has their limitations regarding brainpower, energy, and time. As business leaders, it's your responsibility to draw a clear line between work and personal life.

You can maintain a work-life balance by setting healthy boundaries. Here are a few ideas you can adapt:

a. Manage time effectively

Now that remote employees bring their workspace to their home's comfort, it becomes more difficult for them to unplug. The chances of working longer with fewer breaks are inevitable. Make sure to remind them only to perform their tasks and attend to work-related activities within their scheduled working hours and days.

Providing them with a time-tracking app is beneficial for staying on track with their time. A daily planner is also handy to determine the tasks they need to prioritize.

Avoid sending work requests on weekends too. Allow your team members to relax, do self-care, and enjoy a wonderful bonding moment with their loved ones.

b. Require a screen break

Constant exposure to the computer screen can strain your eyes. Require your team members to take regular screen breaks to give their eyes ample time to relax. You can teach the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.

If 20 minutes is way too long, you can advise them to take 5 to 10 minutes of screen break per hour.

c. Practice proper delegation

As a manager, it's your responsibility to distribute the workloads to your team members appropriately. You can properly assess their limits, skills, scope of duties, and working pace.

From a team member standpoint, you can review the assigned workloads and assess if the given timeline per task is reasonable. You can also check whether the managers provide all the instructions, training, and resources for you to complete the job.

If the managers assign workloads that are out of your job responsibility, you can assess whether you can complete them without compromising your primary job functions or not. If not, don't hesitate to say no and explain your reasons professionally and calmly.

d. Encourage to take time off

Too much work can negatively impact one's mental health. Ensure to encourage your team members and managers to take a vacation and release all the stress. Not only will this benefit your psychological and physical health, but also your creativity level.

Best Practices #7: Create an effective remote work policy

A remote work policy is a formal agreement detailing all the company's expectations and requirements to each employee. Business leaders can implement this policy temporarily or permanently, depending on your work business model (fully remote or hybrid). When creating one, ensure to establish a clear purpose to prevent confusion and misunderstanding.

One crucial information that must be included in the remote work policy is the job scope of responsibilities. It's a must to know what type of job and how many tasks the employee must complete every day. Also, set clear metrics on how managers will track and evaluate employees' productivity and performance.

One good example is a web developer that takes a project in creating a website for concrete fire pits. The remote work policy must clearly state whether the managers will gauge their productivity based on completed tasks or time logs.

Other information you can include is listed as follows:

  • Dress code
  • Technology support and equipment requirements (company provided or bring your own)
  • Security and privacy scope
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Grounds for rightful termination

Best Practices #8: Stay visible and active

Working at your home office has a fair share of disadvantages. Staying focused at work is one of the challenges, mainly because no one is watching you and checking your work. While it's okay to get distracted from time to time, you still have to constantly stay visible and active.

When you receive a message (emails, chats, and comments), you must respond to it quickly. A quick response always gives the sender a clear impression of your professionalism. It tells them that you're a responsive person who understands their requests and is always ready to act on them.

Best Practices #9: Hire the best talent

You can invest in the most advanced technology and build effective policies for your business. But without the right people to do the job, failure is inevitable. That's why hiring the best talent becomes one of the most critical remote work best practices to implement.

Many believe that hiring a remote employee is similar when hiring an office employee. The truth is that hiring managers need a different plan when hunting for the best remote talent. The plan primarily includes the personal traits of the applicants.

The best person to hire should possess the following qualities:

  • Can work independently anywhere (with minimal to no supervision at all)
  • Self-starter
  • Possess superior work ethic
  • Technically savvy
  • Skilled communicator
  • Collaborative

You can find the best talent on online job boards and social networking sites for professionals (LinkedIn, UpWork, and alike). If you don't have sufficient in-house manpower, outsourcing agencies is your go-to option.

There are different types of outsourcing services that you can consider for your business:

  • Professional outsourcing - Sourcing specialized, professional services like legal, accounting, and administrative functions
  • IT Outsourcing - Outsourcing software development and other information technology functions
  • Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) - Carrying out all operation-related functions like data encoding, customer service, and virtual assistance.
  • Process-specific outsourcing - Specializes in providing knowledge, legal, or recruitment process outsourcing (RPO)

Don't forget to clearly outline the remote obligations, expectations, and processes so the applicants will know what to expect.

Best Practices #10: Onboard remote workers for long term success

Assuming you successfully hired the best talent for the job, the next thing to do is appropriately onboard them. Onboarding is the method to prepare your recruits for their role. It usually starts with an orientation to get to know the company's policies and philosophies.

Other topics that will be discussed are any of the following:

  • Compensation and benefits packages
  • Contracts
  • Walkthrough on the company's system (private network)

Role-specific training is also provided to guarantee the new hires understand their responsibilities. For example, a sales representative for professional dress forms and sewing mannequins. You, as the manager, are responsible for providing training manuals and other product-related details so that they can sell the products to the right prospects while ensuring customer satisfaction to existing customers.

The next step is providing them their unique login access to the company's business tools (time tracker and other applications based on their roles).

Onboarding is also an excellent opportunity to establish strong connections between the new hires and their team and managers. You can set a team meeting to make a virtual introductory call.

Best Practices #11: It's OK not to get it right immediately

Working remotely or implementing a remote work business model for the first time is a big adjustment. Some can make it big immediately, but some may have difficulty adapting to the new environment.

If you're experiencing the latter, it's all right. The best thing you can do is brush up on your policies, processes, and requirements. Also, make crystal-clear remote work rules.

Don't forget to train your remote employees. With the right knowledge and skills, everyone is set for success. As for the business leaders and managers, you should hone your remote leadership skills to provide practical and moral support to their team members effectively.

Wrapping Up

Best practices for working remotely are methods that are proven to produce outstanding results. But of course, it isn't a one-size-fits-all type of solution. You are free to experiment and create your own remote work best practices and strategies.

If you have no idea where to start, you can focus on the most significant challenges your business' encounters when working remotely. You can also rely on the latest surveys from reputable statistics portals to learn what challenges other companies and employees face. An excellent example of it is Statista.

Statista Research: Struggles with working remotely from 2020 to 2022

Use all the information you have gathered to develop effective remote work strategies for your remote employees and managers (full-time and part-time). Don't forget to align them with your business goals to ensure a meaningful impact on your company.

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