Working remotely is a trend not only among workers but also among small businesses who build teams that are exclusively remote. But is a fully or partially remote model worth considering for your small business?
We asked Jim Secord, CEO of Kashoo, which is a remote company, for his experience and advice, and in his opinion, it is definitely something to consider. Watch the video and then read below.
One of the biggest challenges any small business faces is people—how do you build a world-class team and get the best of the best? One of the best ways to do that is to allow people to live wherever they want. This means you can recruit worldwide instead of just in your city.
There are of course some things to consider when you’re looking at hiring people who would work for you remotely. You need people who are comfortable being part of a remote team, who are self-motivated, are good communicators, and are good technologists. That way they can troubleshoot things on their own and feel comfortable working with the cloud and collaborating that way.
And the cloud is critical to remote collaboration, and for Kashoo, it’s the number one thing that enables their success. Kashoo uses HipChat so everyone is connected 24/7, but there are other great tools like Slack or Skype. These tools enable water cooler style conversations, so you can virtually tap someone on the shoulder and ask a question. You also know where everyone is at all times because you see them on your screen.
At Kashoo, they’ve found that people on their team are great about letting people know if they need to run out to pick up their kid from school or go to the gym or run an errand.
The flipside of this means you need to rethink the definition of the workday and be comfortable with it because it’s no longer a 9-to-5 thing. At Kashoo, a lot of productive conversations happen at 9 p.m. or 6 a.m. This also means that people are allowed to be creative at the times of day their creativity peaks.
In terms of managing a remote team, trust is the number one factor. After that, training is very important, as at Kashoo they’ve found that in terms of hiring successful people, you want a high degree of competency and, a lot of times, seniority. If you hire junior people that need a lot of training or onboarding, it can be a big challenge. At Kashoo, they have fewer people, but they’re more senior (and therefore paid more). They find it pays off more in the long run.
Technology is a driving factor in creating the remote workforce, and since having adequate technology is important for remote teams, Kashoo decided that rather than issue identical corporate computers, they would allot each employee $1,500 to buy whatever computer to want that is theirs to keep—that way they don’t have to deal with a home computer and a corporate computer. They keep the computer even if they leave Kashoo. Employees also get $1,000 every year to upgrade their computer or get a new smartphone or tablet to make sure they stay current and have the gear they need to work remotely. This may not be something immediately in every small business’s budget, but it’s an excellent policy to strive for.