Three myths about remote working on your startup
By the year 2016, the entire world is going to be digital. Nearly 2 billion people will have smartphones. Though 53 percent of emails today are opened on mobile devices, and most socialising is done on digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter, everyone is still against working from anything but standard brick-and-mortar offices.
We at sRide would rather sit and work from places of our own choice - it could be the beach, a serene café - or even our own beds, in our most comfortable clothes!
When I started off, a lot of people told me I should invest in an office space, and have full time employees. But I took a chance, and haven’t come across even one of the problems faced in managing remote teams that most businesses state so frequently.
Here are three things everybody hears about working remotely, and the truth behind them:
Myth 1: If you don’t see them everyday, you can’t ensure they are doing their job well.
Reality: Wrong, so wrong. If the people you hire require being monitored all day long, your hiring process needs revamping. Or maybe you need to rethink your way of management, as it isn’t always about watching over your team.
When you have a virtual workplace, you need get up-to-date with technology, and make use of software and applications that help you manage projects efficiently – like tracking developments on projects on a day-to-day basis, or weekly reports on the same.
What we use:
Whatsapp - For quick discussions and dropping ideas as they come to us, so that nothing gets missed. We have different groups for marketing, content, design, and so on, in place, to avoid any kind of confusion. In fact, occasionally, calls are done via Whatsapp.
Trello/Github - All our tasks, along with their expected delivery date, are put on separate lists - everyone knows what they need to do, and you can simply monitor how much work is done without barging into people’s privacy, or having midnight calls to discuss the same.
Google Docs - For anything that the team needs to contribute to, make amends to, or simply go through, we make use of Google Docs. They can be easily shared, and contribution becomes a lot easier than exchanging Word documents over email.
Myth 2: Your customers might not feel too comfortable associating themselves with an unplotted company
Reality: As long as you keep them happy, they don’t really care! With the advent of technology, there are barely any customers who actually walk up to showrooms to check how good your stuff is, or how “real” you are. The only challenge is finding creative ways to earn your prospective customers’ trust without a face-to-face meeting.
What we focus on:
Website - It is the face of your business, and you need to ensure that it reflects exactly what you are all about. It has to talk about your products and services, but ensure that it doesn’t sound all too sales-like either. After all, it’s all about the customers, isn’t it?
Blog - Even when we were just starting out, we updated this every now and then, be it a post about our product’s utility, or updates regarding what changes we planned to bring in in the coming months. Now, our blog is all about knowledge sharing. Posting plenty of content helps you establish credibility and authority in your field. You need to be really patient with it, though. It takes time.
Myth 3: You will never be able to talk to your team all at once (time zone issues and the like)
Reality: It entirely depends on your hiring. If you are someone who is comforted by having your employees close by, hire only those around you, or those who don’t live in a region with a vastly different time zone from yours.
How we work:
Sun time - Our team is spread across India, USA and Australia. If you think about it, it might seem difficult to coordinate people from three continents! But no; we have all agreed upon the sun time (noon-to-noon) for our occasional calls, and we try to keep these as brief as possible.
I feel that as long as you and your team are on the same page, and they are as motivated as you to make the product the next big thing, you’ll never stumble, not even once. These things definitely do put a lot of pressure on the person hiring employees. I can imagine what mine had to go through - but we are in a happy place now!
Image credit "GettyImages"