Many businesses have made the decision to sell their office space and go fully remote indefinitely. What began as a short-term solution at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned into a viable, cost-effective solution for many businesses across industries.

Transitioning to a fully remote work model can bring many benefits for your business and your employees. With these five tips, you’ll be set up for a smooth, effective transition.

Best Practices for Becoming a Fully Remote Company

Even though most companies already communicate via email or instant messaging, are equipped with the latest technology, and work across global offices, many are not prepared to go fully remote.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that, although not all businesses are prepared for remote work, their employees can easily work from home if needed. Luckily, there are a few best practices to keep in mind as you make this transition to distance work even more successful.

Tip 1: Give it a Trial Run

If you don’t feel ready to fully commit to remote work, you may want to give it a trial run. Discuss the permanent work-from-home option with your team. Choose a suitable timeline, such as a month or a quarter. Then, commit to working off-site for that entire period. Ask your employees to document their experiences, and to provide you with feedback on set dates. This will give everyone a chance to observe any roadblocks or challenges that come up. These issues can then be addressed and solved, if possible before you officially close the office.

Tip 2: Prepare

Make the transition easier for everyone by preparing for this change in advance. It’s a good idea to write down the rules and processes that make up your business, so you have a clear understanding of how your company works. This will make it easier to convey policies and procedures to your employees. By knowing what is expected of them, your team can work in a self-directed manner while at home, instead of waiting around for instructions. As a result, you can offer your team more freedom as you trust them to do the work required without being managed.

Tip 3: Use Technology

This might seem obvious, but when companies first go remote, they often forget to use all the technology available to them. Make sure your employees check their emails daily, and are also available on the company Slack channel or another group messaging service. Also, default to video when it comes to meetings, whether a one-on-one meeting or group conference call. Using Zoom during meetings allows for a better connection with employees and helps avoid miscommunication. You can also experiment with co-working practices such as using shared documents on Google Drive or scheduling Zoom “office days,” during which colleagues can work together virtually, but from home.

Tip 4: Allow Employees to Return

No, not to work in the office again. But to collect their things and say goodbye. Going fully remote is an adjustment for everyone in the company. Arrange a day for all your employees to collect any personal items, pick up materials or equipment they’ll require at home, and to say goodbye to their colleagues. You may see each other on Zoom each day but it just isn’t the same if you’re used to in-person gatherings.

Tip 5: Sell, Donate & Store

Once you’ve made the decision to offer permanent work-from-home options for your employees, you’ll likely need to downscale your office materials. For a cost-effective solution, you could sell office furniture, equipment, and supplies that you no longer need. Another option is to donate these items to a local charity or business in need.

However, if you’re planning on doing a trial run before going fully remote, you may not want to get rid of all these items permanently. In that case, consider investing in a temporary self-storage solution. This will allow you to retain your office possessions until they can be sold or donated, once you’ve made remote work permanent.

There are plenty of benefits to shifting your business out of the office. Distance work gained popularity during the pandemic and shows no signs of changing. The above tips can help you and your team, as you make the move from in person, at the office, to fully remote.

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Daniella Schoeman