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Tips for implementing a remote work policy

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A virtual team can be as small as two people, or it may be a large, dispersed organization scattered across multiple time zones and countries. Virtual teams can be temporary in nature, lasting only as long as the project at hand, or they can be resilient, lasting for years and evolving with the growth of the mission or the business. If you are organizing a virtual team for your employer, you will need to establish a remote work policy. This blog post has some tips for getting started.

Shifting from an office-based team to a virtual one or starting a virtual team from scratch requires different ways of working together. It also requires a new mindset for all involved — and support from management to create or sustain a culture that keeps all workers engaged.

Practically speaking, getting your company to move from the antiquated in-office setting to the 21st century virtual workspace isn’t as easy as just sending everyone home. Here are a few tools to help:

Rideshare offers a telework guide (PDF) with handy cost/analysis forms, sample policies and agreements, and forms to evaluate a remote work location, supervise a teleworker, and more. Similarly, the United States Department of Labor offers a “Workplace Flexibility Toolkit” full of resources for employers and employees.

Other resources mentioned here, with an insider view of managing dispersed teams and creating a workplace culture: Buffer’s Open blog and Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried.

For additional information, check out Chapter 3 of my book, which covers the socio-cultural issues of working in a virtual team. In addition, the introduction of The Successful Virtual Office In 30 Minutes contains a chart that shows some of the potential cost savings for employees, depending on how many days they work remotely as well as the typical length of their commutes.

Want to start and run your own side business?

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Do you need ideas for your own side business? This short blog post lists some starting points for people interested in starting their own companies. While starting a side business comes with additional costs and risks, there are many potential rewards — ranging from the freedom to set your own priorities to generating real revenue.

The Simple Dollar lists 50 side businesses you can start on your own, from antique refurbishment to writing/editing. Similarly, the $100 Startup offers resources to help you become your own boss and start a business (whether it’s a consultancy or other service or product) on your own for less than, you guessed it, a Benjamin.

Many of the apps highlighted in the Top Tech Tools chapter of my book are appropriate for sole proprietors and small startups, but some additional ones you might consider include:

  • Mobile payments: Venmo is free to send and receive money
  • Invoicing: Freshbooks is the leader here, but Zoho might be better for sole proprietors, with unlimited free invoices for up to 5 clients)
  • Expense tracking: Expensify creates “expense reports that don’t suck”
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Insightly is free for up to 2,500 records.

As for where to start your side business, that really depends on the type of business. However, for many new entrepreneurs, the new company will be managed from their homes. In Chapter 1 of my book, I discuss the many possibilities for home offices.

If you don’t have a dedicated room for an office, a desk or any flat surface might work too. If the room gets a lot of household traffic, you might want to consider getting a cabinet desk or armoire, one that’s designed to be closed up to hide your equipment and desk clutter so you’re not constantly staring at it. Or you could physically separate your workspace from the rest of the room in other ways, such as using a bookcase as a divider or even a tall plant as a screen.

Look around for unused areas in your home that could be transformed into an office. Some people convert closets into compact yet efficient workspaces, set up their workspaces in hallways, or even tuck their desks in the area under the stairs!

Office under staircase - licensed from Shutterstock

Get an email notification when the book is released

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