Although some companies are returning to in-office work, many organizations are opting to permanently implement a remote or hybrid work model. While remote work can improve a company’s financial situation through savings on office space, increased employee productivity and other benefits, businesses have to make sure they carefully review their policies and procedures and update them as needed to ensure their finances are protected.
To help businesses navigate the shift to remote or hybrid work arrangements in a financially healthy way, 14 members of Forbes Finance Council shared steps companies should take to protect their overall financial picture when transitioning to full- or part-time remote work.
1. Evaluate Your Leasing Options
Are you nearing the end of a lease that you can renegotiate to get a better rate or a better suite for your current rate? This will allow you to potentially cut costs while utilizing the resources you have and increasing your options for the future. – Kelly Shores, GCubed, Inc.
2. Consider Flexible Shared Workspaces
This is a great opportunity for companies to take advantage of the remote work culture and eliminate or reduce office overhead expenses. By using flexible shared workspaces, companies will have a meaningful physical presence if desired while cost-sharing some administrative tasks with other companies. Such strategies will surely contribute to a better overall financial picture. – Reza Ghazi, GreenFlow Financial
3. Consider Hiring In Low-Cost Areas
Remote work opens you up to hiring in lower-cost areas. Look for states where you can get high-quality talent for lower wages as well as less onerous compliance. Some states are more employer-friendly than others. Do your research from both a compliance side and a talent/cost side, then adjust your recruiting accordingly – Aaron Spool, Eventus Advisory Group, LLC
4. Leverage Remote Management Technology
Any company promoting or shifting to remote work would greatly benefit from a proper management system or technology that enables remote management, team building, task tracking and so on. Overseeing remote work could turn into something like herding cats if a proper management and reporting system isn’t deployed and expectations are not properly set with those team members who are working remotely. Avoid turnover by being engaged daily. – Anthony Holder, C&H Financial Services, Inc.
5. Secure Your Data
Adopt safe protocols to protect your data and communications from hackers. Cybercriminals can ruin your reputation, cause customers to flee and cause revenue to decline as your expenses to remedy go up. Many small and mid-sized businesses never fully recover from cyberattacks and have to close their doors. Businesses should take steps to protect their data and communications (including email). It’s a worthwhile investment. – David Kelley, Mailprotector
6. Protect Confidential Information
You’ve got to forecast where the business will be in a few years. If a remote workforce isn’t properly managed, it can lead to infrastructure issues, causing you to quickly outgrow your current location. Likewise, you need to have parameters in place to ensure your confidential information is secure. This could be as simple as requiring the use of earbuds or headphones during certain tasks. – Justin Goodbread, Heritage Investors
7. Establish KPIs For Each Role
Trust and accountability are key. Switching to a remote work model should not be too much of a concern if you trust your team. You do need to have KPIs in place for each role so that you can monitor each team member—this is true for both in-office and remote work. – Robert Patin, Patin & Associates
8. Keep Track Of Weekly Metrics
Create reportable and transparent weekly metrics for every employee. When working from home, it can be easier to get “lost in the crowd” and go unnoticed. Over time, a lack of efficiency and accomplishments can hurt the team and the company overall. When transparent metrics are put in front of your employees weekly, they and you know the goals and if you are on track. – Marjorie Adams, Fourlane
9. Measure Deliverables
It’s apparent that remote work isn’t going anywhere. The focus has shifted to employee retention and decreasing overhead. To ensure that productivity remains high, management has to become more involved than ever. Set up measured deliverables—creating an Integrated Master Schedule can be a powerful tool in this regard. Weekly check-ins with your team are also essential. – Natasha Velez, H2 IT Solutions, Inc.
10. Track Profitability
If you’re not doing so already, start tracking the profitability of your projects, products or services (depending on what you offer). This one move will help you identify any performance issues and direct you to areas you should focus on, separating the good from the bad in all aspects. There is customizable software available for this—it can even be a really simple database—and it’s worthwhile. – Snezana Obradovic, Outsource Insurance Professionals
11. Provide Needed Information And Support
Allowing remote work is showing your employees that you trust them to get their work done. Most people should respond with hard work and an increase in productivity. Managers need to communicate well and support their teams—there is technology available today to help support remote work. As a bonus, you can realize savings in utility and rent expenses with the reduced need to staff a full company. – Dave Sackett, Visibility Corporation
12. Invest Realized Savings Into Your Workforce
The reduced overhead costs from implementing remote work arrangements may provide an initial improvement to your company’s financial picture, but investing a portion of those savings into your remote workers will help you protect a strong financial picture. Employees who already know your operations, don’t need training, know your company culture and have already sacrificed are the essence of a company’s strength. – Faith Teope, Leverage Retirement
13. Provide Tangible Motivation And Rewards
Companies should make sure they take care of their employees as much as possible. Benefits, time off, morale and culture are all important to ensure that when employees are working remotely, they are happy. Keep them motivated with company outings, and reward them for hitting milestones or goals. They will work that much harder for you to secure the success of your company. – Jose Rodriguez, Got Credit?
14. Ensure A Good Work-Life Balance For Your Team
Work-from-home and hybrid options provide a better work-life balance for your team, thereby increasing engagement. This increased engagement improves your company’s overall financial picture. According to Gallup’s 2020 Employee Engagement and Performance Study, companies with an engaged team realize 14% higher productivity, 23% higher profitability and 18% higher sales. – Sarah Hanna, ECS North