Shift Your Pod Business to Fully-Remote Mode with These 5 Simple Steps
The pandemic has accelerated the transition of most companies from everyday office life to fully remote work. Having the significant variation in business models and companies' processes, we’ve decided to create a guide with a detailed description of POD team management practices.
When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted lockdowns in March 2020, working from home seemed like a temporary phenomenon that shouldn't affect daily life. But expectations were not met, and people had to live in a new reality, where the option of hybrid or remote collaboration became the most optimal. After all, punishing commutes and open-floor plan offices are behind us, and for many entrepreneurs, it has become profitable not to rent space or pay for utilities. After two years, most of us are used to the routine of the work process: video conferencing, time tracking, new methods of calculating employee efficiency, communication channels, and even unique corporate culture. According to the survey, interest in the office routine disappeared, although a negative phenomenon - the boundaries between personal life and work tasks began to blur.
The changing needs of the workforce have been reflected in the print on demand business: initially, the model of such interaction resembled dropshipping; but today, entrepreneurs are increasingly inclined to diversify by expanding the team of specialists and exploring new markets. Young companies moving to remote work can beat staffing shortages by hiring globally. Numerous studies have confirmed the hypothesis that their performance is much higher because it eliminates interaction with distractions.
Read more about how to build reliable communication with a remote team using five simple steps in our print on demand blog.
Table of Contents
Remote business management tools and products
One of the most critical steps in managing and retaining remote staff is maintaining communication. Of course, this will require investment in collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack, Google Suite, or Microsoft Teams.
Organizational activities should not be neglected: it determines the long-term business outlook by implementing task management principles. POD product management involves simplifying several standard operating procedures by automating them. For example, there is PodZa software infrastructure on the market, including eCommerce and Shipping solutions, Payment integrations, and Prints storage. They should be implemented depending on the business's goals, but for the most part, they are convenient when conducting online commerce on sites like Shopify or Etsy. Suppose you decide to implement a cross-platform experience for your audience. In that case, you're likely to find it challenging to handle the flow of orders, checkout, shipping, and invoicing all by yourself. With platforms like PodZa, you can integrate channels and deliver all data in a convenient form. Thus, entrepreneurs do not need to hire additional staff, all while saving time and resources.
One of the best remote business ideas is also tracking reporting and building the efficiency and productivity of each employee on it. Making strategic adjustments to the team's work will prevent possible risks and help achieve success without compromising the quality of accomplished tasks. Although remote managing teams are not much different from traditional collaboration, we have compiled a list of essential tools for distributed team managers:
- Asana is a ticketing system that helps prioritize tasks, provide transparency, and better track your progress.
- Jira helps software developers, designers, and many other professionals invest in deadlines by scheduling sprints, assigning tasks, and prioritizing them.
- Connecteam makes it easy and efficient to manage workflows, communicate with employees, track tasks, etc.
- CharlieHR includes all phases of employee support in the workplace, from hiring to time off, sick leaves, and layoffs.
- Soldo helps control costs, profits, and reporting while giving teams the power to manage their finances.
- Hubstaff helps streamline the flow of business ideas from home and focuses on the most profitable ones from a business perspective. So any guesses will go away because the program analyzes who worked on what and when.
One of the advantages of working remotely is that the flexible schedule can sometimes be a painful aspect that reduces the quality of teamwork. Read more about this below.
While working remotely from home, teams can sometimes neglect project deadlines, lose responsibility for not completing tasks on time or fail to monitor network connectivity, which negatively impacts productivity and quality. In addition to a trusting relationship, it's essential to establish a routine. Think of developing standard operating procedures that must be followed. For example, at the beginning of the workday, you can hold a video conference with your colleagues to determine the tasks for the day, prioritize them, and discuss plans and possible risks. The end of the workweek should end with a report on the work done, which will help define the tasks for the near future and help make adjustments in time. Here are common reasons to hold meetings with team members:
- Sharing critical information (e.g., quarterly or annual meetings).
- Collective exploration of options to make vital decisions.
- Get an idea of the project stage.
- Developing new home-based business ideas through brainstorming.
- The solution to specific problems.
- Encourage open communication by asking for feedback.
If you have started working with large multinational teams, the time difference and the culture of communication may become hinder for successful online sales. Avoid this by setting a convenient meeting schedule for all team members - only then will the work be much more effective and motivating.
Keeping employees engaged and motivated is critical for a business that uses a remote office. One of the latest techniques to maintain team spirit is the principle of gamification: adding game mechanics into nongame environments. Implementing these strategies can help companies and employees adapt to rapid changes in the job market, tools, teams, etc.
Create a strong corporate culture
Act like you play the game:
- Reward your employees.
- Create values unique to your company.
- Teach team members how to help each other in difficult situations.
- Encourage innovation.
To effectively work remotely, implement the practice of using unique gamification platforms. For example:
Improve communication between employees
Constant and transparent communication is the key to developing a sense of connection. You can focus on micro-tasks, additional meetings or presentations, and knowledge transfer. In this case, your employees will be heard, which eliminates spontaneous and ill-considered decisions.
Developing friendly competition and interaction
Rewards, bonuses, gift cards, and more are often an incentive to improve results and motivate effective action. This method also helps to revitalize employee engagement and make them more engaged in the work process.
Today, remote business jobs have come to be perceived more broadly than conventional project work. As the entire world was in crisis for two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic, valuable and reliable human resources were worth their weight in gold. This forces entrepreneurs to bring to the masses new values of corporate culture, where responsibility and transparency have become a creed of such teams.
Tracking remote team KPIs is the best way to quantify the quality of work done and employees' productivity. This method benefits everyone and helps teams not miss new goals and adapt to change. In other words, you measure progress through several vital indicators, which we'll look at next.
BSC Designer proposes to measure self-discipline, effective communication, and learning skills to analyze how successful an employee is in meeting specific requirements of remote job companies.
To measure the first KPI, self-discipline, pay attention to how thoroughly tasks are performed. To do this, request specific standard procedures when performing a routine action. For example, if you're being emailed work results, set a deadline, particular rules for filling out the subject line, and add specific details at the end. Depending on your success in completing the assigned tasks, rate your score on a 100-point scale.
The second criterion can be checked by setting a specific task before the performer, giving about 2-3 days to its implementation. Track the result on a scale of 1 to 4, where:
- 1 is the expected quality of completion;
- 2 - there are several bugs, but overall good work;
- 3 - the task is not completed on time, but the employee feels responsible by letting you know the reason;
- 4 - the job is not completed, and feedback is also missing.
The task of business from home is to train beginners. It's pretty tricky, especially considering the speed of change in the flow of cases, news, market stocks, and other things. So ask a few additional questions that are sure to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. That way, you can build a learning curve and gradually increase your productivity.
More severe practices distinguish work from home business management: they include calculating the profitability of a single employee. To find out how good your team is, divide the total profit minus taxes by the number of employees. The higher this indicator, the more advanced the corporate culture, the efficiency and productivity of people, and the innovation of technology. Otherwise, you have to invest in these areas to achieve more. By the same scheme, you can find out the income per employee, emphasizing the labor cost of the business created.
Note the good average time to complete a task. To do this, divide the total time spent on the job by the number of times performed. For example, if you want to understand how effective your designer is, track the time it takes to create a layout and divide it by the number of designs completed within a certain period.
Sales KPIs and Performance Metrics for Your POD Business Communication channels
As work-from-home companies evolve, it's critical to maintain communication among team members. Certainly, COVID-19 helped break down cultural and technological barriers quickly while launching a new form of communication through video conferencing and instant messaging. We have previously written about the most popular communication apps. Take them into consideration, but don't forget about messaging fatigue. In the office, this problem is easy to eliminate by disappearing a colleague or using a new format of communication in the realities of the digital world. In that case, it is much more challenging to do. Therefore, you should develop the principles of corporate culture, for example, to eliminate the exchange of messages at the end of the day.
To set up a remote business network, you should use several programs that facilitate correspondence and file sharing and enhance call and video conferencing capabilities. Use the following integrations to make your colleagues' work as efficient as possible.
You can't do without imaging tools In the print on demand business. This app allows you to use drawing tools, sound alerts, and automatic transcripts for notes. The cherry on the cake is the unique call transcription feature.
Manage your projects more productively with Basecamp. This software is best suited for large teams.
Simple video conferencing from a smartphone will be valuable to any business process where speed is essential. The intuitive interface allows you to quickly call and discuss the vital details and get to work immediately.
This tool gives users a unique virtual space experience with private boards, games, shared documents, and video chat.
These tools are ideal for remote teams and allow you to narrow the digital space down to the size of a typical office room or conference room.
Most people intuitively understand the benefits of the corporate culture. But sometimes, this seems like a completely pointless approach to building relationships with employees working remotely. Nevertheless, a system of shared values, social practices, or common goals can carry a magical redefinition of teamwork: a sense of connection can last a long time and grow into a deep friendship that unequivocally counteracts loneliness and isolation. Here are a few more reasons why you should think about developing a corporate culture.
- Improvement of the company's profitability and success rate
The hybrid or remote business office is already the new norm. But to meet the challenges inherent in this style of interaction and keep the team's performance at the appropriate level, entrepreneurs will have to work hard. It is essential to follow a regimen that will help balance work time and personal life. Introduce the practice of ending the day collectively, thanking people for their work, and having friendly competitions and rewards.
- Building long-term relationships
For any online business, it is essential to have a pool of employees who will not betray and become a reliable rear. So to strengthen and establish an emotional connection, switch to video calls, and implement your unique vocabulary as well as the culture of communication. Teach your team how to use this vocabulary to discuss important issues. Try to trust people more and delegate tasks - you know that watching over people's shoulders will eventually become annoying.
- Attracting experts and retaining old employees
Morale and high levels of engagement are crucial to attracting the best talent and reducing turnover. One good rule of thumb for maintaining a team is the motivation to earn more and grow.
While creating a solid corporate culture in a remote environment may seem daunting, some techniques can help you remember what is essential. Adopt the practices described above to improve employee interaction among themselves and with the brand.
This article is a short guide on how to set up a remote business by applying practices related to high-performance software, scheduling, video meetings, calculating KPIs, and building a solid corporate culture. These will be triggers for improving collaboration between colleagues, building a solid team, and increasing productivity.