By Dwain Duxson - Farm Tender & DelayPay
I set out working on an online business concept back in 2008, and after about a year in an office, I decided that it was time to work from home. That business, Farm Tender went live in 2010.
Working from home is something that requires a certain level of self-discipline. You have to work out when to start and finish, do I confine myself or meander around the house or back yard.
But after time, you develop a routine that works for you.
As I grew the business and started employing others, it was just a given that they would also work from home. Not having to uproot people to a central location or office allowed me to select the best people possible.
The team has now grown, and we have a dozen people spread around the country, all based in rural areas working from the confines of their home.
I'm sure they get cabin fever from time to time, but they all say that they wouldn't have it any other way.
In a team situation, communication and rules are the keys.
Tips for managing staff working remotely:
- Start with your communication - Set up a group and individual chats through Skype or Slack
- Set some rules
- Do daily numbers with a wide range of individual and group KPI's; everyone knows what's going on then
- Keep everything in the cloud; we use things like Skype, Capsule CRM, Xero, Google Drive, etc
- Have one group meeting per week, with an agenda and alternate who runs the meeting. Give all your staff a go
- Make everyone say good morning to the group feed when they log on
- Allow time for staff to drop kids at school, attend various appointments, etc
- Family and Health are non-negotiables, if someone needs to act then we don't ask any questions
- If a staff member has to duck out for half an hour, they say "heading out for 30, be on phone," and upon return, say "back."
- Make the language you use through your communications channels respectful, or other words "be nice."
- Get the guys to have some fun, get the banter going (but be respectful)
- No need for people to say goodbye at the end of the day, let them drift off
What I do when I work from home:
- I like to have an office where you can close the door
- I need to be comfortable and have plenty of light and maybe a view
- I need an extra screen or two
- Apple ear pods for phone calls
- Early days I would dress in my uniform during the working hours
- If you are on the phone alot, make sure there is no background noise
- Eat lunch away from your desk
- I like to keep it pretty simple