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Working from the beachThe opportunity of being able to fit travel in to their schedules or be away from their business for an extended amount of time often seems like an impossible dream especially if you belong to industries such as hospitality, or if you’re a small business owner and your business relies on you being there physically for it to run properly.

More and more technology is available these days aimed at eliminating the boundaries of timing and location and allowing greater freedom to work from wherever and whenever you choose to. Therefore working remotely (or telework) is becoming a luxury that more and more people have the opportunity to do.

We often hear from small business owners who have successfully implemented digital work or telework as part of their business and they claim that one of the major wins of the online revolution is that you now have the capability to coordinate complicated tasks and manage your business from anywhere in the world.

The benefits of working remotely are clear and range from the reduced costs of running and maintaining an office, the opportunity to monitor all aspects of your business whilst juggling other commitments or being away, all the way to the mental health benefits of reducing stress and anxiety which can be associated with working long hours and not having enough time to spend with family and friends.

Whilst working remotely offers a wide range of benefits, it is important to make sure that it suits your business model.

Some questions you should ask yourself before jumping into telework include:

  • Is my role suited for working remotely? Not all roles are suitable for working remotely and it is important to ensure that the quality of your work and service to your customers is not compromised due to you not being physically present.
  • Will working remotely provide enough return on investment? Whilst the benefits of having a flexible schedule as well as having the comfort and convenience of working from any location are hard to look past, it is definitely worthwhile measuring the financial outcomes of working remotely.
  • Have I taken the correct measures to protect my and my client’s data security and privacy? All business owners must constantly and actively take the appropriate actions to protect their own and their client’s data security and privacy. For a comprehensive list of safety precautions you need to undertake, be sure to check out our Telework Privacy and Security checklist.

Once you’ve measured all the risks and benefits associated with working remotely and have found that it suits your business, your next step is to make the transition in to working remotely. We’ve put together a list of tools that will make your transition smoother and easier:

Digital Phone Apps

Apps like Skype and Viber are your best friend when travelling overseas or in other states of Australia. Assuming you have access to WIFI, with a little preparation you will be able to chat with anyone from anywhere in the world via SMS, voice chat or even video chat. You can even connect with multiple users at the same time to have real-time, videoconferences that are almost as good as being there in person. Just make sure you have a solid Wifi connection and you are good to go.

Both Skype and Viber are 100% free assuming you are communicating to another person using the same software. If you would like to call/SMS a landline or mobile phone these can be achieved at a reasonable cost.

Email

This one might seem obvious but it definitely should be noted. If you are overseas you might not always have access to Wifi; this is where emails, which need only low speed connections such as provided by mobile broadband, become invaluable. You can communicate a large amount of information and keep on top of a lot of things simply through using your email. There are many benefits of using email as part of your teleworking strategy which you should consider when putting together a strategy for email use. However, this resource is limited however and can get confusing if you are balancing a lot of different tasks. This is where online project management software can become useful.

Project Management Software

If there is a lot going on within your business/organization and you need to coordinate and keep track of many different people then perhaps you need a service such as Podio, Unison or Glip. These kinds of software allow you to invite multiple people to communicate and coordinate tasks using an online platform. Users are able to post questions, list tasks and register their progress in an online space so that you and everyone in your organisation knows the status of various tasks and processes. These kinds of software are generally free for a limited number of people and are charged once this threshold is reached.

If you need to be a little bit more hands on and access the computers at your place of business, remote desktop products are readily available.

Remote Desktop

If you really need to get technical and hands-on with the computers back home, products like TeamViewer and Ammyy will be perfect for you. Using these amazingly simple pieces of software, you can access and use computers anywhere in the world as if you were there. Simply install the program on both computers and with a little bit of tweaking you should be ready to go in no time.

This comes with obvious security concerns, so be careful whenever you use remote software.

We hope that your transition in to working remotely is seamless and painless and you find good use in the information we’ve provided. If you have any questions or need any further guidance, we at Digital Ready have put together a comprehensive and detailed course on all you need to consider when thinking about working remotely as an option for your business.

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We would like to thank Alsco for featuring this blog article on their website. Visit Alsco's Greenroom Blog for more small business tips and offers. Greenroom aims to help you make create a safer, healthier and greener workplace.