Last year’s outbreak of COVID-19 made a very profound impact on the contemporary business landscape. One of the most significant transitions we have seen was the rise of virtual teams and the massive switch to work from home.
How big of a portion? According to a recent survey, 80% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely, while 47% will enable employees to work from home full-time. This can be best described as tectonic changes.
Of course, all significant overhauls that envelop this scale must include various challenges, obstacles, and adversities. In this article, we will cover some of the most notorious problems and try to find practical solutions for dealing with them.
When they are at the workplace, employees are working with an infrastructure that’s already been laid out and can get support from other departments. Moving workers out of this controlled environment to their homes leaves them with their own resources. Lack of necessary tools, varying software versions, and different software platforms are only some of the problems that undermine effective collaboration and productivity. One of the most straightforward workarounds for this obstacle can be found in platform-agnostic cloud tools, where updates are passed to all end users simultaneously. Most of these platforms usually feature built-in collaborative tools, making them even more suitable for virtual teams.
In a physical workplace, communication develops very spontaneously, and answers can be found through chatter and brainstorming as much as established communication hierarchy. In the virtual environment, however, a lack of clear and transparent hierarchy often creates clutter where critical information is often indiscernible from jabber. In order to avoid this problem, you need to establish firm rules about what needs to be reported to whom, when, and through what channels. This way, your workers will always know where to get relevant info without unnecessary delays and idling. In turn, all of your processes will be sped up and run more efficiently.
Poor worker engagement
These are two factors that take the hardest hit by relocating workers from offices to their homes. Without any motivational tools and supervision of their superiors, your employees can slip into idling and start losing productivity. This is an issue that needs to be cut in its roots. Fortunately enough, the gravity of this problem gave birth to tools for employee engagement explicitly designed to address problems related to virtual teams like check-ins, notices, scheduling, rosters, administration, and onboarding. Most essential processes are kept under one integrated umbrella and employee voices are allowed to be heard. Both these factors have a very positive impact on morale.
Response time and accountability
The problem of accountability is not related exclusively to virtual teams and remote working. But some mistakes are easier to trace in the digital environment, and unread emails, unopened messages, and other invisible walls make coming to the bottom of the problem even harder. Although this issue can’t ever be rooted out, you can, at least, do your best to cut down the response times as much as possible. Enforce the rules where priority emails will need to be responded to without any delays. Also, you can set up separate communication channels only for problems of this sort.
Lack of trust in leadership
In normal circumstances, inspired leadership keeps the workforce high-spirited, motivated, and on track with current obligations. Translating this sort of leadership into a virtual environment is very hard even if management and staff have a personal or professional history, as in numerous contemporary startups. Since you will undoubtedly lack this inspiring personal touch, you should try to bind the workers closer to the goals of your company, perform internal marketing actions that will promote your mission statement among the staff, and motivate workers to take action in building the company future by incentives and chances for promotion.
Of course, failing motivation is not only the result of absent leadership. Remote working simply doesn’t provide a sufficiently stimulating environment to help your employees reach their maximum potential. That is why you need to find another way to keep them stimulated. Do your best then to provide them with to-do lists for every new workday or at least ask them to submit their own. Short, specific, and feasible goals will help your employees plow through their obligations much faster. Offering small incentives like, for instance, leaving the workplace earlier if the tasks are finished will undoubtedly give them an additional reason to stop procrastinating and tackle their obligations head-on.
Absence of support
Last but not least, we have to mention the lack of support employees get when they are working from home. In the previous section, we have noted that most of the software issues can be prevented by adopting the Cloud technology where maintenance and updates are the responsibility of the service provider. Even so, you should do your best to build a comprehensive knowledge base where your staff will be able to find all the answers regarding technical issues and procedures without having to lose time by referring to higher-ups.
We hope these few examples gave you some general idea about the challenges startups are facing while building virtual teams and transitioning to a remote working model. Although telecommuting got a great boost with the outbreak of COVID-19, this model gained traction much earlier and will not stop developing even after the outbreak is over. With things as they are, the best we can do is to join the early adopters and make the transition as painless as possible.
How Can Your Business Benefit From The Services of a Recruitment Agency
Recruiting new talent within a business organization can be expensive and time-consuming. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that new employees’ recruitment rarely offers a guarantee while the process uses up significant company resources. Employees are a crucial asset for any business. If you are a business owner, your employees serve as the driving force for pushing your business forward while boosting sales revenue. With that said, the HR department of any business might be stuck with the tricky task of ensuring that they hire the right kind of well-suited individuals for the job and can become a proactive part of the business culture.
Typically, businesses compete with one another to get the most skilled and experienced staff on board. Employers require the support of specialists who excel in hiring strategies while identifying talent and negotiating terms. This is where businesses find recruitment agencies most useful as these (recruitment agencies) relieve enormous pressure while helping businesses to find the right people for moving forward. Read on to learn more about how your business can benefit from the services of a top recruitment agency.
Identifying Top Talent
The greatest benefit of recruitment agencies is that they assist both parties: the employers who are on the search-out for talent and the professionals looking for the best career options to utilize their capabilities. Both parties are perfectly placed within the recruitment agency, which operates as an intermediary between both mentioned parties. The consultants working at the agency are well-familiar with how to prevent bad hiring and know how to identify valuable candidates for the required positions.
After you, as a business owner, create a vacancy and establish the task criteria, the recruitment agencies initiate finding suitable candidates to fill those vacancies. The recruitment agencies have ample knowledge of people’s salary expectations and use their strong networks to identify those individuals. The extensive knowledge of recruitment agencies about the job market’s separate segments proves a great benefit to hiring organizations.
Effective Advertisement of Vacancies
Sometimes when business employers advertise roles, they fail to get applications that meet the required caliber. Often, such an incident occurs due to a bad advertising strategy. Another benefit of getting a recruitment agency’s services is that it won’t merely advertise the vacancy for your company. Still, it will also actively seek professionals that are the perfect fit for the job description. Often, recruitment agencies establish and maintain direct contact with professional candidates they know well from the past. Thus, the recruitment agency directly seeks out professionals and invites them to apply for the role.
Interviewing Candidates & Negotiating Salaries
As mentioned before, the hiring process of talent is time-consuming and costly. And as an employer, the last thing you want to do is finding out that you and the potential candidates are poles apart on job benefits and salary. A recruitment agency can help you in effective salary negotiations while providing you with valuable assets. Many top recruitment agencies take up the cudgels of placing skilled candidates and settling salaries on your (the company’s) behalf. By meeting a middle point on behalf of both parties (employer and the candidate), a recruitment agency proposes an acceptable salary package, providing a realistic prospect of having the deal sealed.
Also, by interviewing on behalf of the employer, recruitment agencies save valuable time and money. The initial step of candidate-screening usually takes place over the phone. Subsequently, the list of potential candidates is narrowed while the skilled talent is shortlisted while unsuitable matches are eliminated from the hiring process. The recruitment agencies also conduct background checking so that your organizations’ HR department doesn’t have to do that.
How a Bad Website’s UX Can Affect Your Business
Web designers often emphasize the importance of a well-functioning website. In today’s world, a business website is a powerful tool and is often a vital component of a successful business venture.
According to UX statistics, just one second of slow loading can lead to a 27% drop in sales. Despite this, web design and UX is often overlooked by business owners.
So how can a poor website’s UX affect your business? Let’s see.
Effects of Poor User Experience
Website abandonment is a term used to describe a visitor leaving a website before completing the desired action. According to statistics, 52% of users list bad UX as a reason why they wouldn’t consider engaging with a company again. This could be due to poor design, slow page load time, or any other factor that drives away a website visitor prematurely. Poor UX is one of the easiest ways to increase website abandonment and reduce sales rates.
Bad UX Affects Your Brand Image
Bad user experience does a lot more damage than one might think. It can significantly affect how your brand is perceived. It’s a representation of your brand, and while your website design doesn’t always reflect your business’s core values, it sends a message to consumers. Think of your website as something that has to leave a good impression. And you know what they say, you never get the second chance to make a good first impression.
Search Engine Visibility
Google is the world’s number one search engine. It’s important to note that it favors websites with good UX. What does that mean for your businesses? If Google doesn’t like your website, it can’t rank high in SERPs, which means that fewer people will see your website. That further leads to fewer customers. To Google, an excellent UX is equally significant as the content quality. Google strives to ensure that users have the best UX available and issues such as performance, mobile-friendliness, or page speed, factor in search engine rankings, making the improvement of a website’s UX a primary requirement.
What Do the Stats Say?
1. According to statistics, companies lose $62 billion annually due to bad UX ($2 billion due to slow page load time alone);
2. 13% of users will tell 15 other people about their negative experience;
3. UX optimization increases revenue by as much as 37%;
4. Around 94% of website users will make a judgment based on the website’s responsiveness within a short time span.
5. 61% of customers will go to another site (most likely to your competitor’s site) if they can’t find what they are looking for right away.
UX optimization is a crucial part of online businesses that is often overlooked. Some business owners believe it’s not important or worth the time, money, and effort to ensure that a website is fully functional. However, research and statistics prove that addressing the issue of functionality and design can help you attract more customers and boost your chances of success. Investing in a website’s UX is one of the smartest things any entrepreneur can do.
8 Finance Mistakes of First-Time Small Business Owners That You Should Avoid
Just started your own business? Congratulations! After years of sleepless nights, careful planning, and raw dedication, what was once a small idea in your head is now an income-generating machine you can count on
Running a business comes with a ton of complications and risks. Over time, you’ll eventually come face-to-face with many tricky situations, and the way you manage things can ultimately define your long-term stability.
Research shows that 20% of new businesses fail within the year due to finance and management-related issues. If you want to thrive in the years to come, you should start by taking note of the mistakes of others. The guide below will teach you how to avoid and overcome these common small business challenges.
- Not separating personal and business expenses
As you claim your clients’ payments, you may feel the urge to use that money for your ventures. But, before you cash out for your new car, it’s important to take a step back and remember what your priorities are. Always remember that cash generated by your company should go to the business first.
Many first-time entrepreneurs make the common mistake of not separating their personal and business expenses, and this behavior can be consequential in the long run. Not being able to draw the line paves the way for bad spending habits and will give you a difficult time determining your actual financial standing.
With this in mind, you should start by creating separate bank accounts. Having everything in one place or using one credit card for all your transactions may feel more convenient, but making a clear distinction will make all the difference in your accounting.
- Mismanaging cash flow
For your business to maintain its stability, you need to have a positive cash flow. Many new entrepreneurs make all sorts of accounting mistakes, and this ultimately gets in the way of their day-to-day operations. Hiring someone else may do the trick, but if your budget says otherwise, you need to take matters into your own hands.
Luckily, cash flow mistakes can be solved with some diligence. Monitoring your accounts religiously and making sure that your partners understand your payment terms will lead to seamless transactions. If you feel the need to hone your financial management skills further, you should consider taking online classes.
- Expecting income to arrive instantly
Everyone knows the age-old saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Your clients and customers may owe you some money in the months to come, but this doesn’t mean that you should bolster your spending.
Given that daily business life is unpredictable, don’t expect your clients to settle their balances on time. Money that’s promised to you shouldn’t count as an asset just yet.
- Immediately making big purchases
It’s normal to feel excited once you win a big client. After they’ve officially closed a deal, you may want to provide new laptops, replace old work equipment, or upgrade to new software as soon as possible. However, don’t let the rush cause you to make an irrational decision. Making a big purchase without care will strain you more than you like.
Similar to how you divide your monthly income for food, electricity, and rent, you need to keep the same approach when it comes to your business expenses. Given that you’ll need to spend on work equipment, monthly salaries, affordable marketing strategies from your partner agency, and so on, a guide to follow will ensure that your spending doesn’t go overboard.
Note: Saving money? Don’t trim your marketing budget! Boost your promotions and take note of these simple ways to create marketing.
- Not paying yourself
Many business owners tend to forget about their efforts. They treat their businesses as if it were their own children, but neglect themselves in their effort to sustain it. Because of this mentality, it’s easy to be misled into thinking that you have gained profits when, in fact, you are working for free.
Even if it’s your business, don’t forget to pay yourself. Always consider that if you are not there to handle these responsibilities, you will need to hire someone else to take your place. To help you calculate your own salary, think objectively of the work requirements and determine how much you will compensate another person for doing this job.
- Not seeking professional help
As the head of your company, it’s natural to want to stay in control of everything. However, there are times where the best course of action you can take is to seek help from others. Running a business will take more than just sheer will power, and finding the right partners can make an incredibly huge difference.
If you’re unfamiliar with tax laws, seeking the services of a CPA can save you from hefty fines. If you’re dealing with an intellectual property issue, having a lawyer can save you a lot of trouble. Professional fees may look unattractive, but they can save you more money in the long run.
- Failing to create an emergency fund
If there’s one thing all business owners can take away from COVID-19, it’s the fact that building an emergency fund has turned into a must. Your business may be flourishing at the moment, but you’ll never know when a crisis will strike and turn things upside down.
Without preparation, you may need to look at credit providers for a way out, or worse, you may be forced to shut down.
Having extra money set aside can save you a lot of trouble. Financial experts recommend that your emergency fund should be at least three to six months’ worth of your monthly income. While this may not be enough to curb your losses, it’ll keep you from incurring debt and enable you to stay afloat for the meantime.
- Careless hiring
Compare your business to a car. You may be the one steering it, but your employees are the components that allow you to run at full speed. Without the right fuel and parts, you can expect things to break down sooner or later.
Always screen candidates with the utmost care. You may be excited to fill your vacancies, but hiring carelessly can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Settling for anyone just to address your requirements is problematic, as it won’t just cause operational and service quality issues; it can also be a tough blow financially.
As you go about recruitment, always remember that getting talented people will naturally take more time and money, but it should be worth it.
Preparation is Key
It’s common for new ventures to run into challenges, so you must have a plan for when you need to face them because one wrong decision can make or break your business. While you should take some time to unwind and enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s important not to get distracted. After all, starting a business is one thing; maintaining is another.
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