Over the past year your small business has undoubtedly faced adversity, abrupt changes, and countless challenges due to the global pandemic. It doesn’t matter if you’re still working on-site or if you and your team have adopted a remote work environment, supplying your team with their needs, while they adjust to this new way of working, can be just another hurdle for you to jump. Previously, we shared some tips for transitioning to a remote workforce, but what happens now? How do you support your team? What helpful services or apps can you provide your employees to set them up for success? Below are 4 helpful tools to support your small business team, whether they are remote or not.
Their Needs, Delivered
One nice thing about running a small business is you tend to be more in touch with your employees than at a larger company. This can allow you to fulfill more specific needs for each of your team members. For example, all members of your stall need office supplies for their workstations. Using various apps on your phone, you can have the supplies needed delivered to your small business’ office or to your employees’ homes directly if they are working remotely. This doesn’t have to be limited to the tools needed for the job, though. Using a locally based online delivery app for everything from the previously mentioned office supplies to headache relief can provide you and your team with nearly instantaneous support, versus having to wait for days for larger shipments to arrive.
You can even support your team by sending them a thank you gift or schedule a virtual happy hour and have snacks and beverages delivered to each of your team. They’ll appreciate the break and that you took the time to provide them with some attention. With 55% of Americans joining virtual happy hours with their coworkers, why not provide your team with a weekly time to decompress from the work week? You can discuss what they need to be successful for the next week and make sure that their needs are being met in a timely manner. Even if you don’t use this time for discussing work-related issues, allowing your crew some time to decompress can go a long way in terms of their workplace well-being.
Their Time, Managed
Time management is and has always been one of the great challenges for every small business owner. With the help of your team, though, it doesn’t have to be. According to TechJury and The Productivity Blog, only 17% of people are tracking their time spent on task or off. Do you fall into that 17% or the remaining 83%? Whether you think you have a handle on your time management or not, the best thing you can do for yourself and for your small business team is take advantage of a free time tracking app so you can have a better handle on the time spent during your workday. You can even use it to project plan with your team or provide skill tests for your new hires or existing employees to improve their overall productivity.
In addition to time tracking, scheduling important dates like meetings and appointments in advance can make all the difference in the world. Helping your team prepare for important dates ahead of time will allow them to prepare and, hopefully, eliminate some of the stress encountered with short deadlines. Take a look at this list of various scheduling apps, and see which one best suits you and your company.
Their Data, Protected
An important, and often overlooked, aspect of running a small business is protecting your employees and their work. Since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in cyber security threats, a nearly 600% increase according to Parachute. What does this mean for your business? How can you protect your team and your valuable work? One way is to purchase a VPN for your company. Not only can a VPN ensure data protection and privacy across your whole organization, but a business VPN can also provide additional protections against hacking and online surveillance. To learn more about how a business VPN can benefit your company, and to find out which VPN is right for your team, take a look at TechRadar’s deep-dive.
Another easy way you can protect your team’s work is to have everyone on your teamwork out of a protected productivity app, like Google Drive. Aside from the protection, a powerful productivity service allows you and your entire team to collaborate across platforms, from anywhere with an internet connection. They are easy to use and essential for maintaining organization and productivity. By having all of your employees’ hard work stored in a cloud-based service, too, you have an added level of security just in case something tragic happens to local files.
Their Communication, Improved
Here’s a scary thought: according to a study by Workforce, roughly 60% of companies do not have a long-term strategy for their internal communications. So, what can you do for your company to make sure communication is a top priority? One way is to use a channel-based messaging platform, like Slack. Your team can use the instant messaging feature for quick questions and answers, sharing work and links to resources. There is also a video call feature built into the platform itself for the lengthier discussions. Of course, everyone’s favorite video conferencing app, Zoom, can be utilized for team meetings, client calls and more.
Using these tools is all well and good, but how do we improve our long-term communication strategy? A great first step is to create and identify your business goals and objectives. Not sure you know where to start? Try discussing with your team to see what they need from you and where they’d like to be down the line. This will better inform you of what is realistic and what needs to be addressed first. SMART goals have proven themselves to be quite effective, especially for the small business team. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Here is a breakdown of SMART goals from Indeed:
Once you’re organized and have determined your goals, share these with your team. Knowing why they do what they do and where they are going will only help with their focus, their drive, and the overall success of your small business. For seven additional ways to improve the efficiency of your business’ communication, take a look at this in-depth article from our team.
For the small business owner, nothing is more important to the success of your business than the success of your small business team. Take the time to meet with your employees to see how you can support them, whether it is supplying their needs, providing them with time management strategies, installing data protection services and tools, or developing creative ways to improve overall communication. Whether you have a brand-new team or a loyal group that’s been with you for years, it never hurts to create new goals and strategies that will support your team and business for years to come.
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