Working remotely: a guide for entrepreneurs
Corporate or commercial property prices are climbing, and in 2017 we saw evidence that Cape Town's CBD became too costly for the bulk of working class South Africans who earned a living in the same space. The 'work from home' model seems to be on the rise, but there are bullets to dodge when building a business and today we'll take a look at the pros and cons of working remotely. Since 2012, we've run remotely ourselves so you can be sure that we're speaking from personal experience.
Let's stick to four of the basic business objectives, shall we? Beginning with improving productivity. The traditional 8-5 employment model is losing its effectiveness. Apart from traffic woes, we've come to understand that some people work more effectively in their own element: a coffee shop, a home study, outdoor scenery, from bed in pyjamas - the list is endless and as unique as each of our team members - to find a single office environment that caters to all the preferences of our individuals is next to impossible. We've found that working from wherever has improved our team's ability to tap into their deep thinking and problem solving skills.
While this is a massive pro, there is a downside, and that comes in the form of the second business objective: resource management and reducing wastage or redundancy. In a perfect world, every team member has access to a device and the Internet, but we all know our world isn't that perfect just yet. It can be quite costly to invest in equipment and connectivity, even for an Intranet system.
The next objective is to reduce errors or spillage. Because we're in the business of helping youth discover and develop their self-confidence, through the vehicle of creative and performing arts, we're more exposed to human error than to mechanical failures. One way we get around this is to embrace the platforms that technology offers - a simple WhatsApp group has helped our senior producers communicate and keep up with one another since 2015, making a world of difference to the pace and accuracy with which we accomplished our tasks. We got to ask questions and receive responses and ideas that helped everything take shape.
Reducing cost is another major objective and if not met it could bring any company to its knees. Working remotely is both a pro and a con here. If all your team members have access to technology, and know how to use it effectively, costs can be reduced. But in order to get everyone to the same starting position, that could take a bit of investment. Be sure to understand your baseline and ideal requirements, and the gap between the two, so you can be clearer about your spend.
The opportunities for working remotely are increasing exponentially: malls, coffee shops and libraries are offering free wifi; instant messaging and visual communication tools are becoming less costly and more commoditised, giving us a choice of service provider. If you ever need formal meeting space there is also the opportunity to book meeting rooms at communal business centres or hotels. The kinds of barriers that we face as entrepreneurs are less physical today, and more intellectual and perception-based.
Why not draw up a list of the resources available to you, and iron out the core business offering for your company, before deciding how to move forward - you could be saving a lot of money and stress by choosing to work remotely. Have a burning question about running a business in South Africa? Click here to contact our team and maybe you'll get a blog dedicated to your challenges.