Right and wrong ways to set up a remote office

Make sure remote sites reflect the corporate mission

Setting up a remote office presents a set of challenges whether you're accommodating a new branch location or a telecommuter's home office. To smooth the process, take a look at recommendations offered by Michael Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of Catalyst IT Services.

The first step is getting the timing right, Rosenbaum says in an article by CIO magazine's Rich Hein. Carefully assess whether a new location will bring a positive return on the investment before committing to the launch.

Next, be sure that the remote office consistently reflects the company mission and does not become a disparate body. Replicate the culture of the main office by detailing a team of employees from the original office to set up the new one.  If there's an IT glitch at the new location, send someone to fix it in person rather than trying to do it from afar. 

"The team will generally always chime in with other things they need, but that they wouldn't normally bring up because, 'we wouldn't want to bother you.' It's just basic human nature that we don't want to inconvenience someone with a laundry list. By showing a willingness to support, in person, our remote office, we continue to build that camaraderie and company culture," Rosenbaum said.

Communication, of course, is always vital. Establish a plan to prevent remote workers from feeling isolated. A regularly scheduled phone call, perhaps weekly, is a good idea, even if it has to be canceled at times. It gives everyone a chance to talk about things that aren't necessarily urgent. In-person meetings from time to time are very helpful as well. Figure out what collaboration tools will work best in your situation and make the most of them. A platform for sharing ideas among offices in different time zones helps everyone feel more connected.

For more:
- see Rich Hein's article at CIO

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