Woman working from home with cat.

Working Remotely for Startups & Scaleups

3 MIN READ | 2021-12-28

Working Remotely for Startups & Scaleups: A Complete Guide

Remote work has been around for a while. But COVID-19 has accelerated it’s pZA` enetration across all industries, globally. With people reporting higher productivity levels while working from home, remote work in startups and scaleups is here to stay.

Do you want to learn more about how you can successfully work from home for startups & scaleups? If that's the case, this guide is for you.

Why Work Remotely

Many startups and scaleups offer remote work opportunities for reasons other than the pandemic. There are plenty of benefits that point to why remote work is so prevalent at startups and scaleups.

Search for the Right Talent

For one, startups and scaleups often need talent that may not be available to them in their region. Moreover, they may not have the resources to employ everyone in-house. Offering remote work opportunities means they can source talent on a global scale.

Relaxed Work Culture

Remote work offers a sense of freedom that in-house employment does not. Employees have the flexibility to do what they want when they want. They can contribute in a meaningful way without being in a physical location and having someone constantly look over their shoulder. 

 

Working remotely also eliminates the commute and potentially expensive office set-up costs. These costs can quickly add up when working for a startup or scaleup.

International Markets

Many scaleups are global companies that operate in multiple countries. And most of their employees have the opportunity to work remotely, sometimes even from any country in the world. This helps reduce costs, eliminating the need for expensive office space and infrastructure. Startups and scaleups are often early-stage companies; they may have offices in multiple locations across one country or the globe. Thus, international expansion also allows them to tap into a global talent pool. 

Setting up your Space

Working from home requires you to have the space to do it. Therefore, it is essential to set up your home environment as a workspace that you can use consistently while at the same time, you do not jeopardize the comfort of your own home.

Here are some tips that will help you set up your workspace.

Set up your Desk

Creating a dedicated workspace is important if you are working remotely. You need to have a desk far away from areas where you sleep or eat. Having your own space will help you concentrate better and get more done.

Do you live in a studio? If you are limited to a small space, consider rearranging your furniture. For example, flip the table around and sit on a chair facing a different view (preferably a window) from the one you are typically used to. This will help to break out of your usual routine.

Buy your Equipment

Ensure you have all the tools that you need for your remote work. This includes a laptop, an internet connection or hotspot, phone, printer and scanner (if required), headphones, stationery supplies, cleaning items etc.

Decorate your Home Office

Create a home office that feels like a living space with plants, photos, and other decorations. Did you know that having plants in your workspace has also been known to increase productivity?

Establishing a functional working space is vital for working remotely, both for personal productivity and comfort.

Get Out of the House

If your home cannot accommodate the space you need to work, find another location that also serves as a workplace away from home. For example, if you live in a rural or suburban area and don't have access to public transport, find a location near where you live that also serves as your workplace. This could be a local coffee shop or cafe. 


In addition, visit the library, or find other places with wi-fi and are open to the public, such as coworking spaces. Coworking spaces offer different office amenities, such as call booths, conference rooms & free drinks.

Dealing with Distractions

If you work remotely, you may tend to feel isolated at times. This can lead to distractions from online shopping or social media browsing to getting carried away by conversations with your housemates when you should actually be working. The following tips can help you set boundaries where possible and maintain focus when working.

Set Boundaries

It's important to set boundaries with your family, housemates, and friends. Let them know when you are working and when you are not. This will help to avoid distractions and maintain focus while working.

Do you work from home with kids? In this case, you may need to work at specific times where you won't be interrupted:

  1. Work while they sleep. Make the most of your children's naps to complete the most important tasks. For example, if your kids go to sleep at a particular time every night, you may be able to use their sleeping period to make phone calls or focus on a project when they are asleep.
  2. Take turns. If you have a spouse, split the work. For example, take turns feeding or playing with your kids while the other one works.

Moreover, you can't always be online. So it is important to let people know when you are available and when you are not. If you work flexible hours, schedule your hours in a shared calendar (i.e. Google Calendar) with your team to know what times you are available.

Do Not Disturb

Set your phone to silent mode. This will help you avoid distractions by email notifications, messages, and calls that are not urgent. You can also switch off or put your phone on Airplane Mode during the hours when you are working.

Put a Limit on your Workday

Working for more than 8 hours straight can be detrimental to your health. Working remotely provides flexibility, so you don't need to work the entire day. Try to work for a maximum of 8 hours with breaks in between.

Making the Most of it

If you work remotely, you may not have access to the same social perks that you would get from being in an office. For example, you can't simply walk down the hall to chat with colleagues or meet up for lunch. And meetings are often conducted over video conference calls. Ultimately, it can be challenging to build workplace friendships when working remotely.

Thus, you can find some tips below to make working remotely smoother. 

Create a Routine

One of the best ways to make working remotely enjoyable is to create a routine. This could involve waking up at the same time every day and working for a certain number of hours. It could also include taking breaks at the same time each day and avoiding work at night. Having a routine will help you be more productive and organised.

Take Regular Breaks

As with any type of work, take regular breaks. This will keep you sharp and boost your creativity. Leave your home office for a few minutes. Do not stay in the same room as your work. This will help your mind relax and remain refreshed throughout the day. Moreover, stretching every hour for 5-10 minutes is an excellent way to keep your body healthy. Set reminders to keep you alert if you need them.

Scheduling regular breaks throughout the day will boost your productivity and allow you to get more done in a shorter time.

Stay Organized

It's also critical to use decent project management software for remote teams, such as Trello or Basecamp. They can aid in the coordination of activities and assigning duties among coworkers. These tools are much better than relying solely on email or chat applications.

Keep in Touch with your Colleagues

Communication is key in every workplace — especially when it's remote. Many technology tools can help you stay in touch with your colleagues even when you work remotely. For example, many people use Slack to communicate with colleagues. It's an efficient way of keeping in touch, even if the other team members are not all in the same office or country. Other useful remote work apps for better communication with colleagues include MS Teams, Discord, Google Meet, and Toggl.


Tip: Avoid texting back and forth constantly when it's a conversation that requires collaborative effort for a specific project. Set up audio or video calls to avoid confusion and miscommunication.

Seek Work Friends

Do your friends work remotely too? Then arrange to work together in one place and keep each other company. In addition, join local meetups or online communities that revolve around the type of work you do.

Conclusion

Working remotely for startups and scaleups can have its own set of challenges. But with the right tools and tips, it can be a great way to balance work and home life.

Of course, working remotely is not for everyone. Some people work better if they have a social setting around them, while others prefer working on their own. If you are going to work remotely, it's important to find the right work-life balance for you and your team.

Are you thinking of making the switch to remote work? If so, these tips should help get you started.