Creating a teleworking culture.

While much of last year seems like a blur, but one thing is clear: Business is never going to be the same after the remote-working revolution.

For many small companies, the COVID-19 pandemic upended business as usual and forced quick decisions about how to maintain operations with employees sequestered at home. And now, as we collectively come to understand the long-lived nature of this pandemic, a lingering question remains. What can business owners do to ensure their remote operations stay strong over an uncertain and likely extended period of time?

As the president and co-founder of a privately owned small business that launched over a decade ago, I’m relieved (and proud) to say our pivot to a new teleworking culture was relatively painless. It turned out we were more prepared for the pandemic than we knew—and that preparation enabled a seamless shift to fully remote working.

I count our business among the lucky ones, and my heart goes out to the more than 100,000 small businesses that have shut down in a shockingly brief period of time. Meanwhile, many of the small businesses that have managed to remain afloat this year have taken a “wait and see” approach to permanent teleworking. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that remote work is poised to stick around.

The sooner small business owners accept the reality of this new labor market and proactively adapt to it, the better off their companies will be—particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent in the post-pandemic world.

With that in mind, I wanted to share my company’s successful strategies for sustaining business operations and employee morale during an extended period of remote work. Small businesses are vital to reviving America’s hard-hit economic growth and without mutual support, the road to recovery will be arduous. A rising tide lifts all boats, after all.

To adapt and thrive in the new out-of-office era that has taken hold at companies of all sizes, small business owners should focus on three areas: Take stock of your fundamental operations and identify weaknesses, focus on communications to keep goals on track, and most importantly, maintain team unity.

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