This article was originally published on BW Disrupt.
Running a business from anywhere and changing perceptions of women’s responsibilities have made it an opportune moment for women to step into the business world and thrive as entrepreneurs.
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed the work from home model on businesses. Traditionally, the professional world hasn’t held working from home in high regard. While the forced experiment ensured business continuity during the pandemic, it has also proved successful as an efficient mode of work. The model’s recognition and acceptance have benefited many sections of working professionals. It has also prompted a positive shift in the attitudes towards women entrepreneurs who juggle work and home responsibilities.
There has never been a better time for women who want to run their business from home. It is an excellent opportunity for female entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level.
There is now a greater acceptance of remote startups and home offices. Customers and co-workers are more empathetic to women carrying out responsibilities outside of work and do not misjudge their professional capabilities. It is allowing women to have better work-life integration. Family members are shouldering duties at home, and women can spend quality time with their children.
Here are some tips to make the most of this changing environment:
1. Boost your professional network digitally
Networking in pre-pandemic times meant physically attending events or staying back for socializing after office hours. But now, with home offices, remote teams and virtual businesses being the norm, there’s an excellent opportunity to cash in on virtual networking. You can log in to webinars and business events from the comfort of your home to build connections and share your thoughts.
Make the most of this time by creating a robust digital presence that generates visibility for your business. Make it a point to regularly engage with colleagues, peers, potential customers and professionals in your industry on social media. Social media levels the playing field and can help you break the glass ceiling. So go on and join conversations, create compelling content and take advantage of remote networking.
2. Set boundaries between your professional and personal life
With professional and personal roles happening out of the home, it can quickly turn chaotic. However, with proper planning and boundaries, you can ensure both aspects of your life run smoothly. Demarcate office space, educate children about your work schedule and inform the family when you have strict deadlines.
The respect goes both ways so when you’re spending time with family, make sure to put the laptop and phone away. Inform co-workers and customers about your off-work hours and try not to be occupied by work-related thoughts. Maintain a schedule for domestic tasks, divide them between the family and outsource some. Remember to be flexible too, so that unexpected events don’t throw you off balance.
3. Put together a solid remote team
Now that we live in a world where things are increasingly done remotely, entrepreneurs have the advantage of choosing from a vast talent pool that is not restricted by location. You can hire the most suitable candidate for the job irrespective of where they live. Get creative in what you can offer them to attract the right employees to boost your business.
In pre-pandemic times, you could meet a potential candidate for coffee and ‘just know’ whether they’ll be a right fit for your business. Till you get used to it, you may feel the lack of physical interaction in this area the most. Spend extra time developing an interview that helps you virtually gauge a candidate’s skills relevant to your business. Thorough background and reference checks will come in handy at this time.
4. Avoid being a micromanager
Before the pandemic, when you worked with your team under the same roof, you could simply look around to get a sense of productivity levels and keep slacking in check. With that out of the picture, it’s easy to turn into a micromanager in a remote work environment.
You may feel the need to check in constantly or get anxious when there’s been no activity. Be mindful of this tendency to ensure a healthy work culture for your business. Until there’s a genuine and continuous lag in output, remind yourself to trust your employees and that you hired them because they know their job.
The new normals that the pandemic has brought are shaping a friendlier environment for women in business. Running a business from anywhere and changing perceptions of women’s responsibilities have made it an opportune moment for women to step into the business world and thrive as entrepreneurs.