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Harry Chemko, CEO of Elastic Path Software Inc., sits in the company office in Vancouver June 1, 2011. (Jeff Vinnick/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Harry Chemko, CEO of Elastic Path Software Inc., sits in the company office in Vancouver June 1, 2011. (Jeff Vinnick/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Small Business Briefing

How best to work with far-flung staff Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Businessteam.

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As more firms have remote employees, there are challenges to overcome

More and more companies may find themselves working with staff scattered around the world. There are certainly benefits – finding talent or skillsets not more locally available, and cutting salary, overhead and other costs in cheaper places – and the technology is certainly in place to make it happen.

But with time differences, cultural differences and just plain distance, there can be challenges in getting far-flung staff to work as a team.

This New York Times small-business guide to managing remote workers offers many suggestions from those in the know – businesses that have remote workers, such as ITX Corp., with only 42 of 128 employees actually working in its Pittsford, N.Y. main office.

 Among the suggestions are ways to hold people accountable; to be sensitive to cultural and other differences in other countries; how to connect; and how to deal with the clock.

It’s an issue that has arisen more than once in our own Challenge series.

 For some expert advice on how to make a remote-employee arrangement work, check out what the pros had to say to Alexey Saltykov, CEO of Toronto-based startup InsureEye Inc., on how best to collaborate with a far-flung team, and to Harry Chemko, CEO of Vancouver-based Elastic Path Software Inc., on how to keep staff working remotely engaged

In this recent Harvard Business Review blog, consultant Scott Edinger makes the case for why remote workers actually feel more engaged than those who are working right in the same office.

For one, he suggests that “proximity breeds complacency; “ when it’s so easy to communicate, it’s taken for granted. Similarly, people make extra effort, he says, to connect with those they don’t see every day. There is also more proficiency with the various kinds of technology that allow communication and, when far-flung team members do get together, they make the most of it.

Democratic convention spells opportunity to small businesses

The U.S. Democratic National Convention underway in Charlotte, N.C., offers about $200-million of opportunity this week – the amount visitors are expected to spend, according to this Associated Press piece.

To get their share, enterprising small business owners – from food sellers to couriers to T-shirt vendors – had to go through many hoops to pass the screening process to be allowed inside the convention zone.

“But the hustle pays off when they’re able to make a big score, such as selling $10,000 in barbecue sandwiches in one day,” as was the prize for one food-truck owner, the piece reports.

Entrepreneur’s fall reading list

Now that it’s back-to-school time, Entrepreneur offers some homework reading for those at the entrepreneurial helm. Here’s its list of recommended reading.


Entrepreneurship 101

Want to learn more about starting a business? Then you might benefit from a series of free, non-credit introductory courses on entrepreneurship being offered by MaRS Discovery District. The weekly lecture series will cover a variety of topics relating to entrepreneurship; register once at any time for the whole series. It runs from Sept. 26 to May 8 in Toronto. For more information, click here.

Small Business Summit

The next Small Business Summit, presented by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Small Business, takes place in Vancouver on Oct. 4. For more information on the one-day event, click here .


Why are women less likely to lobby for promotion?

The notion that women hold back from seeking advancement into senior roles may seem like a hoary cliché, yet academic studies tend to show that it’s not uncommon.


A second generation makes radical change

In many family companies, offspring come on board simply by birthright, and continue business as usual. In rarer instances, the next generation exhibits true entrepreneurial spirit to dramatically transform the company, as this story in January recounted.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.comJoin The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzTOur free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you cansign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site,click here .


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