Remote working offers you a great opportunity to reduce costs and even increase employee productivity if managed effectively.
The strength of remote labour has been demonstrated over the last few years. Due to the pandemic, many businesses were forced to go remote overnight, but they didn’t miss a beat.
However, as many businesses have discovered, creating a fantastic, long-lasting remote-first team isn’t something that just happens overnight.
This guide explains how eCommerce companies can employ, supervise, and retain remote workers in 2022.
Pre-pandemic, having a remote-first business was recognized to be a source of significant competitive advantage in some settings. However, in the post-pandemic era, a significant percentage of employees work remotely at least part of the time, and forecasts indicate that this trend is here to stay.
Recruiting Remote Workers
It is no longer acceptable to place a heavy emphasis on the distant nature of the position when employing remote team members, especially A-players for an eCommerce organisation. Instead, concentrate on writing a compelling job description that describes a typical day at your company, how a remote employee might engage with them, and the essential factors that make your organisation unique.
Invite candidates to apply in a distinctive way to differentiate your eCommerce firm from other remote opportunities (and to get the most information). If you’re interviewing for a position as an eCommerce developer, ask about which upcoming integrations the applicant would prioritise and why. Instead of asking them for a cover letter, ask them to list their favourite eCommerce retailer and explain what it does well and why.
Invite each candidate to a video call interview once you have identified a couple of strong candidates so you can get to know them better and see whether they feel at ease using technology for remote communication. From here, choose only the finest applicants to take part in a quick, role-dependent test to find the ideal remote team member, such as writing a product description or assessing an inventory report.
Four top strategies for keeping remote workers happy
Recruiting is only half of the process of finding high-performing remote workers. After making an offer to your perfect candidate, you need to onboard them into your remote team and create best practices for staff management and retention.
1. Create an onboarding procedure
Making a good first impression is crucial, yet it only happens once. It’s crucial to introduce and integrate a new hire into your company within the first week of onboarding in order to teach them about your organisational structure, core principles, and culture.
Many remote working recruits may feel they were not adequately educated and supported to succeed in their new post, despite the fact that this process is crucial to employee productivity and engagement.
Your onboarding method will be unique to your business and operations.
To get you started, though, here are a few fundamental recommended practices:
- Before the new employee’s first day, make sure they have received the necessary human resources documents, such as benefits packages.
- Assign the new employee a “buddy” who can “show them around remotely” and respond to any inquiries they might be reluctant to make in a group.
- Disclose responsibilities and expectations in documents, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs), that can be accessed from an online repository.
- Plan a video conference for the entire organisation to greet the new employee.
2. Use asynchronous communication
Communication that is not real-time is referred to as asynchronous (async) communication. Employers who use an async communication style encourage their staff to share information with one another while acknowledging the possibility of a response delay.
Async helps to lessen conflict caused by competing schedules or time zones at a time when remote workers may find it challenging to participate in online video conversations. Additionally, it reduces the very real Zoom fatigue that comes with having so many in-person meetings and interactions.
3. Offer rewards unique to remote workers
Make sure you offer additional remote-specific benefits that go beyond the opportunity to merely work from home in order to manage and keep your remote eCommerce team.
For instance, some remote workers may appreciate the opportunity to choose their own activities. Offering flexible work schedules that benefit from async communication, choosing a four-day workweek when practical, providing quarterly or annual business getaways, or setting up particular no-meeting days like no-meeting Mondays are all things to think about.
4. Offer opinions (and praise)
The issue with an async-first culture is that team members may feel alone and work in silos.
Any high-performing worker is interested in how their job affects other teams and the business overall.
It is important to maintain efficient, frequent communication for this reason. In reality, a manager’s incapacity to motivate a team and give feedback is the leading factor in employee churn, followed by poor management communication. Keep team morale high by making it a point to regularly provide feedback and celebrate team and individual victories. Remote workers still want to be acknowledged for their contributions.
Don’t forget insurance
When you apply for insurance, your insurer will want information such as the contents values of the proposer, the addresses where your business is located, and whether or not the firm conducts work or activities off-site.
It is important that you inform the insurers if home working is implemented, as the risk will change from what was initially recommended to the insurance when you secured your public liability insurance. There is no set answer as to how an insurer will handle this change because different insurers won’t respond to the change in the same manner.
The four largest obstacles for a company that prioritises remote work
Unquestionably, a team that prioritises working remotely can function like a well-oiled machine. It is not without problems, though. Here are some of the most significant difficulties that many remote teams encounter.
1. Colleagues may work in different time zones
Many businesses in the contemporary era have a global workforce.
Differences in time zones can either be a significant headache that ultimately causes you to restrict your talent pool to particular places, depending on how you choose to look at it. Or, you can overcome the difficulty by establishing an async-first culture.
This not only implies that you can hire employees anywhere in the world but also that if you select the proper candidates, employee productivity won’t be as dependent on in-person interactions.
2. A lack of instruments for collaboration
Along with educating your staff to use async communications where appropriate, strive to provide your remote team with the necessary equipment they need to do their jobs well, such as async video messaging applications, shared meeting agenda software, remote brainstorming apps, and wireframing and collaborative design software.
3. High risk of burnout
Many managers continue to believe that when their direct reports work remotely, they are likely to be lazy and not work as hard as they would if they were in the office. While there are undoubtedly instances where this is the case, the opposite issue affects a lot more people. Burnout might result from the fact that most remote workers put in more hours than their coworkers in offices.
In reality, burnout is on the rise among remote teams, and managers must recognise the symptoms of stress at work. During employee 1:1 meetings, don’t forget to show interest in the employees’ mental health as it relates to their jobs and to ask about their happiness and stress levels. After all, burnout affects more than just the burnt-out worker. It affects every member of your team in a negative way.
4. A weak corporate culture
A ping pong table in the office and a company-wide happy hour at a nearby pub every other Friday are not examples of business culture. In reality, it relates to a team’s collective ideals, attitudes, and behaviours. Take the time to plan virtual events and get-togethers that help to connect employees and enforce a positive corporate culture.
Fully remote workforces already exist; they are not a thing of the future. It’s time to build an eCommerce team that is 100% remote-first and capable of being as productive, collaborative, and creative as possible. You may create a remote workforce that’s ideal for your business by keeping in mind the best practices and strategies to prevent the frequent problems mentioned above.
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