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Optimising the pros and eliminating the cons of the remote workforce

Technological advances have not only made it possible to staff your online business, it has made the decision incredibly easy as well. Super-fast internet is everywhere. Apart from this, communicating with people all over the world has never been more effortless. These changes mean that the work landscape is evolving right before our eyes. The once dependable 9-5 office routine may have been transformed for good.

Of course, to support this, an increasing number of individuals are opting to forgo traditional employment avenues and work remotely. Why is this? Simply put, many individuals feel as though a traditional 9-to-5 simply doesn’t fit in with their personal goals anymore. In addition to this, technology is a large part of their lives and they are comfortable using it to complete tasks and interact with other employees. Yet, it isn’t all smooth sailing for remote employees.

Drawbacks of hiring remote workers
Staffing a remote team doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Managers are made to supervise employees that they might never see, putting extra strain on what is already a difficult job.

Training new remote employees can be difficult to get right. In addition to this, hiring employees in diverse locations can present new obstacles such different time zones and public holidays.

The burden is also upon employers to trust that employees are using their time adequately in the absence of full supervision.

Benefits of hiring remote workers
Despite these drawbacks, the benefits of hiring remote teams to staff your ecommerce business are clear. A remote team will help you to:

Cut costs – Situating employees remotely can reduce your need for a larger workspace. Also, companies who hire remote employees have discovered that when compared to traditional employees, these workers are less likely to take time off. These differences mean that the company loses less uptime time and subsequently less money. However, employers aren’t the only ones who stand to gain financially. Not having to relocate means that remote employees can save money on property and on fuel as well.

Lighten your workload – Having too much on your plate, affects both employees and clients alike. Your output is low and your ability to scale also takes a hit. If your responsibilities are becoming too onerous and you find that all your time is being consumed by a never-ending list of tasks, there’s no shame in handing over some of those responsibilities.

Broaden your network – As a 24/7 operation, ecommerce can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, your business never needs to close and you can take orders all day long. On the other hand, this availability necessitates employees who can tackle issues that may pop up during the day. Remote employees are available in a variety of time zones, ready to fix problems and give support to customers. The benefits of having employees support your business around the clock cannot be overstated.

Hire talented individuals – Since your hiring practises are no longer location-dependant, your company can hire employees from virtually anywhere. The best employees are at your service no matter where they live. This is especially beneficial if you operate from a location with hard-to-find skills. Even better than this, you can now offer new services to your clients that you couldn’t have before.

Shipping from anywhere – When equipped with quality order management software, remote teams add value to your company through their ability to ship your products from a variety of locations, shrinking distances and shortening delivery times. Software such as the EMERGE app is indispensable as it helps you keep track of orders no matter where they are. It takes the guesswork out of your processes.

How you should go about hiring remote workers

Standardise hiring – Hiring remote workers means you have a reduced presence in the hiring process and unfortunately, things can get out of control. Questionable decisions, poor training and little guidance can turn remote hiring into a disaster. The solution? Standardize hiring across the company. This will allow hiring managers to set the bar with regards to new employees. It will also help new employees to grasp their roles completely. This standardisation should include the company handbook, training videos and a complete definition of a worker’s role and responsibilities.

Conduct a personality assessment – Having qualifications on paper is one thing, having the temperament to fit into your team is a completely different issue. Hiring managers must assess whether would-be employees are cut out for a remote assignment. Keep in mind that not everyone who works well in an office environment is suited to working remotely. Before hiring employees, make sure that they possess the discipline and time-management skills necessary to tough it out far away from everyone else.

List your expectations – The easiest path to disappointment is not getting everyone on the same page. Avoid this by letting your team know what you expect from them from the get-go. Whether this is about their responsibilities, how you expect them to fit into your business, communication or the standard of work you expect from them, let there be no confusion about your vision for their employment.

Determine compensation – How will you pay your employees? Will you choose a fixed salary or an hourly rate? Depending on the nature of the job, you may favour one method over another.

Fixed rates work best when deliverables and expectations are clearly defined.

However, if the employee finds that some of the work is out of the scope originally outlines, he or she may request more compensation or decide against completing the task. Hourly rates can help overcome those issues by giving the employee the freedom to see the task to completion. 

Hiring employees for a traditional ecommerce business is a major task. Hiring remote employees for your company is a downright colossal task. It is also difficult to ensure that employees work together like a well-oiled machine.

Yet, while difficult it certainly is not impossible. However, everything won’t come together overnight. Getting each little step right will pay dividends in the end, allowing your company to grow and prosper.

Raviraj Hegde – Vice President, Growth, EMERGE App

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