Hiring a Remote Team for Your Ecommerce Business

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Building a robust team that helps your brand succeed and grow is a tall order all the time, and adding ‘remote’ to the equation could make it even more of a challenge. Hiring new staff to help your small business grow is tough, how much more a remote team?
For your ecommerce business, particularly your WooCommerce or Shopify business, how do you build a remote team? You need to work on specific sets of skills and personality traits, as well as make adjustments to your expectations. Furthermore, you have to make major investments to maximize the potential of your remote team. 
Already, working remotely is a trend that’s been growing among startups and forward-thinking organizations, not to mention with the help of new technology, faster internet connections, and cloud-based SaaS software. And now, with the pandemic shaking up the entire world, remote working is not just our new normal or new reality, it’s also certainly the way forward for us from now on. 
For your ecommerce website development requirement, hiring a remote team provides benefits, particularly for business models that are online-only. If you’re comfortable asking your customers to trust you to get the work digitally done, then you should also be able to do the same with your staff. Hiring an excellent remote team, how should you do it?

Hiring a Remote Team for your Brand

1. Understanding of the benefits as well as the drawbacks of having a remote team

First of all, you run an electronic commerce business, chances are that may be already comfortable with managing a team of people not in the same location as you. However, in case you aren’t, the facts support the benefits of having a remote team. Today, more and more people prefer working remotely to help find the work-life balance and steer away from stressful commuting. 
Remote hiring means you can widen your pool of applicants to anyone all over the world. Your business would also become a more appealing destination for qualified candidates. Benefits don’t stop at the hiring process since remote working could be extremely productive, could lead to lesser employee attrition, and savings on the office space cost per employee. 
However, one major disadvantage of remote working is that it could be isolating. You have to invest the money saved on overhead on things such as in-person work retreats, communication tools, and paying for using co-working spaces. Nonetheless, the benefits of the investments are clear—the happier the people are, then the more productive they will be. 

2. Look for qualified remote candidates

Hiring employees who are a great fit for a remote team is again not the same as hiring an in-office worker. There are several critical skills that you need to prize above all else, whatever the position you want to fill. The skills include:

  • Self-motivation. You will not be looking over the shoulders of your remote team every minute of the day. Make sure to hire people who demonstrated a motivating and self-starting history so that you would know they’ll be their own biggest champion when work is slow and the energy to get the job done is low.
  • Communication. The greatest challenge by far is managing remote workers to ensure effective communication. Your remote staff should have excellent written and verbal communication skills so they would be able to relay their wants, needs, and updates across any medium or platform.
  • Tech-savvy. Prize someone comfortable in troubleshooting their webcam concerns, or reading a few errant code lines in the event that the blog goes down, over someone claiming that a rigid set of skills does not include being tech-savvy. 

Once you get a sense of what skills you’re looking for and the roles you want to fill, there are platforms such as LinkedIn to look for qualified candidates. 

3. Build Well-Defined Roles for your Remote Staff

If you’re the single proprietor wanting to hire your employee or the head of a small team wanting to expand your business, you should identify where remote workers could be most easily integrated into your workflow. Also, it’s important to communicate expectations and responsibilities clearly to your new staff. This is where our well-defined job description would be invaluable. 
The remote role of our remote employees of course greatly depends on your products or services, business model, and goals. Your hiring needs would not be the same as running a SaaS company rather than a retail brand. This being said, there are several areas in which remote workers could be most helpful immediately:

  • social media marketing
  • customer service
  • graphic design
  • inventory/store management

Some of the positions could be filled best by freelancers on a per-need basis at first. If you have determined these areas as requiring full-time staff in managing them, gradually scale by hiring one at a time. When you hire a remote staff at once, it could be hard to see if each one generates an ROI. 

4. Investing in Collaboration and Communication Tools

You need not hire an in-office staff for your ecommerce brand and fail to provide a desk and computer for them. In the same way, you can’t hire a remote worker and skimp on providing the tools that they need to succeed. Well-defined communications expectations would save your hours of tons and back-and-forth frustration. 
Fortunately, there are already available several digital tools that foster collaboration and communication among remote teams. There are several areas to be concerned about when creating remote work environments for your team to be successful. Check these out. 
Security. Protect the company’s network when employees log in from public Wi-Fi with VPN services. 
Storage. Utilize cloud-based storage services like Dropbox and Google Docs to provide all employees access to documents without having to sacrifice security. You also need a quality digital payroll/HR service handling direct deposit, other payroll services, and PTO tracking with ease. 

5. Hiring on a Trial Basis

To begin with, you could, and should hire a remote worker on a trial basis. From the outset of the interview process, make it clear. You would work with this person for a month to start, and if the scenario works for both sides, you could make it official. 
When you hire someone to work for your in-office, you assume an amount of responsibility. You’re asking them to give up another job, commute to work, and in some instances uproot their lives to come work for your company. Remote workers however need not change a thing about their lives to work for you. 
And, since hiring someone is a very expensive and monumental decision, you should make sure that they’re the right fit before committing. Use the flexibility that remote teams could afford to your advantage and take time in finalizing hiring. 

Remote Working Boosts your Business Structure

Just like anything else, a remote working structure for every business is not a great fit for all. It really depends on the industry you’re in, the set of skills, personality, and preference. The combination of freedom and flexibility to hire anyone without having to compromise the work quality is the perfect marriage for any business or brand. 
You could benefit from a traditional office setting and remote working structure for your multi-channel ecommerce brand, to maximize customer service, efficiency, and productivity. 

Conclusion

Business goes digital, and the remote team is only one example of that change. The remote worker hiring process could be a bit more involved, between establishing a trust level with your new remote staff and navigating an initial trial period, yet the payoff could be huge.

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