With a developing e-commerce market, as well as a new emphasis on work-life balance, more individuals than ever have joined the remote workforce.
Research shows that this trend is on the rise. While 39 percent of employees worked remotely in 2012, that number had risen to 43 percent by 2016. And this isn’t just a phenomenon in the US. In 2017, a survey of more than 24,000 workers found that 62 percent of the world’s workforce now takes advantages of “flexible working practices”, including working from somewhere other than a traditional workplace.
Nontraditional workplaces can include e-commerce websites and e-businesses. What is the difference between e-commerce and e-business? Per Shopify, e-business refers to all aspects of operating an online business, whereas e-commerce refers specifically to the transaction of physical goods in exchange for digitally transferred money.
While the remote-workers trend affords companies the luxury of hiring the best person for the job regardless of geographic location, it also poses some complications as far as management and cohesiveness within organizations. The difference between a remote workforce and a traditional workspace are clear and easy to manage if you are aware of the subtleties. Knowing these differences makes running an e-commerce website that much easier if you use some extra help.
Keep in Touch Electronically, But Anticipate Miscommunication
When you’re corresponding electronically for an e-business or e-commerce website, nonverbal communication and the nuances and emotions of facial expression and tone of voice get lost. And that can result in some sticky situations in the remote workforce.
With most remote communication taking place over email, it’s challenging to make sure the right emotion and context are coming across. It can be difficult to communicate urgency, so being mindful of your word choice in electronic communication, or arranging for a quick video conference or phone call can mitigate these miscommunications.
An e-commerce manager or boss can’t just pop into somebody’s office to give them feedback, so scheduling a call or sending it via email or via a work communication app. Because tone of voice tends to get lost over text, an increased amount of positive feedback can help remote employees to differentiate negative feedback.
Set Reasonable Goals Regarding Productivity
Many workers view the ability to work remotely as positively impacting productivity. While that’s an easy claim to make, how does an e-commerce employer ensure the productivity of workers when they don’t share a physical space? Not all remote workers are created equally. If you don’t have a measuring stick for their performance, you can’t expect to manage it on the back end, which is why keeping an open communication this way will allow you to spot potential problems and eliminate roadblocks early. Thus, giving you a better remote worker experience.
It’s hard to measure the productivity of someone during a workday when you can’t simply walk over or see them at their desks like in a traditional workspace. In an e-commerce setting, workers get to take advantage of the fact that there’s no one breathing down their necks.
As long you set expectations, metrics, deadlines and work output goals in a clear and defined way, you should be able to manage these subtle difficulties when working miles away from your employees.
Remember to Make Remote Workers Feel Included
When managing a remote e-commerce workforce, it’s crucial to promote open channels of communication which allow for collaboration. Studies find that remote workers want the ability to collaborate with their coworkers. Because of this, e-commerce managers should try to plan time for remote workers to be in the office periodically to collaborate and establish those personal connections with their other team members, giving them the opportunity to experience the company culture.
Adequately sharing knowledge between managers and their team members can also be a challenge when you aren’t working together in a traditional workspace, which is why taking the time to focus on collaboration can make a world’s difference. Standardized protocols, explaining everything team members need to know about the target audience, individual clients, and more can help develop a workplace climate even though you are not in the same place.
As e-commerce grows, the rate of remote workers will continue to grow in the next few years and beyond. Though this will necessitate a shift in company culture and management protocols, appropriate leadership will ensure an efficient, effective, and mutually-beneficial relationship.
Change is good. It expands the way we can work effectively, and in order to run a successful e-commerce business, these tips can make sure you stay productive and progressive in your e-commerce market.