eCommerce has grown leaps and bounds since the pandemic. Statistics indicate that it's expected to generate $5.42 trillion in sales by the end of 2022. It's growing so fast that it's projected to reach 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025. This is a 12.6% increase in just over five years.
Don’t get us wrong. It’s every business owner’s dream to expand their business. However, this expansion comes with a caveat. It can be overwhelming to keep up with the growth, and productivity may suffer.
Just think about it. Your business must stay extremely responsive, you must keep track of sales, have constant product updates, deal with suppliers, and offer customer support around the clock.
To juggle all these and stay competitive, you’ll need a well-structured team that can provide quality work to ensure the success of your business.
In this article, we’ve gathered tips to help you keep your remote team productive and eCommerce website performance above board.
How to Maintain Remote Team Productivity for Your eCommerce Business
Allow greater autonomy for your remote workers
When managing remote teams, it can be tempting to always keep close tabs on them and their performance. But, that’s not a mistake you want to make. Giving team members autonomy shows that you trust them, and this will reflect positively on their performance.
You hire an employee because you believe in their capabilities. When you give them freedom and autonomy to work, they won't be worried that someone is constantly checking in on them. In turn, they will do their jobs with fewer distractions and get more work done.
Just be sure to set clear work structures based on goals, deadlines, and status updates.
Encourage your remote team to have a dedicated workspace
According to Forbes, remote workers record higher productivity compared to their office counterparts. This is partly because of the flexible work schedule. However, this freedom, combined with their lifestyle and surroundings, can affect productivity.
It's easier for remote staffers to become distracted and slip into the habit of working from anywhere in their houses. Having a proper workspace that’s independent of other areas of their homes is necessary for focused work.
Additionally, a dedicated workspace gives employees quick access to work-related resources and helps bring consistency and routine to work. This will result in better efficiency and performance.
You could find ways to make this possible, for example, by offering a stipend to set up a home office or facilitate them in other ways.
Equip remote teams with productivity tools
Your remote eCommerce employees will work more efficiently if they are provided with the right set of tools to perform their roles. For increased effectiveness, consider training them to use the various tools your business has adopted. This way, they won't waste time with trial and error or asking for assistance.
These could be tools used to provide feedback, track goals, or monitor sales. They could also be those used to communicate with vendors or clients. Using employee monitoring software allows you and your team to track time spent on different tasks rather than rely on constant supervision.
Collaboration tools will help streamline your work process and keep everyone on the same page. There are also project management tools that can assist your remote workers in staying focused.
Tools like Trello allow managers to allocate tasks more efficiently and monitor work progress. Along with timekeeping platforms, tracking projects will highlight your employees’ working habits and ensure a streamlined workflow.
Essentially, you want to provide your remote teams with all the tools that will simplify their everyday tasks.
With workers distributed across the globe, there can be a lot of frustration and misalignment in how things should get done. You can avoid this by setting clear expectations around:
- Performance and feedback
- Scheduling and availability
- Goals and missions
- Deadlines and calendar
When everyone on the team knows what's expected of them, there will be less time-wasting and increased focus. Likewise, clarifying how, when, and where your remote team will work can boost efficiency, keep everyone aligned, and minimize conflicts.
Structure a working schedule
Encourage your remote teams to schedule their work. Having a schedule allows employees to plan their work activities better and hit their targets within deadlines. It also ensures they don’t unintentionally waste time and energy.
The type of schedule your team creates will be influenced by their roles and the type of eCommerce business you're running. Plus, each team member may have to set up a schedule that fits their department and role.
Remember, work schedules will help employees stay focused and maintain productivity. What’s more, your remote staff will learn how to manage their time better and know what to prioritize.
Encourage team members to take regular breaks
In addition to setting up work schedules, teams should also set aside time for breaks throughout a workday. It may sound counterintuitive, but including breaks in work, and schedules can actually help workers get more done in less time.
Research published by the American Psychological Association recommends taking regular breaks from work to restore energy. Since your remote team will mostly be computer-based and sedentary, it's important to encourage them to stand up and move. This will not only get their blood circulating every so often but also give their eyes a break from the screen.
You can introduce apps that remind them to take breaks or encourage them to use the good old alarm or timer on their phones to track their breaks. Taking breaks can help employees maintain a constant level of performance.
Keep remote workers' morale high
The isolation that comes with working remotely can have unique moral challenges for your remote employees. With the social interaction that existed in the office now lacking, you must find other ways to create in-person connectivity in a virtual workspace.
Here are some tips:
- Recognition: Make it a priority to praise and celebrate wins and achievements. Team members will become motivated if they are recognized for their work. Consider making announcements in the team chat platform or sending them gift cards or other financial rewards.
- Socializing: In a remote work setup, it's crucial to maintain the social fabric that helps keep teams together. Consider organizing weekly team socials and calls where coworkers meet virtually to chat about non-work stuff. You can dedicate certain days for online game nights, movie nights, or a simple group lunch via video. Helping your employees bond brings them closer and promotes friendly relationships that will foster better collaboration.
Lifting your remote workers' morale will make them want to be more involved in the business, consequently boosting overall productivity.
Run effective meetings
While meetings are part of business operations, most of them (unfortunately) are considered a waste of time. One survey by The Muse found that over $37 million is wasted on unproductive meetings every year.
In another study by Workfront, 62% of employees reported that wasteful meetings got in the way of work. Over 20% of employees cited that having fewer meetings would help them do more in less time throughout the week. This means that workers lose valuable time needed to accomplish tasks by attending meetings.
So, what's the solution?
- Schedule regular meetings ahead of time on the calendar so everyone is aware of when they need to be available and the expected outcome of the meeting.
- Send out agendas to help team members prepare.
- Carefully choose your communication tools/channels to ensure seamless, productive meetings.
- Keep meetings brief and enlightening.
- Hold standing meetings. Research shows they are more effective and usually take less time.
Keep in mind that sitting in useless meetings drains workers’ brainpower, energy, and focus. Once the meeting is over, they will need time to recover, and this affects their productivity.
Help your distributed team achieve work-life balance
As marketers, it can be easy to develop an "always-on" mindset, leaving little time for the brain to rest. Recent statistics by Indeed show that employee burnout is on the rise – 52% of all employees reported feeling burnt out. This is a 9% increase from a pre-COVID survey.
Job burnout can lead to workplace stress, and the WHO estimates that $1 trillion is lost in productivity annually as a result. Employee burnout also leads to reduced employee engagement and lower levels of confidence.
In turn, it negatively impacts employee retention, job satisfaction, and customer relations, not to mention the overall success of your eCommerce business.
One way to ensure your remote team members aren’t overworking is to use a time management tool to track their activity levels. Additionally, avoid assigning workers multiple tasks and setting unrealistic deadlines.
Make sure you distribute workload equally among your employees and empower them by giving them access to the right tools to accomplish their tasks. As a manager or business owner, you must understand your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Doing so will allow you to assign work carefully and to the right people.
You could also consider organizing mental wellness workshops to help them cope with their stress and other issues affecting their wellbeing.
Now that most of your eCommerce operations are being done outside of the office, you must adopt the best strategies to keep remote teams productive. Besides introducing the right tools to streamline work processes, encourage members to establish work schedules.
Make sure they take frequent breaks and avoid overworking your personnel. Additionally, assign work mindfully, so they don’t have to multitask. Doing so will maximize their efficiency and enable them to deliver high-quality work.
If you get it right, you, together with your remote workers, will overcome the various challenges of working remotely, and your business will grow consistently.