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How To Hire Remote Employees For Your E-Commerce Business

A remote employee working on her laptop at home.

Finding employees isn’t easy with the current labor shortage, no matter what industry you’re in. Seeking out remote workers who can cover what you need for your e-commerce business can be quite a challenge. How can you know they have the skills you need? Do you even fully understand how best to delegate to others so you can free up your time to build your brand?

Remote work seems to be the wave of the future. Of course, you’ll need physical laborers to package and ship your products, keep track of inventory and answer the phones. What work can be completed at home versus in an office or warehouse? 

What Employees Do You Need for an E-Commerce Business?

Experts from eMarketer recently predicted e-commerce sales would reach more than $1 trillion in the United States this year. Before the pandemic, researchers predicted it would be 2024 before the industry hit that milestone. 

Rapid growth leaves many online stores scrambling to fill orders and scale up rapidly. You may feel unsure about what employees you need to cover things. A few of the minor roles you can hire either full-time, part-time, or freelance include:

  • Web Developer
  • IT Support
  • Inventory Manager
  • Sales Agents
  • Customer Support
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Bookkeeper
  • Virtual Assistant

Spend some time looking at what roles could conceivably be remote ones. Then, please turn to the things that must be done in person and consider whether part of the job might be remote, making it a hybrid position. 

Why should you hire remote workers? First, you’ll need less office space if people work from their homes. You can continue to grow your business in a small warehouse or out of your basement or garage. Second, you’ll attract top-notch employees who don’t want to go into an office but are looking for remote work. These set of employees have the required skills, and want flexible working conditions that allow them attend to other things while doing remote jobs that are lucrative.

Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

1. Save Money on Space

As an e-commerce business, you may still be growing. Cash flow can sometimes be an issue. However, you can save a lot of money on office space by letting your employees work from home and keeping bare-bones staff in the warehouse. You only need the number of people it takes to ship out daily orders, take inventory and manage things.

Even if you go with a hybrid approach, you can choose a smaller space and have Team A come in on Monday and Wednesday and Team B come in on Tuesday and Thursday. Not only will you need less room, but you’ll save on energy costs, water, wear and tear and any other thing you can think of that costs your brand money. 

2. Retain Top Talent

A low employee churn equals success. You won’t be spending money to recruit and train new talent. You can figure out your employment rate by taking the number of workers who left within a set amount of time, dividing by those left during the same period, and multiplying by 100. 

People got a taste of working from home during the pandemic. Many are leaving their current positions during the Great Resignation anyway. If they can’t work from home, they’re more likely to take place with a company that will allow it. Keep your best employees by giving them the option to work remotely. 

3. Seek Referrals

Are you worried about hiring people who cannot work from home? Not everyone can be disciplined enough to finish tasks and keep their focus. How can you be sure you’re hiring staff you can trust?

You can ask your best employees if they know of anyone looking for remote workers who might be a good fit for their team. They aren’t likely to recommend someone they don’t think can do the work. They may know others with the skills you need, though. 

4. Reach Out to Former Employees

Have people left your employ in the last year or two? If they parted on good terms, you may want to ask them if they’d consider coming back. Stress that you’re willing to offer remote options if that makes a difference. 

Also, employees who moved away and didn’t want to leave can now work remotely for your e-commerce company. You might be able to bring skilled people you’ve already spent time and money training back into the fold. 

5. Provide equipment

If someone works for you more than 40 hours a week on a fixed schedule doing specific repeated tasks, they should be considered a full-time employee, not a contractor. Seek the advice of a tax professional about contractor status to be sure. 

Most employers provide a computer and other equipment their employees need no matter what location they work from. You can also ensure they separate personal and business activities and have the latest antivirus software by issuing them a laptop and cell phone, for example.

Around 85% of Americans own a smartphone. Doing business with your phone is almost a given. Consider whether you want to provide a separate business phone number, equipment, or something else. 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. You have to choose what is best for your brand and business model. If your agents chat a lot via apps to answer questions, then a smartphone with an app for your agents may be necessary. 

Trust Your Instincts

You may hire people from many different locations and with various abilities. Your interview questions may run the gamut from what websites the person has designed to details on their communication skills. You have to learn to trust your instincts when hiring new remote workers. Moreover, another great way to foster positive work culture and experience is by offering global benefits for everyone on your team.

Not everyone will work out or be a perfect fit. Offer them the best onboarding you can. Create a strong company culture. With time, you’ll find the ideal system for hiring and keeping the right people. 

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