Having remote teams as a permanent part of company infrastructure wasn’t encouraged in most businesses before the pandemic. But we’ve since seen how productive and effective remote units can be when adequately supported, even in the retail industry.
As retail operations worldwide rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic, many adopted remote work models and made them permanent in their operations. Technological advancements in conjunction with good team practices make most remote retail teams more efficient, communicative, and collaborative.
Utilize the Best Tools for Your Team
There are many tools out there to help your remote retail team be as efficient and productive as possible. But it’s important to note that not all will be a fit for your team, so do your research before implementing any tools to ensure they incite effective collaboration and optimal teamwork.
For example, if your team is tech-savvy, they may best work together on collaboration apps like Slack or Asana. If you struggle with organization, housing all of your team documents in one place, like Google Drive, may be best. Or let’s say your team’s productivity struggles without face-to-face interactions. You could replicate them by meeting via video communication tools like Zoom or Skype so everyone can get some face time. Ultimately, the tools you use should enhance your team’s style of work.
Furthermore, the right tools should be coupled with best practices for managing a remote team. These best practices include:
- Set up multiple communication channels like email, messaging, video and phone calls.
- Have a clear purpose for your communication and keep the interaction concise and relaxed.
- Establish recurring one-on-one meetings with each team member as well as group meetings.
- Create an agenda for team and one-on-one meetings to stay focused on the purpose.
- Update your company policies to reflect your current work model so your team is wholly supported.
- Be flexible and encourage constant communication.
- Ensure everyone has access to what they need.
- Provide quality software and any other tools members need to do their jobs efficiently.
- Offer resources for supporting their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
To increase efficiency, you must first know how efficient your team is right now in order to set goals. For example, if only two team members are hitting their daily productivity benchmarks, a way to gauge efficiency could be getting the other team members to hit their daily productivity goals for a consistent period.
After you’ve established what increased efficiency means for your team with specific goals, monitor each member’s productivity. When they aren’t reaching the goals you’ve set for their productivity, explore adjusting their goals and possibly their job responsibilities. You want to ensure each member is progressing and that your team’s efficiency is getting better simultaneously.
Additionally, as you gauge each of your team members’ productivity, you must show appreciation for their hard work. And that brings us to our last section.
Show Your Employees Appreciation
Engaged, enthusiastic employees are crucial to increasing efficiency for your remote retail team. To achieve this, you must challenge them in their roles, fairly compensate them, offer development opportunities, and build a solid team where each member meshes well together. But you should also express your appreciation for their work to ensure they feel valued, even from afar.
You can show your appreciation for your employees remotely through digital cards, virtual parties, video messages and e-gift cards. But you can also send them physical gifts like company-branded swag. Swag is simply any gift from you with your company logo on it. When gifted, it contributes to raising company morale. For example, you could send a custom printed tote to top-performing employees with truly useful items in it like a personalized coffee mug, keyboard wrist rest, company back pressure relief pillow and a branded headset.
The future of retail is entrenched in the digital world. And while many retail companies reopen physical locations and invite employees back into the office, many will sustain their remote teams.
If you plan to continue managing a remote retail team, you must continuously increase efficiency. Do so by utilizing the best tools for the way your team works together, monitor productivity, and show your employees appreciation even from afar.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects, including topics relating to business productivity, marketing strategies, and consumer retention. To learn more about Hamilton, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.