When the pandemic first hit in 2020, the work-from-home shift happened organically for some domains like tech companies and creative agencies. But it came as a rude shock for traditional businesses like retail. While most retail stores moved to e-commerce to make up for the lost foot traffic, sending people to work from home was the bigger challenge.
Fortunately, most brands were able to match the challenge and operate successfully with WFH teams. Now that the pandemic is here to stay, it is time to take your remote game a notch higher to make the system sustainable and successful for the long haul. Here are some helpful pieces of advice for retail businesses that want to ace the remote model.
Accept the reality
Your WFH teams will be up and running after a year-long crisis, but you have to accept the reality that retail will never be the same. Many of the existing systems and processes will be tested in the new normal, and you have to stay one step ahead. You will need to be flexible with your culture and methodologies as you cannot expect foot traffic to resume for the foreseeable future. Still, the people and processes can make your business thrive and grow.
Empower your team with everything they need
Even as your team works remotely, they will need a solid infrastructure to operate seamlessly. Ensure that you provide the right hardware resources and devices to keep them connected with the business and customers. Since e-commerce models are all about tech, you will have to make sure that they have the requisite software applications and adequate networking bandwidth.
Focus on productivity
WFH productivity is very different from in-store productivity. When employees are at home, they have many distractions to handle. Doing your bit to help them can go a long way in strengthening the remote retail culture. Provide the productivity tools and training they need. Creating awareness is important for helping them curb distractions. For example, the blog post here explains all about finding duplicates on Mac. Your employees can use the information to keep their devices clutter-free and reach the highest levels of productivity.
Steer clear of micromanagement
Since retail is a traditional domain, remote work for the long haul will be hard to digest for businesses. But you have to align with the new normal and create a culture of trust and credibility. Steering clear of micromanagement is vital as it will save your time and make things less stressful for remote employees. The better alternative is to move towards accountability by setting goals and time frames and letting people work their way to achieve them.
Go the extra mile with communication
Making WFH initiatives successful is all about seamless communication for all business domains. Retail is no exception as the employees need to collaborate on a lot of things when they work out of the store. Establishing consistent processes for effective and frequent communication is the ideal approach. Thankfully, technology tools let you replicate in-person meetings and collaboration without much effort.
Working remotely is not a choice for retailers in a pandemic era. But you can achieve success through the right approach and mindset, even as you have to let the employees work from home for the long haul.