The Covid-19 pandemic and corresponding lockdown has seen businesses take to home working like never before. In fact, just under half of all workers reported working from home at some point in the week leading up 14 June, according to the Office of National Statistics, with many people trying out remote working for the first time ever. And while some parts of the country are trickling back into the office and workspace, ongoing social distancing rules mean that many of us will continue to work flexibly for the coming months, if not years. This presents both challenges and opportunities for marketing teams, and those managers looking to get the most out of them. Learn how to navigate this time with these five quick tips for boosting the productivity of your remote marketing team.
Provide both flexibility and structure
One of the key advantages of remote and home working is the flexibility and inclusivity it offers. Workers who may not have previously felt able to commute to an office for the standard 9-5 workday will find more opportunities that accommodate their requirements, with working parents and caregivers also given the chance to balance their home and work lives. However, not every marketer has found the shift to home working to be entirely smooth. There are arguably more distractions at home, and some managers have expressed concerns about productivity levels when teams are not in the workplace. These fears have been largely unfounded – the majority of European executives and managers have actually seen productivity increase as their staff have worked remotely – but how can you help to foster engagement and productivity within your marketing team?
One suggestion is to balance both flexibility and structure. By giving your team the freedom to balance their home commitments, such as childcare and essential appointments, with their workday, you’ll likely see a more empowered, efficient team that structures their work weeks according to when they’re most productive. However, you should temper this with micro and macro goals to ensure your marketers feel accountable and like they’re working towards something. Whether that’s scheduling a social media post every day, reporting back on website analytics each week or coming up with a new campaign idea every month, structured goal setting will encourage marketers to stay focused and on task, regardless of when and where they complete the work.
Make sure you’re using the right tools
Technology is more influential than ever for marketing teams, so use it to your advantage when your marketers are working remotely. Productivity apps can be a great way to help your team stay on task, while there are other project management tools that can help you to manage workflows and collaboration.
Make the most of cloud technologies by hosting all shared documents and important information on a remote working platform that every team member can access, edit and contribute to from home.
Nurture company culture
A positive company culture is essential if you want to attract and retain the best marketing talent. This is something that can be tricky to cultivate when teams are working remotely, but you can use technology to your advantage to keep spirits high. Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, Teams and Hangouts can facilitate regular virtual meetings and catch up calls, which will help colleagues to overcome feelings of isolation. Take this a step further by establishing a virtual break room or watercooler, where team members can pop in and out of to catch up and chat about marketing and non-marketing topics. Quizzes, games and other interactive events can all help to keep company culture strong during this time. If you’re not sure what else you can do, check in with your team! Marketers are creative and should have plenty of thoughts on how you can maintain a positive culture at this time.
Don’t stop communicating
Isolation is a major concern for many marketers who are unaccustomed to working remotely, particularly as this job is one where collaboration is often essential. Luckily, there are many different ways you can keep in touch with your marketing team when they’re working remotely, from the humble telephone call through to video conferences and instant messaging. If you’re using Slack, Teams or another instant messaging platform, set up different channels for projects, groups and regular chats to help funnel messages into the right places. Suggest regular project meetings where all contributors can brainstorm and discuss feedback, mimicking the meeting room setting as much as possible. Avoid micro-managing but try to check in with your team casually throughout the week to ensure they’re feeling engaged and on-track.
Remember to develop and reward
Just because you’re not in the office, it doesn’t mean that you should forget about training and development. In fact, it’s more important than ever: according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn.
There is a huge array of online and e-learning courses and training programmes available for marketing teams, whether that’s in digital marketing, advertising or something else entirely. Ask your marketers what skills they’d like to learn and make sure to continue their regular development sessions and one-to-ones as usual.
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Managing a remote marketing team can be a challenge, but also presents opportunities to maximise productivity and collaboration. So how can you make sure you’re hiring and retaining the best talent? Find out more about marketing recruitment here.
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