Remote work is an increasingly popular opportunity for today’s digital employees. As cloud-based solutions emerge, giving people more freedom to work from anywhere, you don’t necessarily need to be in an office to be an effective digital marketer.
Unfortunately, while remote employees can be just as productive and efficient as their in-office team members, they do come with some extra challenges to consider for management.
Business leaders need to figure out how they’re going to successfully nurture their teams in the right direction when they aren’t interacting on an everyday basis.
Here are some excellent tips for managers and supervisors that want to get the most out of their marketing team’s performance, no matter where they are.
1. Create a Virtual Water Cooler
Most business leaders know that regular communication is the key to running a successful team. However, it’s important to remember that your employees sometimes need to talk about more than just work.
Ideally, you’ll want an instant messaging environment or space where your team members can host video and audio conferences, so they don’t need to rely too much on email.
Studies suggest that having a water cooler space in an office doesn’t just boost the relationships between your team members; it also increases productivity by up to 15%!
Give your employees the freedom to connect and chat whenever they need to. This helps fight boredom and can motivate your employees to contribute more meaningful work.
Your team will reward you with higher levels of satisfaction, greater productivity, and more engagement at work.
2. Promote More Face to Face Interactions
Although having your own space to work from can be an excellent way to reduce distractions, it’s easy to feel lonely when you never interact with other human beings.
It’s essential for business leaders to maintain social interactions with remote employees not only to fend off isolation but to increase productivity as well.
The occasional telephone call is a nice touch, as is the ability to regularly connect with colleagues through instant messaging environments like Slack or Facebook workplace.
However, the most effective way to mimic face-to-face interactions in a digital environment is video conferencing.
With written communication, there is always the possibility of a message being interpreted wrongly. We get a lot of information through visual cues and body language. Many of these cues are lost in a stiff business email.
When relaying updates about a project or task, some things might slip your mind while you’re writing, or you won’t be able to sufficiently accentuate the importance of some tasks.
A quick video call where employees can also instantly get answers and clarification for smaller issues is a great way to prevent such misunderstandings.
Schedule regular meetings via video conferencing with both your in-office and remote staff members. Focus on making sure that everyone has the tools they need to show their video during these meetings so that no-one gets left out.
3. Work on Task Distribution and Assignment
As a remote team manager, it will be your responsibility to provide a clear workday structure. If you don’t provide clear instructions, your team members might meander between tasks and get nothing done.
While you can quickly change plans when your team sits next to you, this is not always an option in a remote setting.
Maintain a regularly updated list of priorities your team needs to work on. Your employees will still be able to organize their time as suits them best while ensuring that the most important work gets done.
Marketing teams usually have a bunch of smaller tasks that need to get done every day, so you can also consider bundling similar tasks together.
For example, if you’re just starting an outreach campaign, you can assign one person to prospect guest posting opportunities, another person to come up with new blog post ideas, and a third one to send out emails.
That way, no one will meddle in each other’s work. Distributing these smaller tasks between different employees ensures more productivity and focus on the task at hand than having one person shifting between different tasks and multiple tabs.
Your organization and prioritization skills will be crucial here since you most likely have a broader picture of ongoing projects and goals than individual team members do. Creating an effective task distribution system will make your team work like a well-oiled machine.
4. Help Employees to Develop a Routine
One of the greatest benefits of working remotely is that it gives you a chance to arrange your schedule to suit you. Many digital marketing professionals work different hours to their in-office counterparts when they go remote. That’s because they can find the best time of day to complete projects when they feel their most focused and creative.
However, If you give your employees too much freedom, then they may end up procrastinating instead of focusing on crucial jobs.
To ensure that your employees stay as productive as possible, help them establish a schedule, and stick to it.
This will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your employees. Some can only work while family members are away for school or work. Some may be working in different time zones.
While your team members don’t need to work 9-5, an unreliable schedule can wreak havoc on your team’s productivity. Encourage your employees to set their tentative schedules and share them with other team members.
Knowing when someone is online and available will increase collaboration among team members and help everyone better organize their schedules.
Everyone has their own approach to productivity. Consider the needs of your employees carefully before you try pushing them in one direction.
5. Make Boundaries and Expectations Clear
Finally, it’s essential to ensure that you set expectations from day one with anyone in your team that’s going to be working remotely.
Although remote digital marketers often have more freedom when it comes to things like choosing their own working days and hours, there are still going to be specific requirements that you need to make clear.
For instance, you’ll need your team members to know that you expect them to put a certain number of hours into their work every day.
It’s also important that everyone on your team knows how to get jobs done according to deadlines to prioritize the right tasks properly. Some of the other things you may need to outline:
- Which meetings are mandatory, and which are optional
- What kind of deadlines you’re working towards
- How you’re going to measure the success and performance of team members
- What you expect from every workday, week, and month.
- What kind of tools and services your employees can use
Setting clear norms and boundaries for your remote team members will reduce the risk of confused and unproductive employees. If your staff have any questions about the guidelines you set, make sure they know how and where to reach out for help.
Enhancing Remote Team Productivity
Your marketing team is a valuable part of your workforce and a group that you can’t afford to ignore. However, managing marketing employees often becomes much more difficult when you’re dealing with remote staff.
The good news is that you can continue to nurture productivity and efficiency from a distance. Use the tips above, and make sure that you take the time to measure the response your employees have to different practices.
The more time you spend working on your team’s productivity and introducing them to successful processes, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to avoid issues with procrastination and lost time.