Working from home a few days a week or even full-time is now the norm in many industries. We’ve seen the birth of the remote marketing agency and the digital nomad – and as global broadband speeds increase, technology advances and attitudes to working change, more and more businesses are making the shift towards flexible arrangements for their employees.
And while the results are spiritedly debated from both sides, there’s no doubt that many feel that working flexibly allows them to be happier and more productive. According to a 2019 survey from Indeed, the top benefits experienced by companies from offering a remote work policy include more productive employees (67%), improved morale (64%), reduced absenteeism and employee turnover (57%) and operational cost savings (51%).
From the employee perspective, almost half (49%) of employees think remote working makes them more productive compared to only 6% who think they are less productive.
How will work change in the 2020s?
Many tools, systems and ways of working have developed to allow entire workforces to live in different cities and never meet in person.
With just a laptop and an internet connection, you can log in and collaborate with your team.
For marketing agencies, there are two main benefits to this way of working:
- Lower overheads, as employers don’t have to pay for expensive office space
- Access to a greater pool of talent who don’t want to commute or have varying time commitments
For the clients of these marketing agencies, this is win-win. The trick is to find a remote marketing agency that is both good at its job (can create and execute a killer marketing campaign) and good at managing and working as a remote team (can communicate well and keep you involved at every step).
How a marketing agency (like us) goes remote (like us)
The functions of an agency dictate which platforms and strategies it’ll use.
Let’s use The Marketing Project as an example. We’re a small remote marketing agency with a crew based in Melbourne and a network of colleagues around the world. We’ll break this up into two parts: technology and people.
We need to be able to:
- Host and send files to each other and our clients,
- Communicate in both a quick chat-based way and a more comprehensive manner – again, with each other and our clients,
- Facilitate video calls where required to brainstorm or talk through tricky issues,
- And have all our projects in one place where they can be viewed, added to and edited by everyone on both sides.
To do this, we have a few tech platforms we use, and a few ‘rules of engagement’ for each platform. We also tweak and optimise our processes constantly to make use of new integrations and keep it fresh for ourselves.
We also need to find the right individuals to fit the plan. There are some amazing creatives and marketing experts out there, but not everyone is suited to a predominantly working remotely. On the people side, here’s what we look for:
- Trustworthy, accountable and self-motivated
- Ok with working alone/not having daily face-to-face interaction (although this can be mitigated with video calls)
- Methodical and thorough with their communication and digital filing
- Good with sticking to detailed communication standards
- Confident speaking to clients directly to interrogate a brief or get more info