Allowing your marketing squad to work from home saves them on commute times and the cost of fuel. Offering work-from-home opportunities may even attract some of the top marketers in the country. Whether you already have a team and want to add telecommuting as a perk or you’re forming one and considering remote work, there are many benefits to adding this benefit to the job.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, many companies went to work-from-home options. In a global survey of over 9,000 knowledge workers, Slack discovered 72% want to keep a hybrid office in the future, even after the health crisis eases.
If you’ve decided remote work is right for your team, take a little time to get systems in place. Think through the logistics of having multiple people working from home, how you’ll communicate, and what software will help with various tasks.
1. Choose a Project Management Software
You might use project management software in your in-person work. However, what meshes well in an office environment isn’t always helpful when the entire team works from home.
There are dozens of options for project management. Which one seems to have the best workflow for your group? Will clients need to access some tasks and add their input? Can you set the system for different levels, so management sees everything outstanding?
2. Think About Work Space
Not everyone lives in a home with an extra room to use as an office. Talk to your employees about what space they’ll set up for remote work. Meet individually with each one and consider issues they might have, such as back pain from slouching over a kitchen table.
If your budget allows, invest in desks and ergonomic chairs for your remote workers. Some people will already have many items they use in their everyday lives, while others might need a complete setup.
3. Create a Workflow Diagram
It’s easy to grow scattered when people work from all over the place. Create a workflow diagram showing the stages of a project so staff can apply the process to each new element of their work.
For example, a new client comes on board. You create a workflow plan following a promotional template. This includes consultations with the business owner, creation of content, scheduling ads and posts, and check-ins. Make steps for each phase of the journey, so you miss nothing.
4. Ensure Excellent Communication
One of the most significant issues remote teams face is communication. It’s human nature to get involved in the task at hand and forget to check in with your co-workers. However, this can leave many feeling isolated and unappreciated. Find ways to keep everyone apprised of tasks, so you don’t double your workload, and you finish everything on time.
Start each morning with a quick meeting in Zoom or Google. Go over the main goals for the day. Management should check in with individual team members via email or messaging regularly.
5. Invest in Security
When everyone is in the same office, it’s easy to make sure you’re secure from hackers and other cyber threats. However, with a remote team, everyone has their own network. Your first step should be educating employees about protecting their home systems from threats.
If you can afford it, offering a company computer for work is an excellent idea because you can install virus protection on it. Workers are also less distracted with social media and personal email if they are on a different machine.
Make sure your remote team has firewalls installed. Any sensitive information needs careful guarding, so be cautious about what you put out via email. It might be best to upload to a cloud-based server with built-in security measures. You can then give access to only those who need the file.
6. Increase Productivity
Although most workers hate it, time-trackers and productivity analysis help ensure you’re remaining relevant no matter your office’s location. Start by explaining why you’re using such software. If staff understand the purpose, they’re less likely to push back against having their activity tracked.
Encourage your employees to get just a little better each quarter. Explain how they can use productivity tools to learn where they might waste time or need to refine processes. Host workshops and give examples.
You don’t want to make too big a deal out of the trackers, as it may stress your dedicated workers. However, they can also pick up on people who work either too much or not enough, so you can request adjustments in their methods.
7. Upskill Some People
A remote team works differently than an in-person one. You may find you need to change the structure of some departments. Specific roles may become less vital and go away altogether. Look at the abilities your team already has, and if there are any areas you’d like to develop.
Mary is sort of the go-to person for filing paperwork and keeping printers stocked and coffee going. You don’t need her for remote work, but she is a highly organized person and has been with your company for a long time. You decide to train Mary in database management, so you can shift her role to a remote one and still keep her on staff.
8. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Shifting your team to remote work isn’t an easy process. As with any new task, it will take several weeks before they feel comfortable and in their element. Start the new year by offering training sessions in project management software, going over processes, and having frequent online meetings. As everyone grows familiar with their new roles, you can slow down on the learning and focus more on productivity.
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