Dimytro Zaichenko is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, an all-in-one data analytics and automation platform. He has over 3 years of experience in digital marketing, particularly in SaaS. Apart from experimenting with marketing tactics, he's a huge NBA fan.
Flexibility in the workplace was relatively uncommon not so long ago. Most companies believed it didn't suit them because it could affect performance and productivity. While other organizations successfully implemented it, obtaining the perks of flexible working. Now, flexible working options such as remote work and flexible hours are becoming more popular. Workplace flexibility relates to many departments within companies, including marketing teams. Here, some skepticism remains: can a marketing team be productive when team members are distributed worldwide with flexible schedules? Yes, it can!
In this article, we discuss how marketing teams can adapt to flexible working while maintaining high productivity levels.
Why is workplace flexibility beneficial in marketing?
The preference for a flexible working environment is growing among professionals, leading to a shift toward jobs with more freedom of choice. Particularly, Zenefits survey statistics say that 67% of small businesses already offer some form of flexible work arrangement, indicating its increasing prevalence.
Flexible work arrangements can keep your marketing team productive and benefit marketing organizations by creating a more innovative, creative, and adaptable workforce. This results in higher productivity. The study above shows that 78% of employees feel more energetic and productive in a flexible work environment.
Besides higher job satisfaction, cost saving, and lower turnover rates, flexible working gives three key benefits to marketing teams. Let's view them below.
Better work-life balance
By having the flexibility to choose their working hours or work remotely, marketers can accommodate personal commitments and responsibilities while still meeting their professional obligations. They can attend to family needs and self-care without compromising their working hours. To balance life and professional growth, marketing professionals require flexible working arrangements. And entry-level employees are more likely to remain committed and engaged when flexible working is available. This balance contributes to increased productivity, improved health and well-being, better engagement, reduced burnout rates, more choices in real estate, better living standards, and so on.
Access to a diverse talent pool
Flexible work arrangements can improve an organization's capacity to recruit and retain high-quality employees. With a flexible workplace, organizations can hire skilled professionals from different locations, providing the marketing team access to diverse expertise and perspectives. Additionally, flextime work is a central consideration for many skilled workers who choose temporary employment.
Advocating for employers to invest in creating work opportunities for individuals with diverse backgrounds is essential. This diversity enriches the team's creativity, problem-solving capabilities, and ability to understand and target various consumer markets. This also helps fill skill gaps and attract young talent.
A potential creativity boost
Marketers can tap into their creative potential in various ways by being free to work in different environments and take breaks for inspiration.
Switching up your environment by working from a coffee shop or a co-working space can offer a change of scenery and a stimulating atmosphere that ignites new ideas. The ambiance, sights, and interactions with different people can all contribute to a fresh perspective and creative thinking. Furthermore, flexible working allows marketers to structure their workday to align with their creative peaks.
Traveling opportunities initiated by flexible workplace policies also contribute to the potential creativity boost. Experiencing different cultures, landscapes, and perspectives can fuel creativity. Whether working from a beachfront cafe or serene countryside, the change of environment can stimulate fresh approaches to marketing tasks.
Productivity challenges in remote marketing teams
Nonetheless, it is worth discussing the practical productivity challenges remote marketing faces. We've divided challenging factors into three distinct groups below.
Team cohesion refers to interpersonal connection and strength among group members. This bond promotes active participation and motivation toward achieving set goals. Cohesion is achieved when a team remains united throughout a project and feels it has contributed to the group's success. It's only sometimes possible in remote and flexible work environments due to a lack of collaboration and off-work team activities.
For teams to function efficiently, communication needs to be continuous and transparent. Fostering a sense of teamwork can be challenging because of physical distance or flexible arrangements. The absence of offline communication between team members and different communication styles also affect satisfaction and productivity.
One common challenge in flexible working arrangements is maintaining focus. Working in a non-traditional office setting can pose a challenge, as distractions may easily invade and hinder productivity. These are three challenges that affect remote marketing teams' productivity. Luckily, organizations can minimize their influence or completely resolve the issues. Our next section will tell you how exactly.
5 strategies to keep a remote marketing team productive
Adopting best practices and using technologies that support remote work is essential to successfully implement flexible working in a marketing team. By following these practices, marketing teams can successfully handle potential productivity challenges.
Addressing any concerns regarding planning tasks is essential to ensure a high level of team performance. Additionally, it can prevent potential dissatisfaction within a team and work overloads. So you need to streamline task planning, managing, and processing. Essentially, task planning depends on the scope of work, team capacity, roles, and strategy. So the key step here is to define all those points clearly. Consider integrating a time management test into your online skills assessment to gauge and evaluate your employees' time-management skills. This helps you assess their capabilities and instills confidence in their ability to manage their time effectively.
Another must point is documenting all the tasks, even small ones, and updating their statuses on time.
A marketing manager needs to include goal setting in task planning. It can be setting S.M.A.R.T. monthly goals with clear identification and communication. It is important to establish clear expectations, including being available during core working hours, specifying preferred communication methods, and setting deadlines.
Besides, to maintain the productivity of a marketing team, managers can encourage the use of mini milestones for tasks, initiate review sessions, consider risks, and set priorities for the team and members. Some organizations use a basic approach – linking compensation directly to hours worked, serving as a strong incentive for stable performance and productivity. However, a workplace culture should prioritize quality over hours worked, empowering employees to plan their work effectively.
It's necessary to equip your employees with the right tools and training. A reliable set of user-friendly and available tools for all team members is essential. Here some examples:
Project management tools provide transparency in optimizing workflow and improving overall efficiency. These platforms also help with individual task planning. Tools such as Asana or Trello enable task tracking and seamless collaboration across team members regardless of their physical location.
Time management software streamlines time tracking for task preparation and performance. Some examples of time management software that marketing teams can use include Toggl or Pomodoro.
Automation tools automate manual processes and repetitive tasks. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot or Marketo save time for campaign setting to focus on other tasks.
Analytics tools allow marketers to analyze data, track key metrics, and make data-driven decisions, contributing to better understanding your target audience and optimizing marketing strategies. Implementing marketing analytics toolslike Coupler.io can offer valuable insights into the performance and effectiveness of your efforts.
Cloud-based storage like Google Drive and Dropbox simplifies data management and access to marketing materials.
Apart from these segments of tools, you can update your tech stack with communication tools, calendar apps, video conferencing software, platforms for marketing creatives, designs, and collaboration.
Personal and professional growth shouldn't be underestimated. In the realm of personal growth, goal setting plays a significant role. These goals should be challenging, with high-reward nature, demanding substantial effort and creative problem-solving skills. Introducing challenges is crucial to evaluate employees' capabilities thoroughly. By challenging marketers with ambitious tasks that push them beyond their comfort zones, employees acquire valuable knowledge and come closer to achieving these goals, ultimately enhancing your company's efficiency.
It's important for employees to have their own personal development plans and present the outcomes of actions done. It's possible via one-on-ones with team leads, review sessions, video presentations, or in a simple spreadsheet matrix.
Providing ongoing education and guidance is crucial to foster a culture that cultivates good habits and a learning environment. Marketers can develop their skillset by practicing these habits and learning new approaches. This lean approach translates into higher profit margins and establishes a foundation for a sustainable business.
Besides, investing in skills development can empower employees to work autonomously. Organizations that offer skills development as an enabler of autonomy rather than just an extrinsic reward can see an improvement in their employees' ability to work independently.
Communication and feedback culture
To foster a productive and efficient communication and feedback culture within a flexible team is essential. By making feedback constructive, along with potential solutions for improvement and emphasizing a learning process, employees are better equipped to act upon the recommendations received. Feedback should arise not only between an employee and their manager but also among their colleagues. Providing such comments is not always easy, but colleagues can learn to do that. You can create anonymous surveys using Qualtrics or its alternatives and gather feedback from team members. Alternatively, team communication sessions can help. During a training session, make it interactive by pairing people up and offering them opportunities to practice. The purpose of seeking and providing feedback is to improve productivity and workplace relationships.
Besides, It is crucial to establish regular virtual meetings and clear communication channels to keep everyone aligned and on track. This enables team members to comprehend their task completion timeline and maintain a connected team dynamic.
To maintain strong team cohesion while working remotely, managers can develop collective values, create mentorship programs, and think creatively to keep employees engaged.
What we do after hours impacts our work-related activities and productivity. So off-work meetings and vacation policies can help keep your marketing team productive.
For instance, Netflix is an example of a healthy, flexible working arrangement with its unlimited vacations. Encouraging this approach enables employees to return to work with innovative ideas and valuable resources consistently. Organizations must create and document their vacation and day-off policies to ensure that employees can maintain productivity while taking necessary breaks. Clear communication of these policies is essential. Additionally, online and offline informal events can impact team bonding well.
Building a positive team culture is essential for remote marketing team management. Encourage team bonding activities, virtual coffee breaks, or informal chats to foster camaraderie and maintain morale. Recognize and appreciate team members' efforts, accomplishments, and milestones to boost motivation. Again, happier employees are more productive ones.
By following these practices, team members can feel more unity with other team members, which creates a favourable environment for stable performance.
When companies allow their employees to have the freedom to choose their preferred way of working and provide them with appropriate guidance, education, and resources, they can expect to have a workforce that is more adaptable, driven, and productive.
However, implementing flexible working arrangements for a marketing team requires a thoughtful approach that addresses the team's specific needs while operating the available technologies and techniques.
When deciding which type of flexible work organization to implement, it's essential not to be too rigid. Consider implementing a trial period during which you can explore various nuances to determine the optimal balance between productivity and employee satisfaction. This approach aligns with fostering a feedback culture within flexible teams, as it allows for continuous improvement and adaptation based on the input and experiences of team members.