Five Top Tips for Working from Home
How to make remote working a success for your digital marketing agency
So here we are, in lockdown. Actually isn’t it amazing the way that human beings adapt so quickly to different circumstances? If anyone had told us just a few short weeks ago about the extent of restrictions under which we are now living, we would have been horrified!
But here we are.
Most of us who are still working during this time are working from home. Which brings a whole new set of challenges. Especially if it is not something you are used to. And especially if you are a creative.
And if you are trying to hold together a team of remote creatives then you need all the help you can get!
So here we bring you our five really useful WFH tips for your digital marketing agency. And yes, we are aware that there are many similar articles around. So, whilst we hope that they are indeed helpful, you may notice that some of them are slightly tongue in cheek ….
Daily check in
Running a digital marketing agency is not dissimilar to spinning plates. Or herding cats. No sooner do you think you have one aspect vaguely under control than something else kicks off. Having all your employees suddenly working remotely multiplies this state of affairs even further.
So we’d recommend a daily check in with everyone. Early in the day : well ok, perhaps not too early. But why not use Zoom or something similar to have a morning briefing session. It’s an ideal opportunity to make sure that everyone is up and awake and ready to roll. Hopefully at least some of them might even be dressed (if not, this will at least give the others a laugh).
But taking ten minutes for a Zoom and coffee session at the start of the day will help to bring a sense of cohesion and ensure that everyone is on board and up to date. You may also want to include different features from time to time, such as an inspirational thought or a fun challenge for the day.
Goals and priorities
Just because it’s not business as usual in terms of your normal working environment doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be business as usual in terms of how you run things. So make sure that everyone has clear goals and priorities or the danger is they will start going off at tangents doing their own thing. You know what these creatives are like.
Agreeing goals and priorities with your employees will also help them to have a sense of purpose around which they can structure their working day. This is even more important when they are working remotely than on a normal day in the office. It will ensure that your business needs continue to be met even without your direct involvement.
Establish a daily routine
The extent to which you follow this next tip will be determined by the nature of your business and the circumstances and temperaments of your people. It may be beneficial to agree core hours during which you expect people to be working and available for contact. These may need to be flexible if some employees are also homeschooling children or have other care responsibilities. But if you can at least pin people down to your morning briefing, then a couple of other fixed one or two hour slots during the day, this will be tremendously advantageous in terms of cohesion.
If your employees are a sociable bunch, you may also want to schedule a designated virtual break or lunchtime, where everyone pauses at the same time for refreshments and a banter – using whatever social platform(s) you prefer – about life in general.
Working remotely can be a lonely existence, particularly if you are not used to doing it, and it can be good both for your employee’s productivity and their mental health to keep the social interaction of the office going as much as possible.
Training and development
During extended times of remote working, it can be easy to forget that employees also still have training and development needs. We can all be so focused on the daily grind and getting those priorities out of the way, that we forget the bigger picture.
So make sure you give your employees plenty of opportunity to develop and learn. This could be an ideal time for them to do online courses or personal study. Maybe link this back to their last appraisal, for a sense of continuity.
Are there any special projects that they can do, alongside their normal daily activity, to help them either learn new skills or put into practice what they are learning elsewhere? Or do they have an area of specialism that they can share with other employees in an online forum? Organising a weekly online CPD session could benefit everyone and enhance the sense of purpose for both trainer and trainees.
It is as easy now as ever for remote workers to get stuck in a rut in terms of career development. Make sure they don’t abandon you as soon as lockdown ends by taking care of their development needs now.
Last but by no means least, make sure that you are all having fun! Now is the time to continue any existing traditions and perhaps introduce new ones. So if you all usually go to the pub after work on Friday then why not host a Zoom drink and chat instead? If you sometimes go out to do a quiz or movie trip or music gig, then find online opportunities to still do some of those things together.
Why not introduce some new traditions too? What about weekly awards for a variety of achievements, from sensible work ones such as meeting targets to whatever else comes to mind: the funniest email, ugliest pet or best lockdown haircut maybe.
And if you don’t ever do any of this kind of thing with your team then perhaps this is the time to start? Creating a fun work environment is a really good way of helping employees’ emotional wellbeing which in turn builds trust and improves teamwork and employee retention. So why not use this time of remote working to establish some welcome new ways of working that you can keep going long after lockdown is over.
So for however long lockdown goes on and we all need to be based remotely, be increasingly creative to ensure that your digital marketing agency doesn’t only survive these trying times but continues to evolve into what you always dreamed it would be.