Work looks different right now for many of us. We have traded our workplace cubicles and offices for a seat in the home office or at the kitchen table. Our breakroom banter with co-workers has been replaced with lunchtime conversations with family, roommates or pets. The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about our lives, including the way we work. As social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders continue to impact people around the globe, this new way of working is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
While our ways of working may have changed, one thing has very much stayed the same for marketers – the need to generate results. With such dramatic shifts in the business landscape, entire organizations must adapt and marketers must pivot their efforts in support of new organizational goals. This requires marketers to maintain both their individual productivity and their collaboration with other team members. Here are six tips for getting the job done during this critical, albeit different, time:
1. Ensure everyone is on the same page. You’re undoubtedly familiar with marketing planning. But what about re-planning? Many marketers are finding that their Q2 plans have shifted dramatically and that the rest of the year remains in flux as the world waits to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will play out. It’s important to ensure that everyone on the marketing team is on the same page when it comes to these changes. What does this mean for individual roles? What are the new goals that everyone is working towards, both individually and as a group? When will you revisit both short- and long-term planning? Also, be sure to circulate this information to other key stakeholders within your organization, which could include executives, sales, customer service and others.
2. Create a dedicated workspace. For many of us, remote work is nothing new. What is new is remote work with an audience. Many of us now find ourselves in households where multiple people are working from home and children are learning online or out of school entirely. Distractions abound. That’s why it’s important to carve out a dedicated workspace, preferably one that provides some degree of protection from those distractions. While the actual space itself will depend on your home and the needs of the other occupants within it, make sure you have a space to call your own. Much like going to the office each day creates the routine of work, so too can reporting to your official home workspace every day so you feel ready to get down to marketing business.
3. Maintain a schedule. While the old misconception about working from home is that employees aren’t as productive, the opposite is actually true. Remote workers often find that without a commute and the structure of a traditional office, the workday tends to bleed into the rest of the day. Decide what you want your daily schedule to be and then stick to it as closely as possible. That schedule can even vary slightly from what you would choose if you were going to the office as usual. For example, if you have kids at home, it might be beneficial to start your day earlier to take advantage of some quiet time before they start their days. Be sure to communicate this schedule to your team too, so they know when they can reach you. One easy way to do this is by marking your daily working hours on your Outlook calendar. During these uncertain times, when work and home are mingling like never before, it’s important to care for your physical and mental health with work-life balance. By stepping away from work throughout the day for lunch and other breaks, you can avoid burnout and ensure that you feel ready to do your best marketing.
4. Communicate frequently. While you can’t physically huddle up with a colleague to brainstorm on a whiteboard or gather as a team in a conference room, you can still do these things virtually – and you should. In fact, right now, it isn’t just about communication, it’s really about overcommunication. It can be easy for marketers to feel isolated when there isn’t an opportunity to collaborate or communicate in-person with other team members. Whether you are a manager or individual contributor, make it a point to establish frequent communications with other members of your team. Technology makes this easy and can provide some variety in your internal communications. You can send an email, jump on a phone call, arrange a Microsoft Teams meeting and much more. Just be sure that you’re taking every opportunity to communicate and work with others as you would normally do, and then some.
5. Make time for banter. Work isn’t always all work. The fun interactions we have with our colleagues that have nothing to do with business have a significant impact on how we view our company’s culture and how much we enjoy our jobs. Don’t let that fall by the wayside just because there’s no water cooler to chat by. Make time for small talk at the beginning of group or one-on-one meetings. Send instant messages to check in on your fellow marketers and ask how they are doing. Host a virtual happy hour or lunch among your team. Here at ClickDimensions, we have a company-wide team on Microsoft Teams where employees can post photos of their at-home workspaces, pictures of their dogs and other fun content like virtual cultural experiences to enjoy from home. It’s a great way to connect with colleagues in a non-working way.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Back in 2017, we all got a good laugh at Professor Robert Kelly as his kids hilariously crashed his live television interview on the BBC. Now, we can likely all relate to his plight a little more. Kids are going to interrupt. Dogs are going to bark. Delivery drivers are going to ring the doorbell. When you are working from home for weeks on end, these things and many other disruptions are bound to happen. And that’s okay. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Realize that we are all human and in this together and doing the best we can under trying and unexpected circumstances. Focus instead on being the best marketer that you can be and helping your organization achieve its goals.